Saturday, May 12, 2012

How To Energize The Right

Doing the right thing is a sure-fire method.

I don't think these people understand the difference between "I personally support same-sex marriage" and "I will make it illegal to be heterosexual." They're already out dancing around their totem poles and sticking pins into their Obama effigies.

Personally, I wish the Prez had kept his opinion on the DL until next year or so. I'm afraid this is going to make things tough in some crucial swing states. NC is off the table now, I expect and for example. Obama winning in November is much, much more important than any single issue, and certainly much more important than the President expressing a legally irrelevant opinion on this one issue. Bad move, on the face of it and IMHO.

I mean, it's great in principle. But damn...

Also, for purposes of national unity--something we must still think of even if our temporarily insane friends across the aisle do not--I'd prefer to see a push for civil unions first. Civil unions are good for lots of reasons. Take JQ and me for example. We are skeptical of the institution of marriage and cantankerous enough that we elect to buck social pressure to get hitched...not, I guess, that there's really much of that anymore... But no marriage means no benefits like free health insurance for JQ. We'd jump at a civil union--something scrupulously non-religious, and something that gave us plausible deniability about having caved in to The Man. It's win-win!

Civil unions would give same-sex couples all the tangible benefits of marriage without stirring up quite as much insanity in the fever swamps. It's a nice compromise...that isn't really a compromise. It's everything important about marriage, just without the word.

Ah, well. I hope I'm wrong, and we'll have to see what Nate Silver and co. say, of course, but it's hard for the casual observer not to be depressed about this development however much one might favor SSM. It's a good cause, but not even close to being worth losing this election over.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's great that Obama took a thoughtful stand on one side of a somewhat divisive issue. It makes a great reminder that whatever else he is, he's not a trimmer like Romney.

4:32 PM  
Blogger matthew christman said...

I disagree. Obama was looking at a dispirited, unengaged base and, thanks to Wall Street hostility to his election-year rhetoric, a much smaller pool of campaign donation $$. Declaring in favor of gay marriage re-energized his base as much as, if not more than, it invigorates the Christian conservatives and, more importantly, it ensures a gush of entertainment industry donations (see him raking in 15 million bucks at the Clooney dinner the day after the interview). States like Indiana and North Carolina, which he won by razor thin margins and against fifty years of precedent, were never really in play for 2012 anyway.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I agree with the principle, mac, I just worry about the practicalities.

I hope you're right, Matthew. I just don't see how any effect this might have on liberals can counterbalance the effect on the right...not to mention among blacks. Maybe the right is so anti-Obama already that this won't matter much... I'm sure the Obama team has already wargamed this out...

8:38 AM  
Blogger matthew christman said...

You'll be able to count the number of black people who vote for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama because of gay marriage on one hand. Anti-gay groups have been trying to oust the DC councilmen who legalized gay marriage in the district w/ pretty much no success. Black support for gay marriage trails white support, but black opponents of gay marriage generally do not rate the issue highly at all.

2:51 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Yeah, I gotta say, I really don't see this adversely impacting the election for Obama very severely, if at all.

Basically, we're only concerned with people who would shape their votes based upon gay rights. We have three kinds of people to think about here:

1) Those voting for Obama prior to his announcement.
2) Those voting against Obama prior to his announcement.
3) Those undecided.

Regarding group 1, I can't see any substantial cause for a massive change in position. Obama had already refused to enforce DOMA and had removed DADT. People know he's pro-gay-rights. This announcement does not change that.

Likewise, of group 2, I can't see much reason for a change. As said above, he already made large moves for gay rights. Who is going to think that a refusal to enforce DOMA and a repeal of DADT would be cool, but a non-legal issuance of opinion in favor of gay marriage is too far?

Of group 3, my guess is that more people will be energized in favor of Obama rather than against, since most independents who could feasibly vote for him seem to dislike him out of a concern for capitulation to republican desires. This certainly rebukes that position.

I really find it hard to believe there's anyone left voting for Obama who thinks gay marriage shouldn't be permissible by law. I do, however, think there are some people who have become (wrongfully) disenchanted with Obama who may respond to a landmark moment in history provided by the President.

What do you think?

12:53 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Well, I really hope everybody here is right, but I remain skeptical.

I think he should have waited to see how the polls were shaking out after the conventions. If he was winning, let it alone until after the election. If he was losing and could clearly benefit from shaking up the race, then make the announcement.

Actually, polls show him currently "overperforming" relative to the economy and so that seems like a *really* good reason not to announce this now.

Of course, marriage doesn't matter to me, so I don't get as revved up about this issue as some. I'd rather see everybody go to civil unions on the government side, and add whatever religious epiphenomena they like. Needless to say I agree that if heterosexuals can marry, then homosexuals must be able to. But to me it's rather more like: if there's an anti-abortion license plate, then there has to be an anti-anti-abortion license plate, too...and less like, say a free speech issue. If I cared more about marriage, I might have a different opinion, I suppose. But to me it seems like much ado about not that much.

I'm usually not politically calculating about stuff that I think matters a lot...

1:15 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

I'm mostly interested in your analysis pertaining to the liklihood that a voter will be significantly swayed by this.

Ideologically speaking, Obama was clearly on the side of gay rights. Everyone could see this, and everyone knows it. I really expect that most people already believed this was his position, especially those who are voting against him for it.

So I can't see any change resulting from those facts.

Maybe along an energizing route? Are you thinking people who wouldn't have voted before might now go vote to get the homo-lover out of the Presidency, or what?

I can't fathom any large amount of people changing their votes on account of this behavior. And if I push myself in that area, I only think that he might gain some votes out of it, be they from disenfranchised gay (or at least pro gay rights) republcians or whiney gay rights supporters who only now think he's living up to their standard.

2:01 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

You know what's most likely to sway voters? The media talking about how much this is going to sway voters.

3:38 PM  

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