Obama's evolution

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Other than a few Mitt Romney supporters, most of us view evolution as a wonderful biological mechanism to which we owe our supposed higher intelligence. So Obama's "evolution" from a foe to a supporter of same-sex marriage deserves tremendous praise. But before we go all ga-ga over the president, let's remember:

He didn't evolve on his own. In this case, the evolution needed a push, from generations of LGBT activists and supporters, who put the issue in front of the world, made it a basic matter of civil and human rights, and forced Obama to realize that he could no longer duck and had to take a stand.

Remember FRD's famous statement to activists? "Now you have to make me do it." That's what happened here. Obama made the political calculation, of course, and it's a good one -- energizing his base is more important than angering a bunch of people who weren't going to vote for him anyway. But there's more to it, and I think Paul Hogarth has the right line:

Biden’s statement may have been the final trigger, but the LGBT movement deserves the credit – despite the odds – to hold firm on getting the President to take this historic stance. And it’s a lesson that other progressive constituencies should take heart in, as we strive to make Barack Obama the President we hoped he would be.

Let's also remember that this really started in San Francisco, with an act of what I like to call civic disobedience. At the time, a lot of critics said that Mayor Gavin Newsom was hurting the Democratic Party by making a move before the rest of the nation was ready for it. But what he did eight years ago was force the rest of the nation to get ready for it -- and the subsequent legalization of gay unions in a growing number of states has shown America what the Boston Phoenix referred to as "the utter, mundane normality" of same-sex marriage.

We all knew this moment was coming. The demographics can't be denied. Almost everyone younger than 30, and most people younger than 40, supports same-sex marriage. The country is changing -- in this case, in a very positive way -- and Obama was risking being on the wrong side of history. Even the Republicans seem to get that -- they're running away from this issue as fast as they can.

So now it's likely that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will have his way and the Democratic Party platform will have a same-sex marriage component. Romney will be on the defensive on a key social issue - a huge change from the past. The Supreme Court will be more likely to uphold Judge Vaughn Walker's decision on Prop. 8 (yes, the high court is political and changes with the norms of society, sometimes slowly, but the president's statement will have a clear impact.)

So this is huge -- not just because of the impact but because of what it says about the power of progressive movements. Now let's make the president raise taxes on the rich.

 

 

Comments

Obama guaged that perhaps a majority now support gay marriage and that will help him in November. Especially since he has no chance of winning in the places thats till hate gay marriage anyway.

But then again, if Obama wanted to be populist, why is he all over medical pot, which is considerably more popular than gay marriage?

Personally I think gay marriage is a simple states' rights issue. I see no disconnect with some states allowing gays to marry and some not. when in doubt, the feds should butt out.

Nice to see you putting in a good word for Newsom though, for once.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 10, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

Obama said that marriage is a state's rights issue, and obviously a lot of people agree with that. My question is this: can a state then decide that nobody is allowed to get married, gay or otherwise? Further, can it compel everybody to get married once they turn 18?

I think that what Obama did was for the most part a great thing, but I disagree that this can simply be thrown to the states to decide. I think that discrimination based on sexual orientation is every bit as perverse as discrimination based on sexual orientation, yet race matters get federal protection and sexual orientation ones don't?

Posted by DanO on May. 10, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

you have the answer to your other question. A driving license is widely regarded as a privilege issued at the discretion of a State. Is a marriage license any different? Why?

The rules for marriage already vary by State. Some allow marriage at a younger age than others. Some allow marriage to cousins; others do not.

So any attempt by the Feds to control that discretion would be a huge blow to the principle of States' Rights.

Where the Feds are entitled to have an opinion is about whether a gay couple can file jointly on a 1040. Or where one gay who is a US citizen can bring in a foreign spouse.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

I seem to recall reading something about a war that was fought once over "states' rights" to deny people their civil liberties, right here in America even!

Seriously, the f***ing "principle of states' rights"? You probably opposed Reconstruction, too.

