Obama’s Outing on Gay Marriage Was Not an Act of Bravery

On Wednesday in an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, President Obama made a stunning announcement. He said he now supports same-sex marriage.

If you listened carefully, you might have been able to hear a collective gasp spread across our nation over the unexpected declaration by a man who just four years ago campaigned for the presidency on a platform that included opposition to gay marriage.

I’m joking of course. There was nothing unexpected about the announcement, other than its timing. If you honestly believed that the most liberal U.S. president in history was ever opposed to gay marriage, I might feel compelled to assist you with a few other revelations: The Easter Bunny isn’t real, pro-wrestling is choreographed, and Obamacare won’t save you money.

Of course President Obama supports gay marriage. He always has. But unlike the everyday citizen who feels relatively comfortable speaking his or her mind, he went the typical politician’s route. He feigned opposition to an unpopular stance so it wouldn’t keep him from being elected, then waited to show his true colors until it became politically useful to do so. He’s done the same thing with the individual healthcare mandate, public and private campaign financing, the Patriot Act, and numerous other issues.

An intellectually honest person would consider that practice to be little more than a classic bait and switch, but if you’re President Obama, that categorization doesn’t apply. Instead, the media lets you “evolve” on the issue. That’s the phrase the president and his administration have been using in recent years when pressed on the topic of same-sex marriage – he’s evolving on the issue. Mr. Obama should have instructed his press secretary, Jay Carney, to flash a wink and a nod each time the phrase was uttered. That way, the charade would have at least been entertaining.

Now, the president obviously isn’t the only person to have ever played this game. Mitt Romney did something similar in transitioning himself from a “Massachusetts Moderate”, as Newt Gingrich used to put it, to a self-proclaimed “severely conservative” presidential candidate. The difference, of course, is that Romney didn’t pull the switcharoo while he was actually in office.

Regardless, it’s stuff like this that makes voters cynical. It’s stuff like this that keeps people with true integrity, who are principled enough to defend their beliefs, from running for office.

To me, it’s the timing of President Obama’s announcement that is more interesting than the announcement itself. I fully expected him to spill the beans on his actual same-sex marriage feelings. I just figured it would come after the November election (if he won) when there would be nothing standing between him and four more years of his social justice crusade.

According to The Politico, it was Vice President Joe Biden’s statement of personal support for same-sex marriage over the weekend that did indeed force the hand of the administration to let the cat out of the bag early. The administration initially tried to tamp down Biden’s remarks, but the distancing angered gay rights activist groups that are a key constituency for the Democratic party. Thus, Obama went ahead and pulled the trigger on his epiphany.

You can always count on good old Joe Biden to over-sell a message, so it’s interesting that he was entrusted by the administration to even entertain the topic in the first place. My guess is that the idea was to merely throw out another distraction motif to steer our national conversation away from jobs and the economy again. That, and maybe a subtle reminder to Obama’s liberal base that he hasn’t forgotten about them on gay marriage. As usual, Joe complicated things.

Since the president’s announcement, several liberal pundits have already hailed the declaration as a brave and risky move in the run up to the election, but I completely disagree. Being honest about his feelings from the beginning would have been an example of bravery. I think what he did was actually an act of desperation.

National polls are showing that Obama’s liberal base is not energized, and independents are leaning heavily for Romney. These are both big problems for the president’s re-election. With the economy and job environment still doing quite poorly, it’s going to be tough for Obama to win back the independents. That leaves the energizing of his liberal base as the plausible alternative.

While a slim majority of Americans, including myself, have no problem with the idea of gay marriage, it’s really only activists on the issue that Obama’s announcement will truly have an effect on. After all, someone who’s been leaning toward voting for Obama isn’t going to change their mind after finding out that he supports gay marriage. Someone who’s been leaning toward voting for Mitt Romney isn’t going to change their mind because of the president’s personal view on the topic. What the announcement does is serve as a rallying cry for a liberal base that was lacking in inspiration.

