President Obama Tuesday sought to do some of his own damage control over the contention of his own political guru, David Axelrod, that Obama’s stance on gay marriage was a lie told to help him get elected president in 2008.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Obama said Axelrod was “mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue.” From the piece:
(Obama) disputed, however, the contention of his former top political adviser, David Axelrod, that he had misled voters in 2008 when he opposed marriage equality. Axelrod wrote in his new memoir that Obama “modified” his position because his aides worried about alienating black Christian leaders, and then complained that he didn’t like “bullshitting” voters about it.
“I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue,” Obama said. “I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there.”
Obama said he believed at the time that civil unions were “a sufficient way of squaring the circle,” but that “the pain and the sense of stigma that was being placed on same-sex couples who are friends of [his]” changed his mind.
“I think the notion that somehow I was always in favor of marriage per se isn’t quite accurate,” Obama said. “The old questionnaire … is an example of struggling with what was a real issue at the time, which is, how do you make sure that people’s rights are enjoyed and these religious sensitivities were taken into account?”
So Obama is now claiming that he took the policy “position” against gay marriage – selflessly, actually – in order to find a way to accommodate those with religious sensitivities on the issue.
There are many reasons why this is yet more blatant dishonesty, making the whole matter even more deeply disturbing.
Obama could have said in 2008 that while he personally supports gay marriage, he opposes it on policy grounds because it is upsetting to people’s religious sensitivities. But that’s not what he said. Rather, he pretended he personally opposed gay marriage too.
Axelrod, who revealed the lie in his new book, said Obama admitted to him that he was “bullshitting.” Is that an inaccurate quote?
The White House and Obama also clearly led reporters to believe that Obama’s view on gay marriage was some kind of personal journey he was on, with Obama himself saying in December 2010, “My feelings about this are constantly evolving – I struggle with this.”
In 2008, Obama was crystal clear that it was his own view – not a policy position – that marriage did not include same-sex unions.
“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” Obama told Pastor Rick Warren in 2008. “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.
There is no equivocation. The president is now rewriting history to make himself look good.
Maybe he should receive a six-month suspension.