FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Potemkin Federalism And The Modern Campaign Straddle
The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own.
I’m thinking President Obama regrets two of his decisions right about now. He wishes he wasn’t about to hold the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC and he’d rather have Opus The Penguin as a Veep right now instead of Huey “The Kingfish” Biden. As our Commander-In-Chief leans forward, gasps for breath and removes the 9” piece of steaming cutlery Mr. Biden recently sheathed between two of his vertebrae, he attempts to find a new and unique way to straddle the contentious issue of homosexual marriage.
Presidential Candidate Obama needs to stay on both sides of any controversial issue. As an Illinois State Legislator, he could always vote present. As United States President, he gets no such option – except that he kind of does. He can rediscover the magical principal of Federalism. He personally claims to favor homosexual marriage, but doesn’t want to shove his values down anyone’s throat. If only he could try that gambit out on energy policy and health care. This is far from the most egregious stunt I’ve seen out of Obama Presidency to date.
Had President Obama delivered this response in a vacuum filled only by moderately liberal suburbanites it would be an unquestionably logical decision. He doesn’t have any such vacuum to orate in and his teleprompter would probably fail if he tried. He gets the base of the Democratic Party to speak with instead, and they consider Federalism only slightly less insidious than Radon Gas in the basement. John Cook of Gawker explains liberal heartburn over President Obama’s “Present vote” on homosexual marriage.
He now believes that gay couples should be able to marry. He doesn’t believe they have a right to do so. This is like saying that black children and white children ought to attend the same schools, but if the people of Alabama reject that notion—what are you gonna do?…. before Roe v. Wade, abortion was a state-by-state issue, too. So was slavery.
Mitt Romney meanwhile suggested that he had permanently retired Flip The Romney Dolphin. He chose his side on the issue years ago as Massachusetts Governor and won’t evolve.
Obama’s likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, opposes gay marriage, and fought his state’s highest court when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, when Romney was governor. Romney said on the campaign trail Monday that he continues to oppose gay marriage. ‘My view is that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney said. “That’s the position I’ve had for some time, and I don’t intend to make any adjustments at this point. … Or ever, by the way.’
All of this seems like a perfect opportunity for Barack Obama to reaffirm his status as President Gutsy Call. He could take the bit in his teeth. He could demand openness and liberalization. He could make those damn, dirty Tea Partiers evolve. Except for one little nit to pick…..
The DNC will re-coronate Barack I in Charlotte, NC this summer. North Carolina just passed a ban on homosexual marriage by a 61-39 margin. And not only that, President Obama is going against a key element in The Democratic Party’s base if he openly supports homosexual marriage. Time Magazine (after their obligatory cheap-shot against North Carolinians for voting against leftist preferences on homosexual marriage) explains why Barack Obama won’t be making a very gutsy call here.
The constituency calculus makes this choice politically risky for Obama. Black voters, who were critical to Obama’s ‘08 victory, are strongly against marriage equality. A recent Washington Post/ABC poll found 55% of blacks oppose gay marriage and 42% support it, which is almost the opposite of white voters—53% support and 43% oppose.
So there you have it. Federalism rises from the grave. It’s easier than leadership and more conducive to longer careers in politics than making principled decisions one way or the other. Now we just need to start devolving some of DC’s power, along with all the controversy and blame.