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May 10, 2012


Glad to be the first to comment. I agree with everything Doc S says and add only this: long term, this is the smartest political move Obama has made since assuming office. Either Republicans get on board or abstain from holding an opinion and let the future unfold as it obviously will or they paint themselves into the worst kind of corner for a generation.

long term, this is the smartest political move Obama has made since assuming office.

Love him or hate him, the man plays to win.

I agree with McKT, who agrees with Doctor Science, who agrees with lj, with the sizable exception of the idea that hedge fund types and Goldman Sachs will in any way significantly change their funding choices for the November election.

Oh, there might be some funding crossover, but it will be closeted, given the hate that is about to be spewed over this issue by the alien redstate infestation in the Republican Party.

To the extent that the hedge fund "community" is highly libertarian and scared crapless about the tax treatment of carried interest and every other tax-related issue, I call bullsh*t over the significance of their concerns regarding gay rights.


Show me a gay married hedge fund manager and I'll show you an individual who will happily contribute to Barney Fag Hater Dick Armey's Tea Party PAC to demagogue the f*cking marriage tax penalty and Dodd-Frank.

Show me a wealthy gay hedge fund manager who, to his or her credit, contributes to charitable gay causes and I'll show you someone who will still vote to abolish ObamaCare and gut Medicaid, because they don't want their taxes raised, regardless of the poor and middle class gay men who depend on those programs to fund their lifelong AIDS medication regimes.

Show me a conservative Log Cabin Republican who favors complete equality for gay and lesbians and I'll show you a person who will give his or her money to swift-boat Barack Obama, including darkening the pigment of his image in the political advertisements.

I also believe this issue will energize the murderous anti-gay Right in the Republican Party in state and local races in November, to the detriment of this President's re-election chances.

What? You think the these anti-American types, who are just now reluctantly dismounting from standing athwart history on Brown versus Board of Education and every other landmark rights issue for the last 100 hundred years aren't going to take us through another few decades of hate, with electoral successes, just for the sadism of it?

Cripes, here comes the Southern Strategy, if not the depredations of Reconstruction on a lesser scale, all over again, this time regarding gay rights.

They'd, (yeah, Democrats too in some locales) sooner vote a Texan criminal with a pony tail into the Presidency.

Now strategically, I will say this is very shrewd of the President to come out (again) just as the Supreme Court is going to consider Don't Ask Don't Tell and the California anti-gay marriage Amendment.

LBJ was brave and shrewd too.

But these 27% hate Nixon for being liberal too, except for his effort to blow up liberal think tanks.

Should Obama lose, esp. by a small margin, a lot of 'professional' Dems will believe that the gay-friendly stance has blown up in their faces. They will not get rabidly anti-gay but they will put it in the same folder as gun control, capital punishment, abortion etc., i.e. the list of things to avoid like the plague.

I think you are right that this is an opportunity for the Republicans to get themselves on the wrong side of history. Which they seem determined to do, and do loudly.

But it is just the latest issue on which they seem determined to marginalize themselves for the future. First they drive away the fastest growing demographic in the country (Latinos). Then they drive away younger voters in general. It's enough to make one ask: who will they decide to drive away next, to further degrade their long-term prospects?

"It's enough to make one ask: who will they decide to drive away next, to further degrade their long-term prospects?"

How long-term do you mean?

As the mother in a Neil Simon play and movie said when her son wondered asked loud "Now?" when she asked him to run down to the corner store: "No, next year when I'm dead!"

I think they'll drive away as many as they can, and their poll numbers will remain strong and maybe pick up momentum.

There's always another Other on the ex-democrat confederate republican sh*t-list for demagoguery.

Given the corruption of the filibuster, reactionaries don't need majorities any longer.

If Obama wins, and the vermin who pass for Republican politicians these days keep the House and pick up seats in the Senate, expect all Obama Court appointments to fail and all Cabinet nominations to be held up for four years.

The more Others the Republican Party demonizes, the more of their ilk show up to vote.

Elections are not the cure for the Republican problem in this country.

Elections are not the cure for the Republican problem in this country

The heck?

The heck?

Just the Count's hyperbolic fantasizing. He doesn't want them all shot, just re-educated. I think. :-)

My violent hyperbole, if that's what it is, just doesn't have the mainstream political traction and fund-raising oomph of Grover Norquist's, Wayne LaPierre's and Ted Nugent's, so I wouldn't be alarmed.

I don't expect Obama to rush to my side for a photo-op or to sign any pledges.

And, I don't believe in lame individual action.

I wonder if anyone in the House takes Allen West aside and tut tuts his ravings. It's not "Allen, Allen, dear boy, WTF?"; it's "Allen, may I borrow some of those many million of bucks for my campaign that you picked up saying all of those WTF things?"

Apparently not. That would be like Moe Lane blamming a diarist at Redstate after the latter is arrested by the Feds for threatening mass-killings of Democrats.

Just not gonna happen. But pity the poor gay Palestinian who shows his face over there.

Mike Huckabee never invites me on his show for a little distorted but pious crypto-religious poontang jamming. Donald Trump never calls. Mitt Romney never grants me an audience so I can ask him the tough questions.

