Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Question for Liberals

Just checking -- everyone assumes that clear support for same-sex marriage, no hedging in any way, will be mandatory for all Democratic WH 2016 candidates, correct?

Bonus question, since that one (I assume) is fairly dull: give me the date that Barack Obama officially flips his position.

27 comments:

  1. October 3 2013. That's his 22nd wedding anniversary, and it's after the 2012 election, before the midterms, but not so close to the midterms that the cable news circus will still be ongoing when people vote.

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  2. I think it's going to be mandatory. There will likely be a fresh slate of Democratic faces, and it's quite possible it will include governors like Andrew Cuomo and Martin O'Malley who were actively involved in the fight for legalizing gay marriage. If Hillary or Biden is in the mix, I bet they'll flip too. Come to think of it, they'll probably flip regardless of whether they enter the race or not. It will be interesting to watch which pols jump on this bandwagon and which don't.

    My prediction on when Obama will flip? Nov. 7, 2012. (I don't mean that literally of course, but I suspect it won't be that long after Election Day or perhaps the end of his first term. It takes time to evolve, man!)

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  3. Hedging on marriage equality will still occur, however, no one will be openly against it. Other gay rights issues will be brought up front and center: implementation of DADT repeal, changes in immigration policy and hospital visitations, for examples.

    Barack Obama will finally evolve right after the election.

    He knows that "teh gays" have nowhere else to go, and it's not like he's done nothing for them. Hopefully, they will understand that because they took control of their own destinies, going after 50 states individually, they have forced many minds in this nation to open.

    Rights really cannot be granted. They must be asserted.

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  4. Obviously no one with a Santorum position on gay equality is going to run for the Democratic nomination. But if you are asking whether a nuanced/muddled, "we don't have to set a land speed record" approach will be fatal to a Democratic presidential hopeful, I'm not certain it will be. Especially using the "party decides" methodology, or my imperfect understanding of it, not necessarily seeing how the money dries up or the party actors all shun such a candidate. Probably there are too many other variables to say for sure.

    E.g.: it's possible that the Republicans will double down on the bigotry, causing the contrast between them and the Dems to be more striking than that among the Dem field. Then a go-slow position would be tenable for a Democrat. OTOH, if the Republicans are feeling confident, and want to run a "uniter, not a divider" campaign, hoping to downplay the issue of gay equality with a civil union/go slow approach, then the Dem will have to distinguish him/herself with more emphatic support for gay marriage (obviously all the preceding assumes that Obama is re-elected this year; completely different considerations obtain if he loses).

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  5. I think you'll see some guys running in the '16 primaries who want to equivocate on the issue- a Schweitzer or a Warner, say, who will decry that we have to talk about divisive social issues at all. But the winner will be someone openly supporting gay marriage, and the governors who have had success with gay marriage- Cuomo and presumably O'Malley- will start out with a leg up.

    I think if Obama loses, he'll come out for gay marriage during transition. He still wants to be known as the first President to support gay marriage. If he wins, it'll be sometime in 2013. I like the idea of his wedding date, but the actual answer will be at some point when the temperature of the debate on social issues is low.

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  6. I know that question day is over, but I wanted to ask you about Ron Paul's delegate strategy. I have read in various places that he is exploiting process rules in the caucuses to earn more delegates than he actually should have. What is going on here? Is this something that has any potential significance as we head towards the convention?

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  7. I agree that personal support for gay marriage will essentially be a litmus test for Democratic candidates for President by 2016 – IF President Obama wins re-election. If he wins, then the general Democratic point of view on a number of issue will be validated, and I think the current momentum for gay marriage at the state level will continue, and the debate in 2016 on the Democratic side will be over what if anything the federal government should do about gay marriage, from repealing DOMA (I think it will be a few years before we have a House and 60 Senators ready to vote for that) to appointing gay-marriage friendly judges to perhaps a constitutional amendment. If he loses, then Republicans will control Washington and the majority of state governments for the next 2-4 years, the general Republican point of view on a number of issues will be validated, I think there will be some pressure on Democrats to move to the right on many issues including gay marriage, and I could picture an anti-gay marriage politician being a serious contender for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

    I think Obama will announce his support for gay marriage sometime after the election. I suspect his support from the gay community is pretty solid after DADT repeal, etc. - he doesn't need to shore that up. Public opinion is moving toward gay marriage but certainly isn't solidly in support of it just yet. He will be focused on appealing to Hispanics and blue collar whites, and announcing support of gay marriage isn’t consistent with that goal.

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    1. Hey in terms of an Obama loss validating the GOP and forcing Dems rightward, does that not depend somewhat on the state of the nation after conservative governance? If the economy still struggles, or if austerity kicks in too soon and drags on the recovery, or something dangerous like an Italy default occurs, would Democrats really feel compelled to move to the right?

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  8. If you mean repealing DOMA and replacing it with requiring the Feds, including DOD, and states to recognize for all purposes marriages contracted in other states, then I disagree, particularly if exit polls show that African-American and Latino voters start to see it as a key issue. Watch what happens in the MD state elections this year.

    Assuming Obama is reelected and Congress is close, I think he'll announce personal support after 2014 midterm elections.

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  9. I don't really have a good answer, so I'm just going to be boring and say 2013 SOTU.

    I think perhaps the more interesting question is when will support for or at least acceptance of same-sex marriage be mandatory for all Republican WH candidates.