Obama’s re-election campaign needs more money from big donors to compete effectively, and Obama’s announcement helps get them that money. In fact, within 90 minutes of Obama’s interview with Roberts, the campaign received $1 million in donations. That’s a substantial amount and much more will certainly pour in because of the president’s gay marriage reversal.

In addition, the move helps Obama attract back the youth vote from college campuses around the country, which was instrumental in putting Obama into office in the first place. If we learned anything from 2008, it’s that the youth demographic can be compelled to the voting booth if they believe they’re making landmark, societal history. Four years ago, they showed up in large numbers to put the first black U.S. president in office. This year, it could be about legalizing gay marriage nation-wide… even if that’s not really a probable outcome at the federal level.

The irony is that regardless of what Obama said about his personal feelings on same-sex marriage, he also said that from a policy standpoint, he believes the decision should be settled by the individual states. I believe this is the same policy stance that Mitt Romney holds, but that lack of distinction probably won’t be widely publicized by the mainstream media.

In the end, I think Obama’s evolution is more of a political winner than it is a loser. Regardless of how his revelation will be spun by his supporters and in the media, it wasn’t a principled decision and it wasn’t brave. I may agree with his newly expressed viewpoint on the issue itself, but I don’t agree at all with insulting games that were played to get to this point.

Have enough spine to say what you mean, and have enough integrity to mean what you say.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Bernie-fan

    Daly is perceptive.  The timing of Obama’s announcement was clearly well thought through by the Obama campaign.  These people are smart.  They need financial support now, from the affluent activist left.  

    They also knew there would be disapproval among socially conservative African American voters.  Getting the announcement out now would satisfy financial goals and give it time to fade from voter memories before the Nov election.  

    But the timing could not appear cynically orchestrated.  Reacting to a ‘gaffe’ by the VP would offer a perfect channel.  Biden’s comments were taped on Friday.  They were clearly rehearsed.  The weekend gave the campaign plenty of time to get things in good order for the Obama announcement – while maintaining the appearance of surprise.  

  • http://twitter.com/nolochemical nolochemical

    I agree the comments by Biden were clearly tactical, essentially a masterstroke  for the campaign. 

    Great article. After the school yard settles down, I hope this issue maintains enough momentum to be settled with a clear and decisive leadership. 

  • floridahank

    Looking at George Romney’s background, I see a strong industrial, capitalist orientation of Mitt’s father which I believe has influenced Mitt and will give us strong motivation to get the USA on the right direction for economic strength. While both Mitt and his father had strong LDS influence, I don’t think that will be a factor for running our country. I also feel that Mitt is a much stronger pro-American than Obama.

  • floridahank

    Looking at George Romney’s background, I see a strong industrial, capitalist orientation of Mitt’s father which I believe has influenced Mitt and  will give us strong motivation to get the USA on the right direction for economic strength.  While both Mitt and his father had strong LDS  influence,  I don’t think that will be a factor for running our country. I also feel that Mitt is a much stronger pro-American than Obama.

  • NANCYE

    Somehow I don’t think Obama’s “confession” on approving same-sex “marriage” (cough…cough…) will help him be re-elected.   In fact, I think it will have the opposite effect.  Is he trying to lose the election?  Maybe he finally sees the “writing on the wall”… 

    • cmacrider

      Nancye”  Since Obama’s policy’s are all anal …. is it surprising to you that he has come out in favour of same sex marriage???

  • cmacrider

    John:  As usual, a well thought out article.  However, once you overcome the Postmodern notion that equality means “identicalness” several questions arise:

    1/  What is the State doing in the marriage business in the first place … since in its origins it was a Chrisitian sacriment at least for Western European nations?

    2/ Since normally differing factual situations give rise to different types of contracts, leases, bills of sale, etc. why would the world come to an end if marriage was a religious institution and civil unions existed to protect gay relationships?  

    • John Daly

      Both are good questions. I never quite understood why it made sense for the government to be involved at all in marriage.

      • http://twitter.com/nolochemical nolochemical

        Follow the money ..

