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National Organization for (heterosexual only) Marriage (NOM) is rolling out an ad campaign attacking President Obama on marriage equality and it is targeted specifically to radio stations that serve the African American community in North Carolina. The initial ad buy is $34,000 and will run on predominately the Raleigh media market (home to 40 percent of the state's African American population, according to NOM).

Brian Brow, President of National Organization for Marriage.
President of NOM Brian Brown
In announcing the ad buy in North Carolina, president of NOM Brian Brown said:
"The goal of our advertising campaign is to issue a wake-up call to the African American community in North Carolina that President Obama does not represent the values that they have fought to protect," said NOM president Brian Brown in a statement. "We urge all North Carolinians to join Dr. Wooden in rejecting the anti-family policies of President Obama this November."
You know, I'm just sure there is nothing the African American community of North Carolina appreciates more than getting a wake-up call from a wealthy, white, Catholic K-Streeter from Connecticut like Brian Brown. I'm sure they'll thank you for it.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

The Script

African Americans proudly celebrated Barack Obama's historic election as President in 2008. It was the African American community that helped him win here in North Carolina. But President Obama has turned his back on the values of our community with his strong endorsement of the homosexual movement. We worked hard to pass the marriage protection amendment this past May. With the strong support of the African American community, the amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman passed overwhelmingly. The very next day, President Obama came out for homosexual marriage. Now his campaign leaders are working to deny North Carolina's ability to define marriage, and they want to overturn our state marriage amendment altogether. Join me in saying 'no more' to President Obama.
The speaker is an African American preacher Patrick Wooden. He lives in the far right fringe of Christian conservative crazy town, not far from Todd Akin. He's a real extremist, who says:
being gay is a "death style" that "causes the breakdown of the human body" — a "special rights" push that is more offensive to African Americans than "the n word"
And:
it's "normal" to react violently to those who are gay: "We’ve always had a hostile response, or a disrespect if you will, for that kind of behavior."

A little fact-check


Just to get it out of the way, this: "they [Obama's people] want to overturn our state marriage amendment altogether," is just a wholesale fiction. The Obama administration has done nothing that endangers North Carolina's Amendment One. It's true his Department of Justice has offered opinions that will be helpful to opponents when they (likely) make the case against the constitutionality of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the Supreme Court next year. But even if plaintiffs get everything they ask for, the striking down of DOMA is almost certain to leave state constitutional bans intact. Obama has opined it's up to states to make these decisions. So, that's just a factual error.

This is consistent with NOM's race-baiting tactics


NOM brochure
NOM's confidential strategy (pdf)
Obviously this conforms perfectly with the nefarious NOM plan revealed in a secret document leak to "sideswipe Obama." The leaked memos showed the “strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies, they'd do this by "[f]anning the hostility" between the communities.

Politically, I think NOM and Wooden are biting off way more than they can chew. This strikes me as far more likely to damage Wooden—National Organization for Marriage and Republican's efforts to win elections in the Tar Heel state by infuriating the African American vote as they listen to their favorite radio stations. The spots are more likely to serve as very effective GOTV reminder for Obama's campaign.

The language is awfully inflammatory (no surprise from Wooden and NOM). "President Obama has turned his back on the values of our community." Really? I think there are a lot more to the African American community's values than just opposing gay marriage. And Romney sure the heck ain't fighting for African American values.

Asking North Carolinian African Americans to "join me in saying 'no more' to President Obama" reeks of epic FAIL. It's just a flat out overreach.

Stirring this pot in the African American community just strikes me as plain old, dumb, political strategy.

This is doomed to fail, even backfire


You can't build a good political strategy when you deny reality. And one reality is the Romney/Ryan ticket is garnering zero percent of the African American vote, which is probably a good indicator that community is happy with the incumbent. Another reality is pretty much most Americans like President Obama a whole lot more than they dislike the idea of gay marriage—doubly so in the African American community. What data we do have suggests Obama took virtually no hit for coming out in support of marriage equality, this from Nate Silver:

NOM won't face the reality. But rather than turn on Obama, it seems people changed their own minds about marriage equality, especially in the African American community. Almost immediately, polls started showing nearly unprecedented levels of support moving towards marriage equality, like this Public Policy Polling report from Florida:

The most dramatic movement has been among African Americans who've shifted 48 points from being opposed -30 in the fall (23/53) to now supporting it by 18 points (49/31).
Or this from Missouri:
President Obama’s nod of approval continues to influence black voters’ own opinions.  African-American voters lead the spike in support for gay marriage after a complete turnaround from just four months ago. 50% of Missouri African Americans think gay marriage should be legal, twice their level of support in January. 81% of Missouri African Americans believe gay couples should either be allowed to marry or form civil unions, a 31-point upswing from the previous survey.
Or this from Maryland:
The movement over the last two months can be explained almost entirely by a major shift in opinion about same-sex marriage among black voters. Previously 56% said they would vote against the new law with only 39% planning to uphold it. Those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% now opposed.
NOM can go with this political strategy, but they are totally outclassed by Obama's popularity. I really don't think they will successfully persuade many (or any?) African Americans to turn this election into a referendum on a single issue that doesn't affect them. And I seriously doubt many are anxious to hand the presidency to Mitt Romney, making Barack Obama a single term president.

If anything there is the some serious potential for backlash, and NOM forcing this conversation is only going to motivate more people to speak up on the president's defense. Obama is going to win again. Afterwards, Wooden and NOM will be remembered as the people who aligned themselves with the Republicans who've done everything in their power to bring Obama down. This is what circling the drain looks like.

But is this even legal?

National Organization for Marriage is incorporated as a 501(c)4. Like many of the tea party groups is defined by the IRS as a "social welfare group." From the IRS's guidelines:

The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.
It's not really clear to me how they can be sponsoring direct attack ads. Perhaps, like the partisan tea party groups, this "social welfare" organization needs to be getting a call from the Internal Revenue Service?

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 05:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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