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    1. Well I suppose I should have read the Sunday Question for Conservatives before proposing this novel question.

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  10. When Obama finally does come out in favor of gay marriage, I don't think it will be an out-of-the-blue event. Probably sometime before the 2014 mid-terms he make the move, but it will be prompted by some push the Republicans are making to roll back gay rights victories somewhere. I get the impression that Obama wants to look like he was forced into taking his ultimate stance on marriage equality, rather than him looking like he's trying to "jam it down the throats" of people or "waging war on religion" as he's likely to be charged.

    This sort of maneuver is still not unequivocal support of gay rights per se, but rather something closer to preventing them from being treated like 2nd class citizens, is designed to pave the way for conservative Dems to follow the president's path over on this issue. Ultimately equivocation on the issue will be fine for democrats as long as the conclusion is still essentially the same policy choice as those on the leading edge of the issue.

    So in 2016 I think it will be fine for a Schweitzer sort of Democrat to be an acceptable choice with a libertarian-esk justification of gay rights, just as long as he arrives at basically the same position as a Quomo.

    While some in the gay community still (understandably and justifiably) protest the slow pace of change, the movement as a whole is starting to see the benefits of the accumulation of small changes pushing the country inevitable toward their goals.

    I think it wont be until the Republicans moderate their stance on gay rights that the Dems can move to the unequivocal support of the gay rights agenda you're talking about. And I think the Republicans are at least 8 years away from there.

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  11. everyone assumes that clear support for same-sex marriage, no hedging in any way, will be mandatory for all Democratic WH 2016 candidates, correct?

    It certainly is in my book. And since the GOP has ramped up the culture wars, let's add in there unwavering support for women's reproductive rights, including access to birth control, the right to a safe and legal abortion should a woman choose, and -- this, unbelievably, I'm forced to say after seeing Rick Santorum come out against the procedure on this morning's Face The Nation -- access to a freaking amniocentesis if she and her doctor deem it necessary.

    Cripes. The right has moved so far to the edge that stuff we once took for granted ("Amniocentesis -- GOOD! Murdering abortion providers -- BAD!") has to be codified in a party platform.

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  12. Sometime after November 2016 when it won't hurt either his own re-election chances, his party's chances in the 2014 mid-terms, or his successor's chances of winning in 2016.

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  13. I think it is highly likely the 2016 Dem nominee supports marriage equality. I'm not sure if someone like Sen. Mark Warner (the Evan Bayh of 2016) presently supports same-sex marriage, but the current will drag such candidates towards equality. I think a muddled middle position will be possible, though improbable

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  14. I'll go with January 2015. Post-all elections, but almost as far away from 2016 as possible.

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  15. I don't think it's a given, although it would be unusual for a serious contender to take a different position. Some nuance as discussed above would be reasonable, but I just think it's unlikely - no one wants to fight this battle in a Democratic primary.

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  16. I don't think Obama flips his position at all, by the way.

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    1. Why not? You think his "I'm evolving" shtick in the last several months is just a feint?

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    2. I don't think it's important to him, either personally or politically. And I think he would find it a helpful contribution to the cause to draw some heat on it so that a 2016 successor could take the "bold new stand".

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    3. When he says, "I'm evolving," it's pretty clear to me he's either preparing himself for a flip or pretending to do so.

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  17. I'll throw June 2013 out. I'm guessing that will be around the time the Supreme Court decides on the Prop 8 lawsuit.

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  18. I call October 3 2012. I like the idea of syncing up with his wedding anniversary, and if the economy is a losing issue for him he'll need to change the topic of conversation.

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  19. If Obama feels the need to "flip" his position (which I doubt), I strongly suspect it will be after the midterm elections in 2014. If it happens, I'd say rough 2 weeks after the midterms conclude.

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    1. that makes no sense. why would he wait until such time as the switch would have no political value? i.e. in driving base turnout for the midterms.

      i agree he won't switch, but if he does it would be during the run-up to the 2014 midterms, not in the aftermath.

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  20. An interesting question—really two questions: I think the question of it being "mandatory" for Dems in 16 depends on demographics and polling: the problem is that it is almost entirely a question of generations. Younger voters have few problems with it, even in states like Alabama—but younger voters don't vote nearly as much as older voters do, and (as someone mentioned earlier), African Americans and Latinos don't approve in the same numbers as Asians and Caucasians do. I expect we will have at least some candidates who say "it must change now," and some who have some wiggle room ("I personally support it, but recognize that it's controversial…").

    After the 2014 midterms, Obama has virtually nothing to lose by saying "I have undergone a long examination of my conscience, and prayed many times, and have concluded that marriage inequality must not stand." Before the midterms, I think only if the timing is right, or if the issue continues to snowball.

    All of this would be changed by a Supreme Court decision confirming that every US citizen has an equal right to state-sanctioned marriage, which could come sooner. If it looks like it's going to be the law of the land, why not get behind it enthusiastically, rather than reluctantly? As an issue for the right, btw, it's really losing its luster. It fires up the aging base, but alienates the next generation of potential GOP voters. At some point—soon—it will be GOP candidates who are hedging by saying "I personally am not opposed to it, but I understand…"

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  21. a strong candidate will still be able to contend in 2016 without embracing full marriage equality, but it will be a big drag on their campaign. similar to HRC and her Iraq War vote.

    BHO will not publically switch his marriage position while in office for the simple reason that no bill will arrive on his desk which forces the issue, so why expend the political capital?

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