I’ve seen quite a few political pundits this week say how bold it is for Obama to supposedly speak his conscience and finally take a principled stance on gay marriage. The talking point is of course how Obama is a man of character for taking a moral stand which will likely hurt him politically. Hogwash. The only thing Obama could have done better, politically speaking, is to wait another 3 or 4 months to let the cat out of the bag on his “evolution”, or “affirmation” if you prefer. Otherwise, this is a solid political move.
Two reasons come to mind why this is a good move for Obama, contrary to the musings of the liberal media: 1) Barack Obama rightly decided after the 2010 congressional election, the largest congressional shift in over 70 years, partially due to the economy and partially due to the new healthcare law, that if he is going to win in 2012, the only chance he has if the economy doesn’t get better is to divide and conquer. He wasn’t going to go after independents with as divisive a presidency as his. His plan has been and continues be about maximizing his base turnout, both in terms of votes and in fundraising, and that is precisely what his “affirmation” does.
Perhaps even more importantly, 2) any time not spent talking about the economy is time well spent for Barack Obama. This being the case, it certainly helps him to have another point with which he can differentiate himself with Romney, and of course the media with be a willing accomplice to this fact.
The presidents new stand on gay marriage will obviously hurt him with some people, as does any stance on any issue, but it will also help him with other people as is also always the case. If the polls are right, 57-40 percent of independents favor gay marriage. It’s possible that while Obama has no chance of winning back independents on the financial front, he might actually be able to suppress the anti-Obama independent vote by distracting them with issues of a more social nature on which they agree with him.
In the end, Obama has been, and will continue to be a purely political creature, and this “bold” move is nothing beyond a necessary move of desperation in my mind. I did see my first Barack Obama-approved “FORWARD” commercial the other day, and we’re still six months out from the election. That shouldn’t surprise anyone considering Obama’s focus the last year has been almost entirely on fundraising over that of overseeing this country.
As of two months ago, Obama attended 191 fundraisers, breaking W’s record of 173 during his entire term, and Obama still has 10 months in office. If you are curious how many fundraisers Bill Clinton attended at the same point in his presidency, it was half that of Barack Obama. But he’s not a politician. He’s a man of principal.