Sunday, December 21, 2008
...At least that’s the case for Gays and Lesbians who overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for President. Here is a group who loved the former Senator and had hope that he would be an advocate for their rights, even though he was not an all out supporter of “marriage” as a title or as a matter of Government law.
The dustup over Pastor Rick Warren being chosen to participate in Obama’s inaugural ceremony is the latest sign of discontent among Obama’s base. Here is another segment of Progressives who feel betrayed.
Some believe that this was a good move for Obama, because it will pay off in the long run. By triangulating early to get more evangelical support, he will have more latitude to get the kind of legislation he wants from the House and especially the Senate. I’m not so sure that this was a good move. It’s another example of Obama overcompensating in order to widen his appeal. Does he believe that in 2012, he will be able to count on the support of all those he is betraying…. Progressives, Liberal Democrats, Gays & Lesbians, etc? Does he believe that he will be able to gain enough support from Conservatives and Red State Evangelicals by 2012 to make up for the loss of support from many within his own base? Or perhaps he believes that because of the current economic situation, no one is really paying attention to these other issues of “principle” and the fact that he is already going back on many of the campaign promises he made.
I’m not so sure that he can count on Evangelical Conservatives, and traditional Red State Republicans making up for the possible weakening of his own base. Obama runs the risk of having Gays and Lesbians, Liberal Democrats, and Progressives….even a few independents, staying home in 2012. This is especially the case if he doesn’t fix the economy. If he has a lot of failures over the next 4 years, one thing he could rely on would be the loyalty from his base… but he seems to be cashing those chips in early for a Centrist/Right of Center gamble.
I am no staunch supporter of Gay marriage….at least not as a title. Although I believe that there should be Domestic Partnership rights and Federal laws protecting Gays and Lesbians. Now if Gays & Lesbians want to have private ceremonies of their own…they can call it what they want. But I won’t argue that point here…whether Gay marriage is right or wrong. What I want to point out is that I am annoyed that a man could so easily abandon those who have given him so much support and could so easily & quickly abandon principles for the sake of political expediency. That’s bothersome to me.
Rick Warren is a man who was a strong supporter of Proposition 8, the referendum outlawing Gay marriage in California. But in addition to that, Warren has made troubling comments about the Gay and Lesbian community, likening those in that lifestyle to criminals, and child rapists. I understand Obama’s attempts to reach out….but it’s how far he is willing to reach, and how contorted he is willing to get, for his own political benefit that is so troublesome. Even a man who is willing to reach out should be anchored by at least some core principles. Abe Lincoln had them, and Obama is using (at least in part) Lincoln’s reaching out as a basis for his attempt to build a good Cabinet. Reagan also had these core Principles. As did Kennedy, MLK, Mandela, and FDR. All of the great leaders of the past Century were anchored by certain core values and these values typically weren’t for sale. Is this something that Obama is misunderstanding about great leaders and coalition builders…that there are certain values that you should try to avoid abandoning, as well as people you shouldn’t want to abandon?
From what I understand, there were many other Pastors who could have been considered for the inaugural invocation…. Moderate Conservative Pastors who could have accomplished what Obama wanted to accomplish by placating both of the Constituencies that Obama should have been concerned with. Instead, he offended one…and is perceived by some as abandoning one constituency for another.
Yes, this may help Obama in the long run politically… but at the risk of alienating entire segments of the American populace. He runs the risk of looking like a man who is almost too calculating and someone who few will want to trust. When he needs the Progressive vote in 2012 it may be a harder sell. I doubt that the new Republican voters he is campaigning for now will be willing to vote for him in 4 years.
It’s another Obama gamble… in what is becoming a long list of gambles. I have a hard time believing that all of these moves will turn out as he planned.