President Obama has stated several times that he is evolving on same-sex marriage. What exactly that means is anyone’s guess. Mine is that he probably doesn’t care either way and when it is convenient to support it, he will. If it looks damaging, he won’t. So for him to say he is evolving makes him appear as a progressive thinker because progressives love to hear that kind of stuff.
If you don’t already know that North Carolina is a swing state you should bang your head against a wall. The state holds 15 electoral votes and is traditionally right-leaning. Before the 2008 election, North Carolina voted Republican every election year since 1980. Obama won it in 2008. President Obama cannot afford to lose it during this election.
Today, North Carolina will decide once and for all on the institution of marriage through a state constitutional amendment. According to recent polling, the voters of North Carolina will deliver a large majority vote in favor of traditional marriage — being between one man and one woman. That is not surprising because almost every state that has decided through the ballot have sought to uphold the traditional idea of marriage.
Several members of the Obama administration have come out in support of same-sex marriage, which allows Obama space to evolve some more on the subject. However, that will not be good enough for his liberal supporters yet will be enough to use against him by his Republican counterparts. The president should do both sides a favor and come out of the closet, so to speak, and kill the suspicion.
The White House held firm on Monday to that position, which polls show puts the president increasingly at odds with his party and the majority of Americans on gay marriage. But with Biden and Duncan’s comments reinvigorating the debate, Obama is likely to face renewed pressure to clarify his views ahead of the November election.
Throughout his first term, he has sought to walk a fine line on same-sex marriage. He’s trying to satisfy rank-and-file Democrats by supporting a range of gay rights issues without alienating crucial independent voters who could be turned off by the emotional social issue.
The president’s aides acknowledge that his position can be confusing. In states where gay marriage already is legal, the president says married gay couples should have the same rights as married straight couples. But he does not publicly support the right of gay couples to enter into a marriage in the first place.
It is doubtful Obama will feel the urge to support gay-marriage. It would not make a lot of political sense to buck the voters of North Carolina. So he’ll continue to disagree here and there, but advocates of gay-marriage will most likely not see the kind of sympathetic leader in Obama that he played in 2008. And because of this, there are gigantic holes appearing in Obama’s progressive message.
CNN’s Jessica Yellin asked whether Obama was trying to “have it both ways before an election” and whether he should “stop dancing around the issue.”
ABC’s Jake Tapper said that “it seems cynical to hide this prior to the election” and that “I don’t want to hear the same talking points 15 times in a row.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd said with a grin, “So help me out here. He opposes bans on gay marriage, but he doesn’t yet support gay marriage?”
The pounding was so intense that radio personality Les Kinsolving, a gadfly who tries to ask the most outrageous question at briefings, was being overlooked. Midway through the briefing, he appeared to pass out, sliding to the floor. As he was being helped to a seat, Kinsolving called out, “I just have one question!”
Carney tried to parry the same-sex-marriage questions, gamely at first and then testily as reporters began to laugh at his answers. He grew uncharacteristically flustered. When an unrelated question came about whether Obama would support the reelection of scandal-plagued Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Carney answered:
“I mean — well, yes, sure. I just don’t — I haven’t — I haven’t been asked it before so I. . . . The president — I’ll have to — I’ll have to get back to you.”