Posted by TheHumanH on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:06 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

I don't think that getting married is a privilege, like a license to drive, I think it is a right. When somebody gets convicted of a felony, even after they serve their time, they still lose the right to vote, a right that we hold pretty freakin' near-and-dear to our hearts as Americans. But, even a person convicted of a felony does not lose their right to marry, either while still incarcerated or after they are out of the clink. In comparison, we as a society have put the right to marriage above the right to even vote. And while I think that the individual states should have their say as to how marriage is handled when it comes to matters like reasonable age restrictions, I also think that the federal government has a duty to protect people from being stripped of this right, and that in simply pushing this off to the states they are abrogating this duty.

(and for the record, I think that it is outrageous that convicts lose their right to vote)

Posted by DanO on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:14 am

that doesn't make driving a right. Most would agree that a driving license is a privilege - each State can make up their own rules for how you qualify for a DV.

So why is marriage different? Why can't each State make up their own rules for qualifying for marriage? And in fact they do, in terms of what age you have to be, and what type of cousin you can marry, and so on.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:24 am

that marriage has been consistently found to be a fundamental right by the Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia leaps to mind, but I know that there are others, I'm just a bit rusty in my Con Law), not just some privilige like driving a car. So while a state can apply standards and rules regarding this right, for a state to deprive someone of it that law should have to pass some serious Constitutional muster.

Posted by DanO on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:16 am

specifically outlaw same-sex marriage. SCOTUS has never over-ruled that and nobody else can.

I'd regard marriage as a privilege myself but accept that's highly subjective.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:36 am

...recognized in times of greater need. Ever try a same-sex divorce without marriage right protections? Thought not. Please, have a seat until your number gets called. We've VERY busy at the moment.

Posted by Michael R, District Five and still alive on May. 18, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

Given the fact that marriage is recognized in the U.S. with roughly 1,13
8 federal and between 350-100 state rights, depending on state - clearly, a no-brainer here. Equality or bust. States' 'rights' debaters have had the dubious distinction of defending idiotic, historic bigotry that has a dubious distinction at best. Marriage is an autonomous right for those who enter into it to decide what's best for themselves.

Posted by Michael R, District Five and still alive on May. 19, 2012 @ 12:02 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

Oh, that's right- it's only a flip-flop when a Republican changes his mind for the sake of political expediency.

Yes, the President supporting gay marriage is a good thing but let's not pretend this was an act of courage. He was backed into a corner - every Op-Ed on the coasts was imploring him to "evolve" already. His then current position was that he was against banning gay marriage (North Carolina) but he was not for gay marriage. How tenable was that...?

You're also naive to think this puts Romney "on the defensive." You are certainly correct that support widely skews with age but old people vote and young people do not. If his campaign were not backed up against a wall (Obama was looking ridiculous as a non-supporter of gay marriage), they would have waited until after the election.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

whites. 70% of blacks voted for Prop 13, outlawing gay marriage in California.

But then who else are blacks going to vote for anyway? Obama probably figured they have nowhere else to turn anyway.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

re: "70% of blacks voted for Prop 13 [sic]..."

You mean Prop H8, don't you? And, that old canard came from the LA Times which, btw, printed a retraction though not many many people caught it.

Posted by Michael R, District Five and still alive on May. 19, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

and it was also reported by CNN. I guess they were wrong too, huh?

Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

I remember the whole controversy, and later, more sophisticated analysis cast a lot of doubt on those early, off-the-cuff figures. But the media is lazy. When some meme finds it's way into mainstream discourse, it gets repeated and amplified.

It's one of those "Zombie lies that just won't die", like "Ross Perot caused Clinton to win."

Posted by Greg on May. 19, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

re: "70% of blacks voted for Prop 13 [sic]..."

You mean Prop H8, don't you? And, that old canard came from the LA Times which, btw, printed a retraction though not many many people caught it.

Posted by Michael R, District Five and still alive on May. 19, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

I am so thankful that Obama found it in his Kenyan anti-imperialist socialist communist statist Christian soul to get to a place that Dick Cheney was several years ago.

