I don’t often find myself nodding along with PZ Myers (while I usually agree with him on substance, I don’t share his no-holds-barred approach to skepticism), I did agree with his take on President Obama’s tepid acknowledgement that he now supports gay marriage. And everything we’ve learned since – that the President's hand was somehow forced by Vice Buffoon Biden’s unscripted comments, that he immediately turned his weak-ass comments into a fundraising letter, that he won’t actually support efforts to bring about a fairer world – just makes it seem that much less impressive.
As proverbial “leader of the free world,” Obama could have made a bold statement backed up by strong indications of what he, as president, would do to change policy and make the world safe for marriage equality. But he didn’t…he made a meandering statement that was weak on substance and hard to accept as particularly sincere, and then his people did everything they could to portray him as weak and buffeted by events, rather than strong and forceful.
So, while I acknowledge the importance of the moment – and I don’t want to take away from the fact that a sitting president has gone where no high elected official has gone before - I wish I could write that he had “boldly” gone there.
And the funny thing is that it’s hard to conclude that this is anything but a statement of conviction on his part. I don’t see how it’s a boost to his electoral campaign, particularly in the handful of swing states that he has to carry to win reelection. From a purely political standpoint, it seems like it would have made a lot more sense for him to continue offering guarded support for gay rights while waiting to complete the “evolution” of his views once he was firmly entrenched in a second term.
So, if you’re going to make a statement of conviction – why not make a strong one. I’m puzzled.