Coyotes sniff around and then lope off unmolested, not even to be used later as a metaphor for the dead Other.

It must be the gun thing. I don't think I'd get far as a candidate in an election in this country by telling stories about strangling a coyote with my bare hands which, being a pacifist.

The Republican Party likes a little high-tech efficiency in their threats.

If I had a nickel for every Republican family member, friend, and/or bar patron who has said "Someone oughta shoot that (name your liberal)!", I'd have maybe $50, which is a goodly amount of nickels.

Liberals sit around and suggest putting together a tent-city to counter their enemies.

Regarding gay marriage, Jon Stewart was funny (how did satirists fare under Stalin and Hitler?) last night when he showed a clip of some Republican vote-getter stalwart, who happened to be bald, droning on about "if men can marry men because they love each other, why then those who love dogs may marry dogs and those who love ice cream may marry ice cream."

Mitt Romney won't be campaigning in any Baskin Robbins shops any time soon, unless they are handing out free ammo with the rainbow sherbet.

Then Stewart showed an old Pee Wee Herman clip in which Pee Wee exclaims at a picnic that he LOVES fruit salad and his fellow picnickers ask him in unison "Why don't you marry it!" and in the next scene he's pledging til death do us part to a bowl of fruit salad.

Which is to say, however, in the crazy f*cked up America of love in the ruins, I could see Paul Ruebens as a Republican Congressman voting to ban fruit salad in the House cafeteria and in the military and schools for good measure if the wording was attached to a Bill raising his effing capital gains rate.

America's pee and it's wee torn asunder, never to be put together again.

"eliminating", not "raising" his effing etc.

My violent hyperbole,

Not "violent", "hyperbolic". You're a hyperbolist (a new word, according to the red squiggly line thingy).

If the dog and the fruit salad are able to give informed consent, then we can talk about legal unions. Otherwise we have essentially a sex with minors and morons situation, where even most liberals agree that it would be problematic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Doll>This scenario would likely come earlier. Iirc in Japan there have already been attempts to get legal recognition for a union of Human and anthropomorph sex-toy.

I can only take this as a sign that Obama thinks his reelection is sufficiently uncertain that he wanted to be on the record as supporting gay marriage, rather than the opposite.

It also fires up the GOP base on perhaps the only issue that Romney might have some credibility with them.

It also fires up the GOP base on perhaps the only issue that Romney might have some credibility with them.

The base was already sufficiently juiced with idea of voting against Obama. The added fire is cumulative and doesn't add value or advantage. The main effect, in the near term, is contingent on Romney getting nasty about gays and causing independents to stay home. The high school harassment issue doesn't help.

Doc's post is much better than mine, I had this notion that I would be updating mine with different analyses and such, as I wasn't really sure if this was a Biden gaffe or a planned strategy. However, I did find the Guardian news blog on the topic 'as it happened' to be interesting.

In that live blog (and for oldtimers here), click here to get a blast from the past. Alas, some folks end up on the wrong side of history, others climb the fence to eagerly get to that side.

The Guardian also has this Ana Marie Cox comment is free piece that has this

The best news in all this – besides the president finally bending to the leadership of VP Joe Biden...

Methinks someone has getting Onion news confused with real news.

"Otherwise we have essentially a sex with minors and morons situation, where even most liberals agree that it would be problematic."

But very few conservatives agree, otherwise the Catholic Church would be out of business and Sarah Palin would be childless.

I can only take this as a sign that Obama thinks his reelection is sufficiently uncertain that he wanted to be on the record as supporting gay marriage, rather than the opposite.

i agree this is probably at least part of the reason.

also: the timing of the announcement probably converted a lot of the negative energy that the NC debacle generated into positive energy for himself. instead of wallowing in the despair Tuesday's election caused, we get to say to ourselves "but at least we have a President who's not a reactionary moron." and then we can look at Romoney's (current) position vs. Obama's and decide which of the two better represents our desires.

unless you're a committed emoprog, that is:

Obama supports same-sex marriage, but he sees no Constitutional mandate. He thinks we should be treated equally, but he sees no Constitutional mandate. When it comes to this groundbreaking case, Barack Obama — believe it or not — is on the side of Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, and the National Organization for Marriage.

Well, the "committed emoprogs" are split--Glennzilla supports Obama on this one, for instance--


earlier link

Though of course maybe I don't understand the definition of an "emoprog"--there are various terms used by Obama supporters to describe his leftwing critics, and I assume that is one of them. If so, GG's stance shows the emos are split.

The chart shows support for marriage rising almost symmetrically with opposition shrinking, which suggests there has never been a large "undecided" group. The one time where there is a significant change in one without the other, in early 2004, support rises before opposition drops, suggesting that most of what undecideds there were settled their minds, so that almost all the change since then has been "antis" changing their minds.


Donald, Urban Dictionary has a wonderful definition of emoprog that I suggest as a reference.

Glenn Greenwald, although an emoprog, is smart enough to make occasional concessions in order to try to avoid (unsuccessfully in my opinion) becoming a caricature of himself.

