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AOKFFD - Judo Throw

It is a good thing that the president finally came around to what is the only correct position, ethically and constitutionally, on marriage equality. I was always frustrated by his (and his political teams) calculation that they had to pander to the folks who want to deprive gay citizens of rights that any straight teen takes for granted.

Still there was a strong political argument that could be made that in 2008, being a black Democrat with a Islamic middle name didn’t need another issue to spin up the radical reactionaries of the Republican Party. It seems to me that this is what has changed, and as he often does the president is ready to try from some political jujitsu.

Without doubt there this move is going to take some of the pressure off from his base, especially with younger voters who in the vast majority don’t understand why it is that the Religious Right has its collective undies in a twist over the issue of letting people who love each other stand up in front of their community and declare that they are going to take the leap and start a new family, with all of the responsibilities and rights that this implies.

There can also be no doubt that this move is going to cost him with some voters, but I don’t think with as many as the asshats at NOM and other anti-marriage equality groups think.

Here’s the reason, for those who voted for the president but would switch their vote based on this kind of thing (what must be a super small subset in any case) there is already a huge black mark on the president’s record in this regard; namely the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

What it is more likely to do is really fire up the forces of intolerance. Normally that should be considered a problem, as the Republican base is likely to be, at best, lukewarm to turn out for Willard “Mitt” Romney this fall. Firing them up with a culture war issue should seem like a net negative in getting to the 50% plus 1 in enough states to win the Electoral College.

Where the political jujitsu comes in is that getting the radical reactionaries fired up means that they are likely to go from bat-shit crazy to barking at the moon in 3.2 seconds. We have seen time and again when these kinds of groups get into full swing their ugly, bigoted inner-self’s come out, in spades.

The fact is they can say all kinds of hateful shit, but that stuff does not appeal as much to the independent voters and sure as hell is a turn off for most of the youth vote. The calculation has to be that they will over step and then wind up paying the cost in votes that the president can get as opposed to the number of votes that he would never get that would be turned out by a slightly more energized Republican base.

It is even worse because by laying down a marker at this point on this issue, there is another clear differentiator between Romney and Obama. There are tons of these and they are critically important for the president’s re-election prospect.

If the election is a referendum on the economy the president could be in big, big trouble. It was this kind of thinking that was prevalent in 2010 and cost the Democrats the House of Representatives in such large numbers. It is the Romney campaigns intent to be as vague as possible on the issues that he would pursue if elected, and keep the focus on the meme that the fact that the economy is not going great guns is the presidents fault (it is a total up-is-down, black-is-white lie, but that is what the Republicans are reduced to this cycle).

However, if the president can make the case that there is a real difference between the candidates and that the choice of a reactionary Right controlled Romney is unacceptable to most folks, then he can win re-election, even with an anemic economic recovery.

This is where this kind of political move really can shine. Romney has already had to reiterate his opposition to marriage equality. This, to torture a metaphor, un-shakes the Etch-E-Sketch, it reminds voters of the kind of toxic bullshit that was on display during the Republican Primary process.

It also sets the Romney campaign up to have to defend or repudiate the statements of folks like NOM and their merry crowd of assholes, like Rev. Patrick “beat the crap out of your transgendered child” Wooden.

All of this can be used to keep the Romney campaign from gaining or keeping the initiative in the campaign. As long as you have your opponent reacting to you, you are winning on points and are more likely to win in at the ballot box.  

There is risk here, there can be no doubt. The fact that we can’t seem to win a fight to keep from enshrining bigotry and hate in state constitutions at the ballot box shows that there are lot of folks who will and do vote for this issue. But as dangerous as it is to throw another log on the fire of their hate it would be even more dangerous not to do everything we can to fire up our own base.

Every time the president gives younger voters a reason to come out and support him, that is a gain for his chances to be re-elected. Is this change of heart a cynical political calculation or is it genuine? We’ll never know, but it hardly matters at this point. The gauntlet has been thrown down, the president has taken a position that he will not be able to weasel out of and it is a good thing for our nation that we have a leader who wants all citizens to have the same rights, regardless of what the forces of hate and intolerance would have.

The floor is yours.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Now the hard part comes--and that's actually (14+ / 0-)

    getting the young people out to vote.  It has to be made explicitly clear to them that there is a price and consequence of NOT voting.  

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:20:50 AM PDT

    •  Hard Means Campaign'll Be Very Reluctant to Do It. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias

      Pointing out that price means talking about dollars, and the Admin and the party are quite conservative when dollars are involved.

      His 2 bold moves in the past year were the birth control and now the marriage equality issues. Virtually no money or top end wealth are touched by either issue, but they drive the rightwing rabid enough to get stupid.

      But motivating youth or labor or anyone else to vote, that means talking about money and they will not touch any topic that implies getting meaningfully in the way of the wealth transfer from us to the rich.

      Showing youth they're cooler than Romney, sure.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:49:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And his constant refrain... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        New Rule

        on the Buffet Rule and high-income tax cuts is nothing? He's been pushing that far harder than either the birth control or (now) same-sex marriage positions and it's inherently a money question. It's also a direct address to the question of economic inequality.

        I'd venture to say that the President has been just as bold on that issue as on the two you cite, if not more so. It's been in the press fairly regularly and he's devoted far more speeches and radio/tv addresses to it, so it seems that he might, in fact, be addressing the "money issue" for young people just as he is these other two issues.

        Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

        by Stwriley on Thu May 10, 2012 at 11:56:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Conservapedia has a news comment section (9+ / 0-)

    on its front-page, it's a good summary of the whackdoodle mind.  Here's what they say today about this:

    Barack Obama flip flops on gay marriage explaining that his stance in support for homosexuality had gone through an "evolution." [7] Obama must have forgot that Prop 8 passed in California due in large part to the support of the black community. The Presidential Election 2012 becomes a national referendum on same-sex marriage.
    Barack Obama -- heavily dependent on gay donations for his reelection -- rushes to prop up the homosexual agenda by endorsing same-sex marriage.
    But Romney doesn't seem to be taking up the struggle.  Reason is that Romney's party, while normally simply motivated by greed and corruption, is also filled with haters of all types,  Light one match and the thing goes up like the Hindenberg.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:22:55 AM PDT

    •  exactly what I'm seeing on Facebook (6+ / 0-)

      Republican types are NOT attacking the position, but saying "why'd it take so long? Waah, flip flop." Why that response? Because they know they can no longer attack the position of supporting gay marriage. They know the moral high ground is with gay marriage supporters. The best they can go is "your guy flip flops too."

      Yesterday in FB comments by my right-leaning friends (and in comments of other people to posts about the news) I didn't see one comment criticizing gay marriage, but I saw 30 saying "Obama's just being political." They know they've all but lost this battle and this is the best they can come up with.

      •  there's certainly some politics in it, one thing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stwriley

        that's been mentioned has been to throw the Rs off their game of attacking BHO on the economy, where, right or wrong, he's weakest, and on to the issue of basic fairness, where he's strongest.

        You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

        by Cartoon Peril on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:45:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cartoon Peril

          I also think about Abraham Lincoln, whom we know Obama admires, and his change over the years on the issue of slavery. I believe the change of position is sincere, but politics will play out no matter what. I'm not sure how it will affect the election (if at all) but I take heart in the fact that the social trend is going in the right direction.

  •  As Newark Mayor Cory Booker said on Rachel, ... (13+ / 0-)

    ... we should not get to vote on minority rights. This is just not an issue that should be up for majority vote, as it has been in 32 states which all came out against gay marriage.

    How to reconcile those negative votes in an era where 49% of the American public believes gay marriage should be legal? Because it is a hugely energizing issue for the GOP base and they turn out to express themselves.

    So what's the risk for President Obama in saying he was for gay rights? Well, he could have continued to say nothing and it wouldn't have been less of an issue on the right ... but his endorsement makes it more prominent. Much more. And it'll be argued to be indicative: watch the NRA foam at the mouth about gun rights - as in, See what will happen in his second term?

    So Yes, there's risk to President Obama. There often is in leadership. Hail to the Chief!

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:23:09 AM PDT

    •  Yep, there are indeed risks to leading. (5+ / 0-)

      And yes, rights should never be up for vote. We're going to fix this problem.

      •  As with contraception: same dynamics. (7+ / 0-)

        Obama came out and said something perfectly reasonable about employer-paid health coverage having to include contraception.

        That immediately caused the religious right and their fellow travelers to get in an uproar and pass a bunch of horrific anti-choice, anti-women bills in states.  And thereby pissed off a huge number of women and their men, including a decent chunk of undecideds.  "Hey wait a minute!  This gets me where I live!"

        The same dynamics are in play here.  Obama makes a statement like this, and immediately the religious right starts howling at the moon.  North Carolina just passed one of these hate amendments, and religious righties will be angling for more.  Yes this will get the youth riled up and a decent number of older voters who see what's going to happen otherwise.

        Even now we see conservatives saying that "Obama only said this to win the election."  That means:

        1)  The majority is already there for it.

        2)  It's an election-winning issue.

        3)  Obama's going to win.

        4)  And they know it.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:56:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and recced. (3+ / 0-)

    Tell it, Dog!

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:24:00 AM PDT

  •  Mitt Romneybot has already taken the bait. (13+ / 0-)

    He's come out not only against marriage equality, but civil unions too.

  •  Polling indicates otherwise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    it could cost him in swing states

    There can also be no doubt that this move is going to cost him with some voters, but I don’t think with as many as the asshats at NOM and other anti-marriage equality groups think.
    And it's questionable that this was the direction of the pandering
    I was always frustrated by his (and his political teams) calculation that they had to pander to the folks who want to deprive gay citizens of rights that any straight teen takes for granted.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:05:58 AM PDT

  •  That picture looks like Judo (0+ / 0-)

    and I am not as gleeful as others on Obama's "awakening."

    Even more so, I upset at the silly cheer seen here and other sites for his eventual moment of clarity.

    It reminds me of a parent holding back a treat and when finally delivering just sits there expecting admiration.

    It took Obama this long to figure this out? It took him this long to muster the political bravery to finally say this?

    Go dance everyone. This man has made few stands, and they are all late.

    Genuine? I don't think so.

    Vote Democrat! Because drinking piss is better than eating shit...

    by Tirge Caps on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:25:48 AM PDT

  •  Don't You Mean 11th Dimensional Matrix Fu? (0+ / 0-)
  •  I don't think there's a good spin (0+ / 0-)

    We are surrounded by lies -- about war, about prisons, about poverty, about opprotunity.  Normally presidents and CEOs and people in power say something carefully calibrated to run right down the middle of those lies, in keeping with right thinking everywhere.

    Obama decided to tell the truth. Like Havel said, that's a revolutionary act, living in truth -- and a little bit of truth can crack the foundations of a big set of lies.  I don't think anyone knows what to make of it today.  Over here on the left, we think "about time" and "yay" -- and of course the right is steamed off.  I normally go pffft at the "independent low information voter" meme, but in this case I am most concerned about people to whom voting for a black guy was a little cool, but teh gays are icky butt sex -- the many many people of relatively liberal bent who have pulled me aside (since I'm the only trannie, and/or queer person, they know) and given me an earful of their opinion on the matter.  If they are at all representative, this just cost our re-election chances dearly.  On the other hand, it raised the level of truth in our society.  What other things might start being said?  In that way, a really promising moment.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:50:52 AM PDT

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