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July 01, 2008

Obama Was For Gay Marriage Before He Was Against It Before He Was For It Again

What a newb.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who previously said the issue of gay marriage should be left up to each state, has announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages.

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read Sunday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast in San Francisco, the Illinois senator said he supports extending "fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law."

"And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," Obama wrote.

[...]

"Senator Obama opposes all divisive and discriminatory constitutional amendments such as the one in California," [Obama Campaign Spokesman] LaBolt said.

At first I thought he was just saying that it should be up to the states, but that he personally would vote against a marriage ban in his state. But LaBolt's statement forecloses that possibility and turns this into a genuine flip-flop. What's surprising is that this is a flop to the left.

Ed Morrissey has thoughts on what Obama's constant flip-floppery means:

There are only three possibilities for why Barack Obama has had to change his mind on almost every policy he has mentioned in this campaign:

1. Hes a liar who says what each audience wants to hear.
2. The election debate has changed his perspective on every issue.
3. He has no clue on any of the issues.

Another possibility is that he isn't in control of his own message. For example, how do we know that Obama actually wrote the letter to the LGBT Democratic Club or even read it? How do we know he approved LaBolt's statement or that it accurately reflects Obama's genuine beliefs? The answer to both questions is: we don't.

We generally expect that statements issued in a candidate's name come from the candidate, and whether they do or not, we impute the substance of the statement to the candidate. In Obama's case we've seen a pattern of conflicting statements in his name. I suspect that happens when different parts of his staff want different things. The left hand doesn't know what the far left hand is doing and Obama is too green to exercise meaningful control over his own office. The result is all these "distracting" and "inartful" statements.

In today's example, I'd bet my diploma that Obama hasn't given the issue of gay marriage much thought. But his staffers probably obsess over it, with some of them wailing about moderates in the general election and others, especially gay staffers, screeching about taking an even more radical position. Which side is more likely to be given the task of drafting a letter to a San Fran gay group?


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:18 AM

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