Thursday, May 10, 2012

Joe Biden’s Gay Old Time.

What a mixed blessing Joe Biden is to Team Obama. The man has some serious foreign policy chops, especially when it comes to the Graveyard of Empires. Biden’s small bore, laser-focused, strategy of taken out Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden is the only reason we may finally exit Afghanistan anytime soon. By turning OBL into shark chum, a kind of victory can be claimed, and a dignified departure made. But with all the gravitas off shore the VP can sometimes be rather “colorful” domestically. Biden can be quite the loose cannon.

I’m wondering how that loose cannon, and the friendly fire it provided, finally changed the environment around Barack Obama. The shell that Joe fired into Obama’s tent a few  days ago was nice bit of Darwinian natural selection; forcing the final “evolution” of Barack on Same Sex Marriage.

That was some hole the VP blasted in the lines gentle reader. Goodness, it was painful to watch Team Obama scurry around and attempt to reform the old position on Gay Marriage. Troops scurried hither and thither, battle flags were waved, much screaming and shouting occurred, and the Press Secretary got shredded by incoming shrapnel.

But the damage was done, Joe Biden’s off the cuff remarks left little wiggle room and no real walk back. Seriously gentle reader, if there was a way to walk back the VP’s statement, Barack Obama would have found it.  Instead, what was offer for two news cycles was the undignified flop, twitch, flail and fail of Team Obama’s messaging.

The final push from the VP was actually a blessing in disguise. Few things in politics are  truly inevitable, but some times the tectonic shifts in political landscape make some positions totally untenable. The Obama fudge, the safe harbor of Civil Unions, is gone. A huge shift in national attitudes has made that middle ground a tiny spit of land. The majority of US citizens have come to accept Gay Marriage; political break point has been achieved.

North Carolina not withstanding, over fifty percent of US citizens now support same sex marriage. They do so because a grand bargain has been struck. Both philosophical liberals and philosophical conservatives have strong reasons to support the proposition. For liberals it is all about supporting human rights and human liberation. For Conservatives it is all about the stability marriage offers. For those Homosexuals that have bought into the institution of marriage, the whole romantic love leading to a house, to children, and to a minivan (or SUV), the doors have been open.

This not to say all doors are open, or that a minority dose not want those doors shut and barred; nothing of the sort. North Carolina proved that reaction is still alive and well. In a primary election the evangelical vote can still get its gay bashing on. The muddled middle of the voting population has not quite signed on to the idea of every gay person being able to marry, just the ones they know. It is still far too easy to buffalo so called “moderate voters” into supporting really reactionary and really toxic legislation, especially in low turn out elections.

Still we, as a nation, have turned yet another corner. The President of the United States has made a stand. As the leader of one of the major two parties, this sets a new bar. It will be very hard for the Donkeys to walk away from this one;  it will be near impossible for them to play coy. A battle flag has been planted, a territory marked out, politicians that run as Democrats must either man the barricades, or go over to the other side; no middle ground now exists.

For all of that, I still wonder if Obama really wanted to play the part of Happy Warrior for Marriage Equality. Forgive me for being churlish, but I am not about to thank him for taking three years and change to finally come to Jesus as it were.

Thanking Obama for finally coming around to this stand is a lot like expecting a recently  abused wife to be happy when her her husband remembers to give her flowers on her anniversary. Should that wife really be forced to smile only day after he ne'er do well husband gave her a black eye?

I admit to being down on Barack. His leadership, or more to the point his lack of leadership, on the economy has been appalling. The subservience Obama has shown to the Wall Street crowd has been nauseating to behold. It has also been amazingly counterproductive. The one bit of distemper that Obama the Wall Street lap dog showed was enough for The Street to abandon him for the shining Mitt on the hill.

Couple that with his continuing of the Bushite assault on basic civil liberties and it has been a very bleak three years for those of us who take out basic constitutional rights seriously. Trading off the protections of the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments for Marriage Equality seems to me be a bad deal. Please don’t get me started on that meme, because I have more than few things to say on that line and on Obama’s abject failure to support the basic rights of women. Gays can marry but women will be stripped of the right to control their own bodies? Tell me how that is rational trade off. Same sex couples can marry, but their homes and effects can be subject to no-knock or sneak and peek warrants, this is “progress”?

It is a good thing that Obama has finally made a choice to fish or cut bait, I will grant that. It is a good thing that Joe Biden’s ever flapping lips provided the final push for that decision. Still, it is really is not up to Obama, or the Executive, to provide the final answer.

The Supremes are going to provide the last word, for good or ill, for at least a generation. With only a smattering of states sanctioning Marriage Equality, and over half of them blocking it outright, it will be the nine who sort the mess out. You can not have a marriage that is created in Massachusetts being made null and void in when the couple moves to Texas; that way lies madness. The Constitution is fairly clear on the matter in Article IV Section 1, which is why the homophobes keep yammering about an amendment so they can keep the gay-bashing going.

Forgive me gentle reader, but I’ll wait for how the Supremes to weigh in before I put on my party hat. I will also wait to see how deep, dark, and dirty Team Obama goes into this newly “evolved” state before I give any kudos for that new stance. Is this something that Obama and company will shout to the rooftops from now until November, or was this something that Barack and his political team did to bury a distraction? News cycles are news cycles gentle reader, and the recent move by the President definitely spiked a controversy that had some serious legs.

Personally, I do hope that Barack H. Obama comes out large and in charge on Marriage Equality; he might as well because the Republicans are going to try to beat him from pillar to post on the issue. Obama would be wondrous wise if he came out swinging and kept right on swinging until November. Follow Uncle Joe Biden here Mr. President; once more, Uncle Joe knows best.
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