Obama Evolves: Reax III


Tomasky gives the president free advice:

[T]his is what Obama needs to do: When the subject turns to this issue, he needs to make sure that Americans know that Romney opposes even civil unions, and that he would seek to outlaw gay marriage across the country, and he needs to make Romney defend those positions. Obama, in contrast, can say: "Hey, look, I took a personal position. I’m not trying to make Alabama or Oklahoma do anything they don’t want to do. But you, sir, would take already-won rights away from gay couples whose unions are now recognized in a number of states." And then he drops this bomb: "My position is no different from Dick Cheney’s. Is he outside the mainstream?"

David Link is in the same ballpark:

This is fine politics because it boxes Romney in with the worst part of his party. Karl Rove poisoned the well on this issue, and now Obama is making Romney drink, and drink deeply.

Alex Koppelman analyzes the Republican response:

They can say that he should be spending more time on jobs, say that he’s just trying to distract us. They can call him a flip-flopper. They wouldn’t be wrong to call him that—but that’s what you do when you’d really rather not debate your opponent on the merits of his argument. And it’s what most top Republicans are doing, thus far—that is, when they’re commenting at all.

Stephen Miller won't give up on the GOP:

The fact that today’s Republican party staunchly opposes gay equality should signal that this is where our efforts should be focused.

PM Carpenter wants the left to give the president a break:

I appreciate the slim possibility of this happening, but would the activist left now please shut the fuck up about what a coward President Obama is. He may have just kissed off a few swing states–and in the kick-off to a presidential reelection campaign, it doesn't get any gutsier than that.

Rob Tisinai trashes Obama's support of marriage equality federalism:

If Barack Obama, a professor of Constitutional Law, were on the Supreme Court, he would vote against us. Obama supports same-sex marriage, but he sees no Constitutional mandate. He thinks we should be treated equally, but he sees no Constitutional mandate. When it comes to this groundbreaking case, Barack Obama — believe it or not — is on the side of Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, and the National Organization for Marriage.

Weigel's view of the scenario:

I'm sure that Judge Obama would find some rationale for legalizing gay marriage in his state or district, if it came up, just as the Goodrich and Iowa judges found their reasons. Cook's right — Obama is saying remarkably very little when he reveals "personally, my personal position." The problem, when it comes to marriage, is that there's not much else he can say.

Balko points out that Obama is hardly a federalist in general:

Obama’s statement doesn’t change a single policy. He has basically adopted a federalist approach to the issue. To my knowledge, gay marriage also happens to be the only issue in which Obama embraces federalism. Obama apparently believes the states should be able to discriminate when it comes to marriage benefits, but if they allow cancer and AIDS patients to smoke pot, he asserts the supremacy of federal law, and sends in the SWAT teams. What a twisted set of priorities.

Josh Barro insists that marriage is a federal issue:

Some portion of marriage policy can be left up to the states. But gay marriage is also very much a federal issue requiring federal policy solutions. In the coming months, Barack Obama will need to address them, whether he wants to or not.

Pejman Yousefzadeh gives the president qualified praise:

[L]et’s not pretend that this was a moment in which Barack Obama strode to the mountaintop and courageously called for equal rights for same sex couples on his own initiative. That did not happen. The president was pushed and dragged to the mountaintop. That kind of thing happens a lot in civil rights struggles, so it may not be the world’s biggest deal. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the fact that it happened in this instance.

Douthat gives the marriage equality movement credit:

As a gay marriage skeptic, I’m obviously on what’s likely to be the losing end of this shift. But as an observer of politics and culture —and someone who thinks that moral absolutisms have an important place in both — I can’t help but be impressed by the gay marriage movement’s ability to transform the terms of the marriage debate so completely and comprehensively. Politics is mostly the art of fighting over a muddled middle ground, but this is the way the world gets well and truly changed: Not through conciliation, but through conquest.

Earlier reaction here and here. My thoughts here.

(Photo: A vendor sells badges featuring pictures of US President-elect Barack Obama during a demonstration to condemn the ban of same-sex marriages in Los Angeles on November 15, 2008. By Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)