Thursday, May 10, 2012

Frank Rich on the National Circus: "He’s Evolved!"

Frank Rich (New York Magazine):
And so, Obama has finally finished evolving on same-sex marriage.
And about time! I, for one, never understood the point of saying you were “evolving” when many of the voters you were pandering to don’t even believe in evolution. 
Did Joe Biden push his boss to act by announcing on Meet the Press last Sunday that he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage?
I doubt it. A veep has no such power over any president. Let’s give Obama real credit here. Slow and halting and borderline farcical as his “evolution” was, we have now seen an American president take a historic stand on gay civil rights while in office — and do so despite the opposition of many in the African-American community.
Yet North Carolina banned same-sex marriage and even legal recognition of civil unions yesterday in a landslide, becoming the 31st state to do so. Obama’s stand, however cheering to his base, could hurt him in an election year when he needs to win swing states like North Carolina.
That’s always been the rationale for Obama’s dawdling. Don’t rock the boat in North Carolina — or Florida or Virginia or Colorado — by speaking out on gay marriage until after November 6 has passed. The counter-argument I’d make is that Obama looked like a phony and a coward each day he fudged this issue, and that his taking a strong and principled stand will have a halo effect on his leadership in general, including among voters who are ambivalent about gay marriage or opposed to it. Just look at Andrew Cuomo, whose approval rating remains high upstate and among Republicans, not just among liberals in New York City and its suburbs.

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