In fact, I am so thankful that Obama said that he supports same sex marriage laws but that it really is a matter best left to the states, that I'm going to give Obama a pass on the endless illegal wars, keeping Guantanamo open, not renegotiating NAFTA to include worker and enviro provisions, not passing EFCA, ENDA or a public option, giving banks cover on faulty mortgage recording, appointing Summers and Emmanuel and reappointing a Federal Reserve chair that will seemingly print an infinite amount of money to throw at the banks.

Posted by marcos on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

If you don't like Obama, you're going to hate every President.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

Yes, I'm going to hate every president, they should all be arrested, put on trial for war crimes and executed as the US did to the Germans and Japanese after WWII, from Jimmy Carter (East Timor, El Salvador) to Barack Obama (drone strikes).

Posted by marcos on May. 10, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

Meanwhile the rest of us are getting on with our lives. almost as if your tirade is irrelevant.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

Guest,

How exactly is what Marcos wrote "irrelevant"?

Posted by Michael W. on May. 10, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

presidents like Carter, clinton and Obama, then he probably will not like any president that the American people would elect.

There is no mandate in this country for a pacifist president, and one would never win.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 5:52 am

and treasure for engaging in unjust wars holds the knowledge and the power to stop it, we will have a peace-loving president; by which I mean democracy.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 9:11 am

than those who shirk from conflict.

Carter was seen as a weak president partly because he would not engage Iran. While Presidents as diverse as JFK and Bush were seen as strong Presidents for taking forceful action.

A big part of why Gore lost in 2000 was because he was perceived as some sort of wishy-washy pacifist.

Sorry, dude, but America doesn't do pacifism outside of a few college towns.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 9:26 am

to be a strong and courageous leader and you get: 1.) silence, 2.) a peeved look, and/or 3.) the facts being called irrelevant.

Posted by Michael W. on May. 10, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

What Obama did was political bullshit. Meaningless political bullshit.

Quote: So Obama's "evolution" from a foe to a supporter of same-sex marriage deserves tremendous praise. End Quote

It was purely a contrived, political maneuver. No praise deserved or merited.

Only the gullible sheeple and D-party line believers fall for this. He needed *something* to make him *appear* differently than Romney because most of Obama's policies are to the right of Bush. How "interesting" (not really) that during an election year Obama conveniently "evolves," (LOL!), but ONLY to those states where same-gender marriage is legal. So for the rest of the states, to hell with you and your same-gender marriage.

It's too bad that Obama hasn't "evolved" when it comes to ending the wars/occupations and his addiction to wars, ending torture, ending rendition, ending illegal spying, ending droning (he just killed 5 children the other day), ending the USA "Patriot Act" and ending his ties to the corporatist plutocracy. And I could go and on with a much longer list of his terrible Bush-like policies. No, Obama hasn't "evolved" on anything else, just this issue....during an election year.

This political move is as contrived as the "hope and change we can believe in" marketing BS he used during his first campaign (which the sheeple fell for), and we see how well that worked out. But one can go ahead and fall for this too. Sheep.

He's trying to buy GLBTQ votes. Period. That's all it's about, and it looks like it's going to work the way some people are gushing over him because of ONE *contrived* issue and ignoring the rest of his despicable policies.

The sheeple keep voting in the same corporatist politicians over and over and expecting something different in policies.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

"Questioning?" Is that really a sexuality or a protected class? What about two-spirited people?

Posted by Troll II on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

Why the "L" when "G" for "Gay" embraces both men and women anyway?

What does "Q" for "Queer" add to "Gay"?

And many trannies are not gay at all, but straight.

The whole thing is messed up.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

Obama has "evolved" from a former constitutional law professor to signing provisions that crush the law of the land:

ACLU trashes Obama over indefinite detention and torture act
http://rt.com/usa/news/obama-detention-ndaa-aclu-303/

"One week after the president did ink the legislation, some of Obama’s old pals are saying they are in disbelief over how a former constitutional law professor could agree to such provisions that crush the law of the land."

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

such as you describe. In fact, the silent majority voted for him precisely because they rocognized that he was not too extreme.

