messaging

Obama Is Rallying Democratic Support for MA’s Martha Coakley. How Come He Refuses to Do the Same for For Gay Rights?

That the sitting president would release a message — seen more than 37,000 times so far — to support one of his own party members fighting for elected office isn’t all that surprising. In fact, it’s expected. The de facto leader of the Democratic party, it’s part of President Obama’s job to ensure fellow Dems, like Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who’s running for the late Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat, beat the opposition. But this video message is just one of those small reminders that the president can find time to sit down in front of a camera and read from a teleprompter to rally support around a cause he believes in (in this case, Coakley’s Senate run), but not when, say, the gays needs him the most.

You could argue that Obama is campaigning here on the federal level; that Coakley’s campaign to join the U.S. Senate is a federal matter, and he’s backing her from a federal position (the executive branch). You could also say that, given AG Coakley is suing the federal government over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, this is Obama actually issuing a message in tacit support of challenging the law.

And all of those things may be true. But also true is the president’s continued silence on, say, the federal Prop 8 trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger — which is, after all, a federal matter.