Can I just say how much I love Joe Biden??? I love Joe Biden. I always have. I love that he will speak his mind, whether it is politically correct, or whether it’ll piss somebody off. I love that he speaks from the heart, whether it’s to say he supports same-sex marriage or whether it’s to tell The President that passing Health Care Reform “…is a big fucking deal!” ‘Cause, damn it, it IS a big, fucking deal!!! While the media portrays Joe as putting his foot in his mouth, I see it as a guy who doesn’t give a damn about speaking out, because he lives by his principles. If he says it, he believes it. And, by God, that makes Joe my kinda guy, bless his heart!
There are times when The President needs to stand up and lead. Today was one of those times. And I am grateful that he has taken a courageous stance supporting marriage equality. But let’s give Joe Biden some credit where credit is due.
But I have to say, my fellow Politicos, I am wondering if the Administration wanted it out there. Was this a strategic move? Was Joe given permission to go ahead and cut loose? Was Arne Duncan the follow-up, thus creating a “need” for The President to clarify his position on the issue? Seems mighty convenient, if you ask me…I believe that, while some see this as a politically risky move, I see it as smart and savvy. And highly deliberate! Here’s why:
1. First of all, what better way to mobilize the young voters and the base of the Democratic Party than to take a stand that is favorable to that demographic and well-overdue? Gotta get out the vote in November, folks, and better to get the position out there now and make it old news for the news cycle in November. This is a winner in this department, people.
2. POTUS can’t have a divided house. You simply can’t have that kind of dissention in an administration, so if a few folks conveniently state their opinions, well, The President is “forced” to present a united front. Calculated or not.
3. Public opinion. Hate to break it to the GOP, but being gay or lesbian ain’t no big thang anymore! My daughter got into a heated debate with a classmate in a college summer course last year (she’s been taking her high school language requirement at the local community college). She was downright angry and incensed over his hypocrisy on the issue, and matched him bible verse for verse, argued her point, and used his own logic against him. He finally walked away, stating that “It’s just wrong.” She was just as angry about his ignorance and hypocrisy as his stand on the issue. But most of all, she was angry that people we love, family and friends, would be treated differently because they are gay or lesbian. And that’s part of what The President has talked about today. How his kids don’t see the same-sex parents of their friends any differently. And the views of the public in favor of marriage equality are increasing steadily:
4. Follow the money. So, I was giving my dear friend, Thomas, a hard time awhile back about him and his partner being such world travelers, always globe-trotting around the planet. His response, in the absolutely brilliant Thomas style that I love so well, was “Of course we travel! We’re gay and we have no children!” The President is no slouch. He knows that there are numerous wealthy LGBT donors who will be happy to cut loose, as soon as President Obama takes a strong stand on marriage equality, as promised, when he “finishes evolving.” And there’s this from the Washington Post:
About one in six of Obama’s top campaign “bundlers” are gay, according to a Washington Post review of donor lists, making it difficult for the president to defer the matter. Activists are planning a campaign for the adoption of a pro-gay-marriage plank in this year’s Democratic Party platform. And a series of referendums this year on same-sex marriage — including one in the swing state of North Carolina on Tuesday — are putting the issue at the forefront.
The AFL-CIO has already spoken in support of The President’s announcement, again, another group that can put some significant money behind the reelection bid. Follow the money, Kids. Every time.
5. The President has cojones, and doesn’t flip-flop. He has taken a definitive stand, yet another contrast against his GOP opponent, Mr. Mitt “Flip-flopper” Romney. ‘Nuff said.
There are negatives, of course, to The President taking his stand. It puts Virginia and North Carolina in play a bit more than they already are. But with the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina and my dear liberal friends fighting the good fight there – low voter turnout put Prop One over the edge, and there are many good people fighting hard there (yo, Kim G and Ashley!) – there will be enough momentum by Dems to rule the day there. Another possible factor in play is the African-American vote:
African Americans have consistently been one of the groups most resistant to gay marriage. In that year’s worth of Post-ABC polling, just 42 percent said they support legalization while 55 percent oppose it. Yes, it’s unlikely that black voters leave Obama in droves over the issue. But it’s easier to see this decision taking some of the passion for him out of this community. (Washington Post)
But certainly, African-Americans will support President Obama. That’s clear. What else? Will the conservative right band together on this issue? Yes, of course. But their crazy-ass, hypocrisy and hubris will be its own reward for the left. But really, there are so few negatives for The President’s “coming out” with his position today.
Call me a conspiracy theorist if you will, but I truly believe this was a pragmatic political power play on the part of POTUS. (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist all that alliteration…) It was smart, and well-played, Mr. President. But I also believe The President has felt this way for a long time, and been unable to voice his principles due to the political tide of the moment. And for that, I thank him for his announcement today.
My prediction: The next election will see a change in the House and Senate. That will allow The President (yes, it will still be Barak Obama!) to move forward on issues of importance, namely, marriage equality (and since we’re predicting here, what the Hell? Jobs, student loans, women’s rights and my fave, infrastructure). I see the Obama Administration with many parallels to the Clinton Administration: first term, learn to govern; second term, get good work done. And tonight, after hearing that the reelection campaign scored a good million dollars in the few short hours since The President’s announcement, I think he’s got to be pretty happy with his decision.
So, good for you, Mr. President. I am delighted to see that you are showing the kind of leadership we expect on human rights issues. It is a courageous decision. But God bless my buddy, Joe Biden. He blew it out of the water. He led the way, strategic or not. And he’ll make a damn fine President of these United States. Keep telling it like it is, Joe.
Thanks for your time, my friends. Put your two cents in below here at Kitchen Table Politics!