If you thought he was going to turn this country upside down, you don't understand either this country nor its people.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

Tim and others at the Guardian are of the mindset that the misnamed "Democrats" have to be pushed to do something. It's the same outdated mentality as, "we need to work within the Democratic party to shift it to the left." Oh give it a rest! Sure. Right. That's happened with this guy Obama and the Democrats so many times! Ugh. The fact is: Since 2000, the "Democrats" have been moving steadily to the right despite all the "pushing" they have supposedly received from the so-called "progressives" and "progressive movement." Then when a neocon corporatist politician does something like this to buy votes and get money from a group of people and their supporters, Tim and others naively say: See, this shows the "Democrats" needed a push to do the correct thing, when actually it shows nothing of the kind. It shows that these corporatist politicians will do whatever they have to do---it has nothing to do with being "pushed"---to buy votes from some people each election. In their corrupt minds, the ends justify the means.

But why do these politicians need to be pushed? And what exactly has Obama done in this instance? Nothing. All he did was to make a statement about same-gender marriage. Caramba! And people get all excited over another empty Obama statement. If the "Democrats" were "all that," they would go in the "progressive" direction all on their own. They would need no "pushing." Why wouldn't they go there on their own without "evolving," or any other BS words these corporatists want to use to justify buying votes and getting suckers to send them money?...which is all this is about.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

So more comes out on this:

Obama was *hastened* into an endorsement of same-gender marriage:

Obama campaign tries to capitalize on marriage issue
http://www.mercurynews.com/nation-world/ci_20598561/obama-campaign-tries...

"WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden apologized to President Barack Obama for hastening him into an endorsement of same-sex marriage, several people briefed on the exchange said Thursday, even as the White House sought to capitalize on Obama's long-awaited expression of support....Biden expressed regret for a statement endorsing same-sex marriage that went considerably further than the president's views on the matter and scrambled the White House's calculation for confronting the charged social issue."

Translation: Purely political. Obama was not sincere in his endorsement. Do what you have to do to clean up this mess. The VP has already endorsed same-gender marriage, but you (Obama) haven't. Get out there and endorse it now.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

You dopes buy this bulls hi t. You are so gullible.What exactly has Obama done for gays in 4 years?

Keep drinking the Kool Aid this lying community organizer feeds you, zombies.

Posted by Mememe on May. 11, 2012 @ 2:28 am

not defending DOMA in court and allowing gays in the military kinda leap to mind.

Posted by DanO on May. 11, 2012 @ 9:55 am

Nor can a US gay man get his overseas spouse into the US thru legal immigration.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:08 am

That is not something that Obama can just change- rule of law.

Posted by Dnative on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:19 am
Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:37 am

Obama does not give a damn about the "rule of law" if you read/comprehended the information at the link above about him crushing the rule of law (as a former constitutional professor).

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

ACLU trashes Obama over indefinite detention and torture act
http://rt.com/usa/news/obama-detention-ndaa-aclu-303/

"One week after the president did ink the legislation, some of Obama’s old pals are saying they are in disbelief over how a former constitutional law professor could agree to such provisions that crush the law of the land."

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

Oh wonderful, more fodder for the military industrial complex and the PNAC agenda. Now people can say they are gay and can still go kill innocent (brown) people around the world for the Empire's lies/agenda of stealing other people's oil and other natural resources.

Gays were already allowed in the military, they just couldn't say they were gay.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

Jason Grant Garza here ...

Here is a comment from Doug Terpstra from commondreams.org from an article entitled: "Hope and Hesitation in Obama's Sudden Conversion" that pretty much states REALITY and the INCONVENIENT TRUTH" that NO ONE wants to see ... the quote is:

"Obama's rhetoric has become a relaible indicator of opposite intent:

A public option is essential...
I will close Gitmo...
...end torture, release Abu Ghraib files
...most open, transparent admin in history...
...pursue diplomacy with Iran...
...fat cats...
...end billionaire's tax cuts...
...support unions...
...renegotiate NAFTA...
...end Cuban embargo...
...help homeowners facing foreclosure
...investigate, prosecute fraudclosure cirmes
...Palestinian peace process top priority
...etc., etc., etc.

