By Bruce Thornton
In yet another act of election-year cynicism, Barack Obama has just announced, “I think same-SX couples should be able to get married.” This statement follows similar pronouncements by Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. To hear Obama tell it, this change reflects his “evolution” away from his previously stated pposition which he made clear in 2008 a few days before the election: “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.” That same year he told Reverend Rick Warren that marriage is a “union between a man and a woman,” adding that it is a “sacred union” with “God in the mix.” Both statements contradicted what he had told a Chicago gay newspaper in 1996 while running for the Illinois state senate: “I favor legalizing same-sx marriage.” No wonder this year’s electoral conversion smells suspicious even to Obama cheerleader MSNBC, which on its First Read blog brushed past the personal “evolution” pretext and zeroed in on the political calculus: “Obama’s shift not only speaks to a broad swath of the electorate, which has exhibited increasing acceptance of same-sxmarriage in opinion polls, but also gay and lesbian voters who compose a core part of Obama’s base, and have been major fundraisers for his re-election.”
This latest about-face, then, clearly shows that Obama’s 2008 opposition to gay marriage was devised to make him appear a centrist during the presidential election, and that now he believes he can speak honestly and shore up his progressive base.
That Obama would say one thing while believing another is well established by his long track record of shifting his policy positions depending on whether he is pandering to the center or the left––consider extraordinary renditions, military tribunals, Guantanamo, or the surge in Iraq, all of which he vociferously opposed until he supported them. Some might think that he is a rank opportunist who believes in none of these positions, his public statements based on tactical calculations reflecting polls and political necessity. Remember his principled opposition to the evil Bush tax cuts, which he then extended a month after the 2010 electoral “shellacking,” as he called it?