Thursday, May 24, 2012

How the Evolution of Barack Obama Hurt Homosexuals

The recent change in his public stance on gay marriage has earned the president the unwarranted praise of many in the gay community lately. After months of campaigning as a candidate who believed marriage was strictly reserved to one man and one woman, the newly elected president immediately began his peculiar "evolution" on the issue. No one believed he didn't support gay marriage. Everyone assumed, however, he would endorse the political hot potatoe after the November elections. That is, until Vice President Biden forced his hand.

In the wake of the president's (very odd) announcement, gay rights groups and gay marriage advocates rallied around the newly annointed leader of the movement. This included the HRC, who endorsed Mr. Obama's reelection one year ago  while he was still an opponent of gay marriage and was vigorously defending DOMA and DADT in federal court. What virtually no one has bothered to mention is that Mr. Obama's political maneuvering on this issue has hurt the homosexual community's efforts for equal protection at least as much as and arguably more than any anti-gay campaign.

North Carolina offers good evidence of the damage done by Mr. Obama's opportunism. On May 8, 2012, North Carolinians voted to ban gay marriage in that state. The very next day President Obama announced his support. Since that announcement, opposition to gay marriage in the black community has seen a sharp decline. After months of supporting gay marriage at a rate of only about 41%, the black community now supports it by nearly 60%. And nationwide the trend has been the same since his announcement according to the Washington Post. Is the black community turning into an important ally of gay rights after years of voting in opposition? You tell me. But all signs point to yes as, like night turns into day, the NAACP endorsed gay marriage just ten days after Obama's policy shift, calling it a "civil right" issue.

Here's the million dollar question: Would 29 states have banned gay marriage by now if President Obama had had the courage to tell the American people the truth more than two weeks ago? Would states like California, North Carolina and Maryland have banned gay marriage if the president weren't a weak, opportunistic grand stander who preferred to use gay Americans as pawns instead of standing by them as fellow citizens and decent human beings?

The answer is increasingly apparent. No, they wouldn't have. President Obama does not deserve our praise. As in every other instance of his presidency, Barack Obama has failed to lead on an important and divisive issue. And, as usual, the cost was paid by those Americans who trusted him to bring about hope and change.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Obama Gets Only 60% of Vote Against...Nobody

It must have been a cold night last night at the White House as the president and his campaign bosses watched polls roll in from the Arkansas and Kentucky Democrat primaries. My post yesterday detailed my advice to the Romney campaign and called for optimism among the Republican party faithful. The results of yesterday's two primaries are good evidence that there is great reason for optimism.

Just weeks ago, the president was able to scrape together 60 percent of the vote against a convicted felon currently serving a prison sentence in Texas. Embarrassing, sure. But at least until yesterday this strange event might have been written off as an anomoly by the campaign's talking heads. Unfortunately for President Barry, red flags are popping up all over the south. In a two way race in Arkansas the president was still only able to earn 60 percent of the vote against his obscure opponent. For perspective, Mitt Romney won his four-way race in that primary with nearly 70 percent of the vote against three well known opponents.

But none of that is as pleasing than the results of the Kentucky primary where Mr. Obama again clawed his way to 60 percent of the vote, losing 4 in 10 voters to...nobody. In the blue grass state, Democrat primary voters preferred "uncommitted" 4 out of 10 times. Does the fact that these are southern states that would probably vote Republican in November anyway make the outcome any more comforting? They certainly shouldn't. While each of these three states did, in fact, vote Republican in 2008, there are three other southern states that Obama won in 2008 (Florida, Virginia and North Carolina) that could be in play if yeterday's primaries are signs of growing unrest among southern Democrats.

In Florida, where the president won by just 3 points in 2008, the latest poll now shows Mitt Romney leading by six points, due in no small part to the president's recent "evolution" on gay marriage. And in North Carolina, where Mr. Obama won with only 50 percent of the vote four years ago and the DNC plans to hold its nominating convention this year, the state party has been plagued by recent scandal, casting doubt on the president's hopes of building on his 2008 lead.

All of this should give hope to conservative voters who have convinced themselves that Barack Obama isn't beatable this year. The rumors are false. Mitt Romney can win. Indeed, in this political and economic environment, he has no excuse for losing.

Stay the Course, Mitt

Despite the worried grumblings of some dissatisied Republican primary voters, Mitt Romney's chances of winning the general election this November should give GOPers plenty of optimism. It is, after all, hard to imagine a better scenario to take on an incumbent president. The economy is lagging, unemployment is high, the president's approval numbers are low and the deficit and our national debt is astronomical. The only concern the party faithful should now have in its presumptive nominee is his proven ability to agitate the left and their allies in the media with his occassional offhanded and completely unconscious references to his wealth. This election should be an easy win. However, a victory in November will require a great deal of discipline on the part of Governor Romney and his campaign.

The message this election cycle is simple, and it's borrowed from the left's very own Ragin' Cajun, James Carville: "It's the economy, stupid". Of course, it is. And with little hope that President Obama and his henchmen in the Democrat led Senate will do anything to improve the economy, there can be found little reason for Mr. Romney to talk about much of anything else.

Do not expect that to deter the talking heads from the other side of the aisle or their cheerleaders on the network evening news. Since the beginning of the primary season viewers have been subjected to stories on Mitt Romney's travel habits with his pets, his friends in Nascar, his work as a successful businessman, a mass murder committed 150 years ago and, most recently, his wife's hobby of riding horses. The media found the expenses incurred by that last bit to be newsworthy. Go figure. These, of course, are distractions meant to knock the governor off message. If they succeed, the president will ride the wave of these meaningless stories into a second term.

But that depends on the good governor, who, thus far has managed a campaign focused squarely on the economy and job creation. But one issue has resurfaced that may cause Romney to stumble. When the gaffe prone Vice President forced President Obama to admit he supports gay marriage, a contentios and contemporary issue was resurrected in the American electoral consciousness. Mr. Romney was thus forced to restate his position on gay marriage; a position growing less and less popular as the months and years roll by. And, as required, he restated his position and left it at that.

Wrong answer, Mr. Romney. Nevermind the conservative principles underlying anyone's support of gay marriage. The correct answer to that question was, "I still support marriage between one man and one woman. But the fact is gay people are living in this economy too. Gay people are standing in unemployment lines right next to straight people. I want to put all Americans back to work. That is my focus as president." Instead of making his economic message resonate with gay and lesbian Americans, Mr. Romney allowed himself to be dragged into a hotly debated social issue. While he cannot afford to not comment on the president's "evolution" on the issue, he also cannot afford to allow himself to be blown off message because of the Vice President's big mouth.

You're doing fine, Mitt. Just stay the course.