Thus the lesser-evil, wolf in sheep's clothing, kills with impunity. Obama's post-[s]election agenda undoubtedly includes Social Security, Medicare, and war on Iran. Some are willfully blind --- a small measure of comfort."

Any more questions ... BLIND SHEEP ??? Remember ... HOPE and CHANGE ???

Or maybe, fool me once - shame on you ... fool me twice - shame on me.

Maybe we should ask the INNOCENT in GUANTANAMO exactly what Mr. Obama's WORDS mean? Ha, Ha, Ha ... however, don't worry ... there are plenty of IGNORANT sheep for him to get re-elected ...

Let me remind you of what a famous GAY person said ... Oscar Wilde ... basically, that he could NOT wait to LIVE to see the DAY when ALL Politicians were STRANGLED with the ENTRAILS of every PRIEST.

Let us NOT forget how UN-ACCOUNTABLE these two lots are. Any more questions ???

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:08 am

Gainful employment that pays a living wage is essential to survival. As much as the President protests, Mitt is right. It is about the economy, because that is how we feed ourselves. When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, or where you will spend the night, when bill collectors hound your every waking moment,thats when idealist notions take a back seat to simply existing. The facts are that employment, our nation’s debt, fuel costs and our housing market is weaker than when Obama took office. His party had the Congress his first two years. How many "Shovel Ready Jobs" did the tax payer get for our $850 billion dollar investment?

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 7:52 am

Damned hater!

And, as a minor note of biological correction for the editors: evolution is best defined as an organism's adaptation to environmental stressors [in a given niche - to be more specific]. It wasn't the "brightest porchlights on the block" [thank you, Molly Ivins] or the strongest who'd survive, but those who are best at change.

Let 'change' not become another hollow slogan by an empty suit, dear Universe. Please! "Now, watch that blubber fly!" - Homer Simpson.

Posted by Michael R, District Five and still alive on May. 19, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

"Keep your eye on the three shells. President Obama promises not to back down on his promise to raise personal income taxes on the rich. Several leading CEOs, including Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman-Sachs, say they will happily pay higher income taxes if government cuts spending and introduces personal and corporate tax reform. And the big business-backed Campaign to Fix the Debt, whose CEOs met with Obama, are pushing a tax reform proposal that would exempt American corporations from paying any tax at all on their overseas income. Under which shell will we find the big money?

"The CEO Campaign to 'Fix' the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks" gives the shell game away. Published by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a left-leaning Washington think tank (whose founders I worked with politically in the 1960s), the report reveals just how much money the globe-trotting corporations stand to gain - and how much lost revenue ordinary taxpayers and small businesses will have to make up.

"As the IPS report explains, the CEOs who back Fix the Debt personally saved $41 million last year from the Bush tax cuts. Consider that a rough estimate of what it might cost them if Obama fulfills his promise and does away with the tax cuts for those making over $250,000.

"But that's small beer for the CEOs. "The 63 Fix the Debt companies that are publicly held stand to gain as much as $134 billion in windfalls" if Congress exempts them from paying taxes on overseas income by changing to what is called a territorial tax system. That is, companies would be liable to pay taxes only on income earned within the territory of the United States.

"Corporate lobbies began pushing for this multi-billion dollar "reform" long before debts and deficits became their rallying cry..."

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/14987-focus-is-obama-play...

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

rates coupled with some spending cuts and streamlining of corporate tax - US corporate tax is elvied at 40%, the highest level in the west and twice the rate of socialist countries like England.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

The problem is, few corporations pay the taxes they should be paying. Many pay NO taxes at all. They have figured out all kinds of tax dodges from squirreling their money away in the Cayman Islands, deferrals and a ridiculously low tax on hedge funds, etc. "Streamlining of corporate tax", as you put it, is really about making it easier for corporations to dodge all responsibility for paying their fair share of taxes.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

corporations will use offshore banks etc. when you have the highest corporate tax rates in the western world.

High taxes means higher evasion and so less revenues. Google Laffer.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

ownership of the means of production, which is not the case in England. Then again, you probably think that Obama is a socialist.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 12, 2012 @ 8:55 pm