In one of the most shameful and startling moments I’ve ever viewed in 17 years covering the White House, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest Tuesday casually acknowledged that President Obama had been lying all along when he said as a candidate in 2008 and as president that he opposed gay marriage.
Obama, as you probably remember, publicly announced his support for gay marriage in 2012 – and then only after Vice President Biden had announced his. For years he had said he opposed it, but since early in his presidency he had claimed his views were “evolving.”
The revelation of deceit was made by David Axelrod in his new book, as first reported by Time. Earnest said Axelrod’s characterization of the nakedly political lie “is not one that I would disagree with or quibble with.”
Doubling down, Earnest even tried to portray Obama as courageous on the issue:
“When the president made his first public comments indicating his support for gay couples to marry, that was viewed as a pretty controversial political stand,” Earnest said.
I guess maybe shameful is the wrong word. Because there is no shame anymore.
Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union’ . . .
If Obama’s views were ‘evolving’ publicly, they were fully evolved behind closed doors. The president was champing at the bit to announce his support for the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed — and having watched him struggle with this issue for years, I was ready, too.
Remember, Obama didn’t just say he opposed gay marriage. He invoked God and Christianity as the rationale.
“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” Obama told Pastor Rick Warren in 2008, in Warren’s church. “Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix,” Obama said.
Of course, we all knew he was lying. I wrote about it and did the unfashionable thing in Washington of calling the president a liar. I don’t like doing that. But I try to tell the truth.
But to hear it so blandly admitted is very chilling. This republic was founded on the assumption that men of honor could be found to lead it. It can’t just survive on written rules and laws.
That there has often been lying and corruption at the top levels of our government is certainly true. But I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a deception done by a president in such a bold, unnuanced, and cynical way. Even Bill Clinton, who broke new ground with respect to presidential dishonesty, at least felt compelled to try to technically tell the truth.
But what could be wrong with what Obama did? After all, on the Left, the ends are so exalted, that the means are always justified. And in this case, what end could be worthier than electing Obama president?
None of our leaders who did this type of thing in the past ever acted like it didn’t matter. That’s what we have now. A new low, and a new precedent has been set. It is a very frightening thing.