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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Out of the closet

Barack Obama dropped a bomb on a Republican Party already splintered into fiscal and social issues conservatism.

Obama's long-delayed and hardly unexpected decision to publicly declare his support for gay marriage comes as the GOP attempts to repair the rifts between its wings from a primary battle that pitted Mitt Romney against social conservatives.

The lingering damage was apparent when Rick Santorum, the darling of the Troglodyte Right, offered an overnight, e-mail "endorsement" of the man who in GOP minds gave the nation both Obamacare and gay marriage.

They were no doubt unimpressed by Romney's mild rebuke of Obama compared to that of Santorum.

The pundits and the GOP insist the fall campaign will focus on the economy and Obama's stewardship of the mess left behind by eight years of George W. Bush. And it likely will.

For Romney to succeed, he needs more than the votes of moderates, who would likely applaud Obama's decision if they react at all. But he also needs the votes of the committed conservative cultural warriors.

These folks would never vote for Obama and his announcement will do nothing to change that reality. Romney needs them to show up. A tepid response, which is what many no doubt see from Romney, will do nothing to push them to the ballot box.

A more fiery response and those moderates slide to Obama.

Obama's reversal also comes a day after North Carolina became the latest state to declare a ban on gay marriage, a decision ratified by conservative turnout in a GOP primary in a state that Obama captured in 2008.

On the surface it would seem to be a bad sign for the incumbent looking for a purple state to latch on to. But a recent poll suggests it is Obama's positions on social issues, among others, that would attract voters beyond the partisans who cast ballots in primaries.

So yes, as Republican "leaders" are moaning, Obama's timing is political. Anyone who thought he would sit back and continue to endure endless GOP attacks was clearly delusional.

And by timing his decision around the North Carolina vote, Obama energizes his base, both in terms of fund-raising but also by reminding them of what is at stake with a GOP takeover of the White House.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another take is that it exposes Barack as a spineless leader who is unwilling to take a stand on his convictions until he can use that stand to his political advantage. Even sending out Biden to test the waters. He just made up his mind now? wheres his conviction been for the last 4 years. Shore up that gay vote and more importantly get them to open their wallets.

May 10, 2012 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah,

Timing is everything, and while what is right is right, and wrong wrong... what is feasible doesn't always align with that.

If you want to move progress forward, you need to do it in a way that bludgeons the enemies of progress at the right time, with a water tight argument to the polity.

Obama issuing this statement, and making it a Dem platform position, after the reeling shock of NC's backwardness, was perfect.

Perfect politics (cynical) and perfect for progress (it was the right thing to do)

Good on several MA GOP members, such a Tisei, for also being on the right side of history and reaffirming as such yesterday.

Shame on Romney, the coward who has only backpedaled since he was the Governor of the commonwealth.

May 10, 2012 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find the gay argument that "what is right is right" interesting, but only receives their support when gays are involved. Gay marriage is OK because it's behaviour between consenting adults, right? What if those consenting adults want polygamy? Gay marriage is OK, but polygamy is wrong??

May 10, 2012 11:48 AM  
Blogger TyrantII said...

slippery slope arguments? Didn't we get past that anti-miscegenation?

As for polygamy, you'd have to ask Romney. (No really, his great grandfather had 13 wives). Which brings up another question, how can Romney state marriage has always been between a man and woman for 3000 years? As short as 150 years ago, in his family, it was not.

Also, this doesn't apply to my view on Religious institutions. They have and continue to have the right to define marriage as they want. But government / civil institutions can not discriminate. A civil marriage between two people is more than appropriate.

May 10, 2012 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't find it a slippery slope, if you want to change a long defined social custom based on the whinings of one group, change it once and for all to make it equitable for all. Polygamy or polyandry are just as valid as gay marriage,behaviour between consenting adults. It's legal in many parts of the world. But's it's OK for gays to get theirs and then shut the door? Personally I think we should abolish civil marriage and relinquish it to a religious ceremony with no legal standing. Then civil unions for all (with as many as you want) to establish estate plans. But I'm just trying to be fair.

May 11, 2012 4:54 AM  

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