Another annoying column with the same-old — and wrong — DC conventional wisdom on marriage

The circa 2004 conventional wisdom on marriage appears in the Washington Post column, The Fix, today. Of course, The Fix regurgitates the conventional wisdom on marriage. The Fix is inside baseball and gets to talk directly to “Democratic strategists” — and, as we all know, Democratic strategists are so amazingly smart that every thing they say should be believed. Even if not much of it is based in reality:

According to Fix interviews with more than half-dozen Democratic strategists, basically nobody in Obama’s party is expecting him to make the switch before the election. And even supporters of gay rights suggest the timing might be wrong.

While many may see it as the right thing to do, they say pulling such a switch would be too difficult this close to an election.

“I don’t expect him to change his position at this point,” said Democratic strategist Joe Trippi. “On the one hand, it would be a welcome surprise for many, and on the other hand, be seen as politically motivated and polarizing to others because of the timing.”

Most Democrats agreed that raising the issue in the context of the election might be counterproductive even for the gay rights movement itself.

And, we all know that more than a half-dozen Democratic strategists can’t be wrong. So, thank you, The Fix and Democratic strategists, for telling us what you think. I know this might be a stretch, but I’d encourage The Fix — and those Democratic Strategists — to take a fresh look a recent polling.

The Fix alleges that the anti-marriage forces have more intensity. That’s not true anymore, as evidenced by last month’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News. That poll shows more support for marriage by a 49 – 40 margin (that fact hasn’t seem to permeate the minds of the DC insiders yet.) Think Progress dug into the numbers, which show that 32% strongly favor marriage, while 31% strongly oppose it.

So a better question might be what will it do to enthusiasm if Obama says during one of the debates that he still thinks same-sex couples aren’t equal. Is it going to get him any right-wing votes. Of course not. But, it’s going to be painful to hear for a lot of gay Americans and our allies, particularly those young voters who Jim Messina is assiduously courting.

Last May, Kerry Eleveld and I guest-hosted Mike Signorile’s show on Sirius/XM OutQ. One of our guests was polling guru Nate Silver, who had recently published a post titled, “Gay Marriage Opponents Now in Minority.” Nate told us that Obama was already behind the trend of public opinion, “It’s too late for [Obama] to get ahead of the trend.” And, he said that was true for Democrats and Independents.

And, maybe The Fix could step outside of its usual pattern of talking to the same old strategists and interview someone like Dr. Gary Segura. Last month, Segura wrote an important post titled, “Why Latinos are Ahead of Barack Obama on Marriage Equality.” Latinos are the fastest growing voting demographic in the country — and another prime target for Messina and the Obama campaign. But, Gary isn’t a DC insider, so his insight might not matter to The Fix. Gary is just a professor at Stanford. Actually, he’s Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies in the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford. Gary is also a principal in the polling firm, Latino Decisions. And, he has been an expert witness the major marriage cases, including the Prop. 8 case.

It’s always painful to read the same old-CW about gay issues. But, today’s column in The Fix appears so out-of-touch, it looks like someone from the Obama campaign choreographed it.

I used to play along with the idea that Obama was evolving. That’s gotten old and outdated already. Now, it’s clearly a political calculation the White House is making not to announce support marriage. And, I don’t like people playing politics with my equality. So, I’m with Mike Signorile now: Obama must come out of the closet on gay marriage.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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