  • Royalsfan67

    John,
    One other provision I would have is any clergy who did not want to perform these ceremonies would be able to opt out and not have to do it. That is the true separation of church and state is the church has the wall protecting them from the state. They can either find a church willing to do the ceremony or use a justice of the peace.
    I am a states rights guy on almost everything, my only issue with it on this is that I just don’t see how it can be feasible. 

  • DOOM161

    Race baiting stopped working so well, so they had to find a new victim quick.  So far, only the left is biting.

    • Rick Johnson

      Actually, I think we’re going to continue to see both. They are pandering to their 90 percenters; blacks 90+ percent and homosexuals 90+(who knows) voting blocks. This has been the Democratic Party method for years.

  • Royalsfan67

    Ok, I will post a comment that really has something to do with the article. Four years ago I had no doubt in my mind that Obama was pro gay marriage. And it looks like his fund raising has really jumped due to this new position.
    As a very conservative person who is not an evangelical I would love to share my opinion on this. While I have the utmost respect for the Christian opinion on this, my take is we are not a theocracy and the bible should not dictate policy on this. Unlike President Obama, I have actually evolved on this issue and I just can’t see why gay couples cannot marry in this day and age.
    Where I really disagree with the president on this issue is it being a state’s rights issue. Since any marriage in this country is supposed to be recognized in all 50 states for obvious legal reasons, any same sex marriage would have to be universally recognized throughout the country. And since it is obvious that already over 30 states do not believe this should be the law of the land, it is not something that should be shoved down their throats. 

    • John Daly

      I agree with you on your theocracy point.

      I think a lot of people don’t distinguish between marriage as a religious institution and marriage as a legal agreement.

      I certainly respect and understand the arguments of people who have a different opinion than I do on gay marriage. And it drives me nuts when pro gay marriage people try to blanket the opposition’s stance as bigotry. I reject that.

      I just came to the personal conclusion long ago that legalized gay marriage doesn’t bother me.

      I tend to agree with Obama on leaving the decision up to the states, but I definitely see the point your making. It becomes a complicated issue when crossing state lines.

    • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

      Lets leave religion out of this.  In many schools in the Northeast they are teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade children that their are not three appropriate ways to have sex – vaginal, oral and anal.  So here is how it may go down, little Johnnie asks the teacher “what is anal sex?”  Since it is an appropriate type of sex the teacher would naturally answer “it is when a man enjoys having another man’s penis and/or fist and/or sexual toy up his rectum.”  Now that the boy has been educated he can run home to his parents and educate them as to the a new lesson learned and they have now learned that President Obama is down with that appropriate sexual act.  

      Of course ever since the Larry Sinclair allegations and his signed affidavit to support his allegations were revealed we knew the Bi-Sexual President would eventually announce his true evolution.  Since evolution is a never ending process can we expect this evolving President to finally come out of the closet and join his new found friends.  Hell, Bill Clinton turned the Oval Office into a whorehouse so why not a bath house.    

  • Royalsfan67

    Easter Bunny is real though right? You were kidding right? Don’t make me cry.

    • John Daly

      This is turning into one of my most controversial columns… for reasons that have nothing to do with the actual topic. ;)

    • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

      Hey, now that the Washington Post uncovered a Romney playground scandal that happened 47 years ago do you think Bernie may now have the balls to jump in his vehicle and head off to Phoenix, AZ and dig up some TRUTH (not dirt) as to what the good Sheriff down there has discovered in his on-going 7 month criminal investigation into the Barack Hussein Obama (aka Barry Soetoro, Harrison J. Bounel) crimes.  I think America would be more interested in the crimes the President may have committed on his way to usurping the POTUS than some everyday playground activity that happened 47 years ago, right?  Hell it took the Washington Post (Obama Gazzet) 11 pages to nail Romney.  I am sure Bernie could condense his first in a 50 part series on the Obama scandal into a couple of pages.   You could announce the series on the Billy Bob and Bernie show.   

      • John Daly

        Why do you keep using my columns to promote some bizarre fantasy about Bernie Goldberg flying to Arizona? It’s creepy.

  • http://www.e-marketingpartner.com/ Bob

    What?  Wrestling is fake?

    • John Daly

      I think so. ;)