A new poll in the New York Times, of all places, shows exactly why the White House hesitated so long before announcing President Obama’s support for gay marriage and why there must be FEAR in the West Wing of the political consequences and LOATHING of Vice President Biden for forcing the issue.
Biden has no control over his mouth, and uses it way beyond the point of diminishing returns. And with Biden, the diminishing returns start quickly, sometimes immediately.
Ask any reporter who ever covered him. When Senator Biden stepped to the mikes, we used to flee en masse. “Oh no, it’s Biden, gotta escape.” For those who didn’t, you could soon hear them pleading, “Water. Somebody get me water. Please!”
It’s all kind of amusing, except this time, by prattling on about his support for gay marriage before David Plouffe gave the green light and forcing Obama to express the same, he may have cost Obama the election.
Even if Obama were going to announce this anyway before Election Day, the White House needed to control the roll out, given how sensitive a topic it is. But being forced into a hasty pronouncement, the whole thing looks very political and unseemly.
Which of course it is – I find it really hard to believe that Obama’s “opposition” to gay was rooted in the Bible and not David Plouffe’s political playbook – but the White House needed to make it look like a moral stand for God, Home, and Country, albeit a home with two husbands.
The New York Times poll contains a startling statistic, which somehow mainstream media analysts have not put together, but I’m sure the Obama folks have.
Give three choices instead of the usual two, fully 57 percent support either civil unions for gays or no legal recognition at all – that is, the status quo – compared to 38 percent who say gay marriage should be legal.
THAT’S A 19-POINT DIFFERENCE.
Of the 57 percent, 33 percent say same-sex marriage should be illegal, while 24 percent support civil unions.
Told they must choose between legal or not legal, 51 percent said same-sex marriage should not be legal, while 42 percent say it should.
That’s still a substantial margin, but it really doesn’t reflect reality. Because in fact there are three options, and Obama has chosen something that is overwhelmingly opposed by the public, which backs civil unions of no legality at all.
And – thank you, Joe – fully 67 percent of those polled say Obama announced his support for political reasons, while 24 percent believe he wanted to do “what is right.”
Which is why the Obama campaign knows it can’t fool anyone this year with a slogan along the lines of “Hope and Change.”