It’s Entirely Consistent

Members of the media and elements of the liberal blogosphere tried to manufacture a stink over the weekend after Vice President Joe Biden voiced his support for same-sex marriage. The question quickly became -- if the vice president will voice such support, why won't President Obama?

This morning Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also voiced his support for marriage equality during his appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe saying simply "Yes, I do." And the question from skeptical elements persists -- if the secretary of education will voice his support, why won't President Obama?

The obvious answer is that President Obama has voiced his support for equal marriage rights. As recently as the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in 2011, he explicitly said he supports equal rights for all Americans regardless of their sexual orientation. More than that, every area of policy espoused by the administration, from ending DADT, standing down on DOMA, and advocating for benefits for same-sex partners for federal employees including the military, reflects that position.

As David Axelrod said today, comments made by Vice President Joe Biden over the weekend are entirely consistent with the president's position. There is no daylight between them. And despite the facts, the persistent narrative is that the president is "dancing around" the issue and avoiding the subject.

In both the cases of North Carolina's and Minnesota's prospective same-sex marriage bans currently being considered in both states, the Obama campaign has issued official statements in opposition, further signaling that the campaign does not intend to shy away from the issue.

Both the Romney Campaign and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus are attacking the president as if he supports same-sex marriage -- probably because, as anyone who's been paying attention knows, he does support same-sex marriage -- so at this point if you are still questioning the president's sincerity you are just doing their job for them.

President Obama does not have a reputation for "dancing around" issues. What he does have a reputation for is methodically moving chess pieces across the board until such time that everything falls into place. Same-sex marriage will be an election-year issue, and there should be no doubt who the real enemy is.

  • Admiral_Komack

    The emoprogs can vote for Willard for all I care.
    Fuck them.

  • deazl666

    This is a no-win for the President. Stating “I support gay marriage” will not win him more support in November, but it could cost him a little bit of the middle, which he can’t afford. Also, his stating “I support gay marriage” will not change anything, at least in the short term. Again, the President does not have a magic wand, and I still can’t figure out where this frustrating notion came from, that somehow he can snap his fingers and change things in a blink of an eye. This will take an act of Congress (impossible right now) or a ruling by the SCOTUS (impossible right now). Obama knows this, which is probably why he is waiting until the conditions are good (or good enough) for his coming out in support of gay marriage. Right now, it would only cause him trouble, and it wouldn’t help the cause for gay marriage in the least. Hasn’t he proven that he can be trusted on the issue of gay rights? The movement should put pressure on state legislatures and governors instead, which, for all I know, is already happening…

    • villemar

      But but but but Dan Choi ripped up his Obama flyer!!!!

  • D_C_Wilson

    I wouldn’t be the least be surprised if Biden’s comments were calculated as a trial balloon floated to gauge public reaction for a full-throated support of marriage equality by the president.

  • nicole

    Well done, Ashby!

    Dammit, I am so sick of the whining.

    Understand this, people, you aren’t going to get Mitt Romney to support gay marriage……..or anything else that’s progressive. Start supporting the Pres without all the “buts” or you are very likely to live to regret it.

    In other words, STFU until after November!

  • Ipecac

    I agree with you that the President is being unfairly attacked here and agree that his support of gay rights is unprecedented and something the left should be proud of and grateful for. That being said, until he says, “I support gay marriage as a universal right,” then the word choices are going to continue to draw attacks that he’s equivocating. Frankly, I think it would be in his best interest to say those exact words, but he hasn’t yet.

    • JMAshby

      That’s the point. He has said those words. He said he supports equal rights for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation.

      • eljefejeff

        Ashby, I know you really really want it to be a fact that Obama has totally come out in support for same sex marriage, but he in fact has never said the words “I support same sex marriage”. He has, in fact, danced around it. I agree he’s not taken away their rights, and in fact, because of him, their rights are far more expansive than ever. But you can’t deny that he has purposely avoided saying the words “I support same sex marriage” purely out of political calculation. He is on record as stating that civil unions give the same rights as same sex marriage. But most gays say that’s not good enough….they want the right to marry, not just to enter into a civil union.

        I don’t hold a strong position on the issue. I agree with the president. Equal rights for all, and I don’t care if it’s called civil unions or gay marriage. Like it or not, there are millions of gay Americans, and millions of straight Americans, who think it’s ridiculous for him to hold back on saying those words purely out of fear of what the right wing might say about it.

        Look at it this way: Imagine a president 50 years ago being asked his feelings on interracial marriage and he says I support equal rights for all races. And the questioner asks “does this mean you support blacks marrying whites?” and instead of a simple yes, simply reiterates “I support equal rights”. There’s no reason to be ambiguous. Language is powerful. The president knows that. He chooses his words wisely. I see no reason for him to hold back, and I see great benefit if he simply voices the magic words so many want him to say.

        • JMAshby

          When the president speaks to the national human rights campaign and he says the words himself, what else is there to say?

          Are you saying “i support equal rights for everyone regardless of sexual orientation” is not the same as “I support gay marriage.”

          They’re both the same thing, the only difference is choice of words. And the former is a lot harder for the Right to attack.

          • Ipecac

            I would say that while they may be conceptually the same thing, in political lingo they’re not the same thing. And I’m totally with you on this whole issue. But it does feel to me like he’s making a political calculation not to say either “gay marriage” or “marriage equality”. (Again, emphasizing that I’m totally not with the Firebaggers on the whole gay issue.)

          • eljefejeff

            “Are you saying “i support equal rights for everyone regardless of sexual orientation” is not the same as “I support gay marriage.””

            Absolutely it’s not the same thing. If so, Obama would just come out and say “What’s all the fuss? I’m totally for gay marriage, duh, I’ve said it plenty of times.” He doesn’t want that “I support gay marriage” quote to be credited to him, it’s obvious, and as you point out it’s easier for the right to attack that.

            But they’ll attack him on it anyway, and who the fuck cares? Great presidents, great human beings, just stand up and say what’s right. The guy won a nobel peace prize for fuck’s sake. He’s smart enough to know where this is heading. It’s clear that gay marriage will one day be legal all over the nation. Why does he not want to come out and say it in plain English, with no nuance, no reading between the lines? Because he’s worried it will cost him votes. Weak. Everyone sees right through the rhetoric. It will make no difference.

            Imagine the reaction when he comes out to endorse it, whether before the election or after. It will be huge news. Gay and straight Americans rejoicing, conservatives as pissed off as ever. I can’t wait.

        • mrbrink

          Maybe it is those who need to hear the words, “gay marriage” who should reconsider their wording?

  • Bob Rutledge

    It is an unfortunate truth that “dumber-than-a-box-of-rocks” cannot be exclusively used to describe Republicans.