Obama Drama

Commitment Phobia or Political Prudence? Obama Can’t Avoid Marriage in Re-election Campaign

Obama’s position on gay marriage is evolving (or so he says). Now an anonymous Democrat strategist at the White House has told the New York Times that President Obama might be supporting same-sex marriage during his re-election campaign and some senior advisers “are looking at the tactics of how this might be done if the president chose to do it.”

Obviously the right and moral thing to do would be to support marriage equality for everyone (or against it for everyone–now that would be an interesting position!) But will this move be beneficial or detrimental to his political fortunes? The most recent Gallop poll reports that more than half of Americans are now in favor of gay marriage. While this may be true, it doesn’t take into account the bizarre electoral college system of counting votes, which often gives more weight to conservative swing states where voters oppose marriage equality in large numbers.

With his re-election campaign revving its engines, Obama is going to have to make a decision. On Thursday, the President is taking to New York City to host a $1,250-a-plate “Gala with the Gay Community.” With the vote for New York State’s marriage equality bill on the any-day-now horizon, and GetEqual’s organized protest just outside the gala, it will be hard for him to avoid taking a stand. At the end of the month, he is hosting a Gay Pride reception at the White House which again is likely to garner still more questions.

The hints were coming in loud and fast in our direction. “This is clearly a president who is interested in making big historical changes,” the anonymous strategist said. “I think this issue has moved into that context for him.”

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