President Obama’s seemingly-sudden decision to endorse same-sex marriage may have been far more orchestrated than previously believed. CNN reported today that President Obama was supposedly planning to announce his support for gay marriage next week on ABC’s The View before comments by Joe Biden caused him to accelerate his timetable.
But there is another theory in the works.
Biden’s comments on Sunday were clearly orchestrated; the notion that they were unplanned neglects the tape of the interview, which shows David Gregory consulting his notes as he asked a completely out-of-the-blue question on same-sex marriage. The very next day, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan endorsed same-sex marriage. The following day, Obama himself did so. That’s not an accident. That’s a roll-out.
So why the timing?
Today is President Obama’s big Hollywood swing.
For years, Hollywood’s key focus when it comes to politics has been same-sex marriage. Many in Hollywood are unhappy with President Obama’s confiscatory economic policies, but they universally support same-sex marriage. In fact, supporting same-sex marriage is a prerequisite for hiring in Hollywood. But President Obama had a problem: he and Mitt Romney had identical positions on the issue up until yesterday.
Furthermore, President Obama was having fundraising trouble with the gay community.
On Monday, the day after Biden’s comments, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post released information that “leading gay and progressive donors are so angry over President Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination that they are refusing to give any more money to the pro-Obama super PAC, a top gay fundraiser’s office tells me. In some cases, I’m told, big donations are being withheld.”
So what’s an embattled incumbent President with fundraising trouble to do?
Make a stop in his fundraising capital, Tinseltown, and endorse Tinseltown’s favorite cause just hours before doing so. It certainly has worked so far – those angry gay donors still don’t have their signed executive order, but they’re opening their wallets yet again. This month, Obama is scheduled to hit Los Angeles repeatedly.
Tonight, Obama holds his famed fundraiser at George Clooney’s house, where he will gross $6 million from 150 Hollywood bigwigs each shelling out $40,000 to sit within viewing distance of The One. Obama grossed an additional $9 million from online donations based on the dinner. Even as he prepared for the dinner, Obama’s campaign rolled out a campaign video suggesting that Romney wanted to move “backwards on equality.”
And don’t worry – Obama will come back to Hollywood again and again. The Los Angeles Times already reports, “Obama’s decision is likely to trigger major demand for tickets to a June 6 fundraising LGBT gala in Los Angeles featuring the singer Pink.”
Obama told ABC’s Good Morning America this morning that “It would be hard to argue that somehow this is something that I’d be doing for political advantage.” It isn’t that hard – at least not when the Obama campaign is sending out fundraising email after fundraising email championing Obama’s position on same-sex marriage, including one today with this text:
I am just so happy.
If you’re proud of our president, this is a great time to make a donation to the campaign:
The link takes readers to a landing page with this quote from President Obama: “Same-sex couples should be able to get married.” It does not mention that President Obama also said that same-sex marriage should be a states’ rights issue, nor does it mention that Obama says he will not push to include same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform.
In any case, the rationale for the timing on the same-sex marriage announcement was clear: Obama needed a shot in the arm for his campaign. He needed desperately to redirect away from the fact that his campaign launch was a public relations dud. And he needed fresh fundraising fodder. What better time to make the move than before having dinner with George in anti-Proposition 8-land?