Currently on the "front page" of the NYTimes website is an article headlined: "Poll Sees Obama Marriage Support Motivated by Politics." In the poll, some greater percentage of people are "less likely to vote for Obama" because of his decision, and some of these people cite Obama's supposed pandering as a reason for this. Of course, there's very little discussion about the real reason Obama didn't want to make the issue "an issue": the President has very little authority over marriage law (marriage law being a state issue) unless he makes a Constitutional argument in favor of it, which the practical result is ?????? Does Obama's endorsement help or hurt the chances of gay marriage being held a Constitutional right by the Supreme Court? (IOW, a pragmatist - someone who wouldn't want to get in the way of the obvious trend in favor of gay marriage - would keep his mouth shut.)

The link to that poll is here

I'm thinking that the numbers surveyed is remarkably small to draw the conclusions the article does

The new nationwide poll is based on telephone interviews conducted from May 11 through 13 on landlines and cellphones with 615 adults.

The pollsters try to piggyback the survey onto some other surveys

By itself, the sample size of the new poll was too small to break out comparisons by race, but aggregating four Times/CBS News surveys that asked the question over the last year opens a window into a racial dynamic that could be challenging for Mr. Obama.

but I'm thinking that you can't take that data, drawn from before the announcement, as a reliable indicator for the current situation.

I totally agree, lj, about the substance of the poll. Still, the NYT coverage is basically (don't know whether you agree or not) casting a negative light on Obama's decision to announce his support for gay marriage, and does reflect the views of a lot of people (including, apparently, Doctor Science) that the announcement was politically calculated.

I don't think it was politically calculated in any other way than that Obama felt that it would be politically damaging for him to keep hedging on the issue when so many people affiliated with him were speaking their minds and hearts. His "hedging" was perfectly understandable though, IMO, since his opinion has absolutely zero effect on anything other that whatever (positive or negative) effect his "bully pulpit" has on the issue.

Given that if the issue does become a federal matter for the Supreme Court to decide: what do you (or anyone else) think the effect of his public endorsement would be before Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy? I think it probably has no effect. The "bully pulpit" effect on state legislatures? Probably a negative one, since most state legislatures are Republican.

So what's the symbolic "feel good" thing for Obama to do? Support gay marriage. What's the pragmatic, politically calculated "right thing to do for gay marriage"? Remain silent.

That's why Obama wanted to do things on his own terms.

I was probably too brief in my comment, it was primarily to make a quick link to the study.

My reading of Dr. Science was not that it was 'politically calculated' but that it was something that was not a huge shock, especially in light of the NC election. Of course, 'politically calculated' is one of those terms that tends to take on a negative meaning when it is used, and I'm thinking Obama and anyone who works for him would have to be an idiot to ignore any and all political ramifications, so people who are knocking him for being 'calculating' are really off base. Accusations of calculation are, in this sense, different from simply reporting that Obama is acknowledging some basic changes in society.

Just as Chuck Todd and the Toddettes were anxious to expose this 'rift' in the administration, it seems that the pollsters (or these pollsters) are equally anxious to expose a rift between Obama and the democratic electorate, even if they have to use data gathered before the issue was on the electorate's radar. An analogy might be having some piece of information that Big boss X in your organization was just forced out because of some sleaziness, and some scheming colleague knows that you don't know it and asks you in a meeting to voice your support of that big boss, which you do and the colleague then adduces that support to support of whatever sleaziness was committed (I hope no one is working in an organization like that, but that is the kind of dynamic I see)

Most of the people pushing this narrative of political calcuation want to claim that they make no moral judgement on the issue, but in essence, they are trying to promote a narrative that presumes that the administration is not being 'honest'. My wife was baffled by the whole dynamic of Obama's announcement, because in Japan, there is no overwhelming movement to equalize sexual relationships. That's in part because the country is rather conservative, but another reason is that it isn't considered to be a mortal sin to keep one's private life private. I am not dismissing the desire for equality in this sense, but I do think it is propelled in part by the fact that US norms demand that people be 'honest' and there should be no difference between their public and their private face(s). In Japan, there are two words, honne and tatemae, and the first means your true feelings and the second means the public face. To say that what someone says is tatemae is simply acknowledging that what they say is constrained by any number of factors external to the person.

This dichotomy can be abused (and is probably one reason why social structures retain a conservatism, because everyone in the organization can say they dislike something, but for the sake of harmony, they put up with the crappy alternative), but the reverse, that seems to ridicule the notion that Obama's opinion can evolve on issues, seems to be just as toxic.

In Japan, there are two words, honne and tatemae, and the first means your true feelings and the second means the public face.

That's very interesting, lj. And although I can see where it could be abused, it seems also very useful, and it's commonly done here too - it's just that people are sometimes vilified for it.


I have to say that's a new one on me. If the "prog" part of that is short for "progressive", I think it's fair to say that Greenwald would reject that label. It's even less accurate than sticking a "conservative" label on him would be.

Despite the unpromising beginning of this webpage, (and the fact that connected site doesn't have a whole lot about Japan) the description of various facets of honne and tatemae down the page is quite good. If you have access to the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology online, this page is quite good

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