As many had long expected, President Obama finally made his true feelings on same-sex marriage known in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday. Obama specifically stated that “it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” Within minutes of this announcement, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and statements from political allies praised the president for showing “courage” by coming out and making his support public. News alert: What Obama did doesn’t show “courage”; it reveals cowardice.
Can this “evolution” actually be considered an act of courage? No, it cannot. An act of courage would have been him coming out in support of same-sex marriage in 2004 when he ran for the U.S. Senate or gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. An act of courage would have been him coming out in support of same-sex marriage in 2007 when he announced his run for the presidency in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln gave his “House Divided” speech. An act of courage would have been him coming out in support of same-sex marriage in 2008 when he gave his acceptance speech after he won his party’s presidential nomination. It would even have been slightly more courageous if he had come out in support of same-sex marriage last week, before North Carolina voted on its amendment to ban same-sex marriage, because he may have actually made a difference.
The decision for Obama to come out in support of gay marriage is nothing but politics, pure and simple. President Obama did not have an epiphany over the last few days. Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth while appearing on “Meet the Press” on Sunday by admitting he supports marriage between people of the same sex. Biden’s mistake was not that he supported that position, but that he introduced this hot-button topic to the mainstream and forced his boss into a corner. Remember: No one puts Barack in a corner! Damage control was incompetently attempted by the White House, but in the end the president had two clear choices. Option A was to remain in “evolution” mode until after the election, come out in support of it afterwards, and enrage his political base. Option B was to announce that he finally supports gay marriage, bite the bullet now to get it over with, and alienate some swing voters and culturally conservative Hispanics and African Americans who normally would support him. Obviously, Team Obama decided that Option B was the lesser of two evils.
The issue is not same-sex marriage. The issue is that the president of the United States is playing petty politics. Barack Obama supported gay marriage in 1996, opposed it in 2004, opposed it in 2008, and now supports it in 2012. Mitt Romney has long been accused of being a flip-flopper on many issues and not having core beliefs, but what exactly does this show about President Obama? Well, for one, it shows he is one hell of a political acrobat. More importantly, it shows us that he will do or say anything to win re-election. Same-sex marriage has fervent supporters and fervent detractors, all from different backgrounds and walks of life. What should alarm both supporters and detractors of gay marriage is the fact that Barack Obama supported it, opposed it, and now supports it again. Where will the winds take him next?
Pat McMahon is The Daily Caller’s deputy director of communications.