PDATE: During an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts on Thursday President Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage:
In an interview with ABC News, Obama said, "I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married." http://2012.talkingpointsmemo....
This wasn't easy at least politically-speaking. And we can debate whether or not it was smart or whether or not VP Biden's remarks on Sunday were pre-planned or not. At this point, today, all I want to say is, "Thank you, Mr. President." Vice President Biden made a bit of news on Sunday on Meet the Press when he expressed support for same-sex marriage:
"I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties," Biden said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50...
Oops! Almost immediately the Administration began to walk those comments back saying that, like the president, Biden's position is "evolving" on the issue and that his comments represent no change in the Administration's current policy. David Axelrod took to Twitter:
David Axelrod @davidaxelrod @chucktodd @meetthepress What VP said-that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights-is precisely POTUS's position.
Unfortunately for Axe, that's not what the Vice President said. And I do not understand why this is so difficult.
The President has said that his personal belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman; the official stance now is that his position is "evolving" whatever that means. But while I disagree with the President's personal position I am much more interested in his public policy and in that case there is no room for doubt which is why I cannot fathom why the Administration, and the campaign, seems so flat-footed on this.
There is a move to put same-sex marriage on the Democratic platform at the convention. Obviously, as the head of the party the President's position is an issue. But he obviously feels that all couples deserve equal protection so I am unclear as to why this cannot be included as a positive for the Democrats and the campaign.
Republicans have their own issues with the LGBT community that have been highlighted by the recent resignation of Richard Grenell, the openly gay foreign policy spokesman, from the Romney campaign. Grenell was John Bolton's spokesman at the UN and as such was qualified for the position. Of course, Grenell made a splash after his appointment became public by tweeting sarcastic bits about being a gay Republican and then he went after Rachel Maddow by tweeting that she looked like a man and needed to put on a necklace. That is, of course, not the first time he displayed misogynistic language. He had gone after Hillary Clinton and Callista Gingrich as well. Apparently, assuming the Romney campaign did any homework on Grenell, they were not bothered by those tweets. Nor were they bothered by reports that Grenell was less than honest while at the UN:
Reuters veteran Irwin Arieff told The Huffington Post that he's "appalled to hear that the Romney campaign has hired Mr. Grenell in any capacity." In an email response, Arieff, who worked over two decades at Reuters, including seven years covering the U.N, said he found Grenell "to be the most dishonest and deceptive press person I ever worked with."
"He often lied, even more frequently offered half answers or withheld information that would weaken his case or reflect poorly on his ideological point of view," Arieff said. "He was always argumentative with the press, castigating reporters for asking questions he did not like, and calling them to criticize them for writing articles he did not like." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
What did get Grenell in trouble, however, was the Religious Right, in the person of Bryan Fischer, howling about how the Romney campaign had hired a guy who openly advocated for same-sex marriage. Never mind that Grenell had apparently said he would not address that issue during the campaign.
The Romney campaign's response was to muzzle Grenell even on a foreign policy conference call he had set up which seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back for Grenell. Well, that and the campaign's unwillingness to say anything publicly backing Grenell. Because the Romney campaign knows they need the Right. Unfortunately for them Romney can't win for losing because now that Grenell is gone (and apparently working on Mary Bono Mack's re-election campaign) even Fischer is mocking Romney:
... if Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, coopted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me?
Frankly I don't get why someone would support a party, or its nominee, who holds them in such disdain because of who they are. Grenell was, and is, willing to overlook the part of the GOP that would deny him a fundamental civil liberty ... for what? Extra tax cuts? For the notion of "small government" which ignores the government's intrusion into his bedroom?
Anyway, the Grenell situation highlights a distinct difference between the two parties. No matter what the President's personal position on same-sex marriage his Administration's actions are clear and I cannot understand why someone who speaks so eloquently on a whole host of other issues cannot lay this out so people can understand.