Michael Gaynor
Saavy political tactician David Axelrod admits President Obama pretended to oppose same-sex marriage in 2008 as a political tactic
By Michael Gaynor
February 11, 2015

President Obama is the prime example of the successful political opportunist who says what he thinks he needs to say to win and pursues his real agenda later, when circumstances seem propitious.

Key Obama campaign adviser, now promoting sales of his book, basically conceded in his book that I was right about President Obama's dishonesty about his views on marriage and willingness to lie to be elected.

Better late than never, David.

How about an election do over?

"WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama feigned opposition to gay marriage for most of his political career, compromising his true beliefs out of concern it could hurt him with voters, Obama's longtime political adviser disclosed in a new book.

"David Axelrod, who served as a top White House adviser after helping Obama get elected, said Obama begrudgingly followed his advice that he would face strong opposition from African American religious leaders and others if he let it be known he supported gay marriage. He said Obama 'modified his position' to say he supported civil unions – but not same-sex marriage.

"'Having prided himself on forthrightness, though, Obama never felt comfortable with his compromise and, no doubt, compromised position,' Axelrod wrote in the memoir 'Believer: My Forty Years in Politics,' released Tuesday." (www.aol.com/article/2015/02/10/longtime-aide-says-obama-misled-on-gay-marriage-opposition/21141265/?cps=gravity_3526_7543293883422035323)

On March 27, 2013, in "Obama didn't 'evolve' on marriage. He reverted." (www.renewamerica.com/columns/gaynor/130327), I wrote:

"President Obama's record on marriage reflects political opportunism, not 'evolution.'

"When it comes to oxymoronic 'same-sex marriage,' opportunistic politicians put personal advancement before tradition, principled belief and honesty while the liberal media establishment delights in promoting the notion that switching from supporting traditional marriage to supporting same-sex marriage is 'evolving.'

"Evolution is defined as 'a process of change in a certain direction' and 'a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state' (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evolution)."

"President Obama's record on marriage reflects rank political opportunism, not 'evolution.'

"MSNBC's Tom Curry's article titled 'The "evolution' of Obama's stand on gay marriage' (http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/09/11623172-the-evolution-of-obamas-stance-on-gay-marriage?lite) is a good example of the liberal media establishment's promotion of the Obama evolved myth:

'Since stepping on to the national stage in 2004 when he ran for the Senate in Illinois, Barack Obama has shifted his views on whether same-sex couples should have the legal right to marry. "My feelings about this are constantly evolving," Obama said about same-sex marriage in December of 2010.

'By Wednesday his views had evolved to the position that gay and lesbian rights advocates had urged upon him since 2004. Obama said, "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."'

"Curry added that 'Obama's Wednesday announcement was a reversal of his 2004 view that "marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman,"' but did not mention that was a reversion to the position he had taken when he first ran for political office in 1996.

"President Obama is the prime example of the successful political opportunist who says what he thinks he needs to say to win and pursues his real agenda later, when circumstances seem propitious.

"On marriage, Obama did not 'evolve,' he reverted, and his White House Communications director falsely and foolishly claimed in 2011 that Obama never had supported same-sex marriage.

"In 2004 the Illinois voters might not have elected a proponent of same sex marriage to the United States Senate, so Democrat candidate Barack Obama posed as a supporter of traditional marriage.

"During a pre-election interview Obama said that marriage was NOT a civil right and defined marriage as 'between a man and a woman.' See www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XAVqrqr4j4&feature=youtu.be.

"Likewise, in 2008 the United States voters might not have elected a proponent of same sex marriage President, so Democrat candidate Obama professed to believe that marriage was between a man and a woman. The liberal media establishment delights in describing the switch from opposing to supporting same sex marriage as 'evolution' and has generally cooperated in Obama's campaign to depict himself as having 'evolved' on marriage.

"In fact, the notion that Obama 'evolved' on marriage since he became President is nonsense.

"In January 1996, as an Illinois state senate hopeful, Obama was asked in a Windy City Times questionnaire whether he supported this resolution:

'Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice,

'RESOLVED, the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage.'

"Obama's reply was unqualified: 'I would support such a resolution.'

"A month later, in a typed letter to Trudy Ring of the Outlines newspaper, Obama flatly stated: 'I favor legalized same-sex marriage and would fight effort to provide such marriage.'

"After winning the presidential election, Obama deftly moved toward publicly supporting same-sex marriage even before the 2010 elections.

"In October 2010, he told a group of bloggers that his view on the marriage was 'evolving' and referred to friends of his children who had same-sex parents and staff workers in 'committed same-sex relationships.' He said, 'I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage. But I also think you're right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships.'

"In December 2010, Obama responded at a White House press conference, 'My feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this. At this point, what I've said is, is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have.'

"On June 17, 2011 White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said at a Netroots Nation was blogger conference that the Windy City Media questionnaire was filled out by a staff member, not Barack Obama. The founder of Outlines Magazine and publisher of the Windy City Times promptly stood by then-state senate candidate Obama's response. He noted that for the first time in the 15 years since its publication the questionnaire's authenticity has been doubted and explained: 'It was faxed from the law firm Obama worked for at the time. And it was reported in Outlines newspaper that he backed gay marriage, something his campaign never denied in 1996. He would have had a very small campaign staff, so it was unlikely he had someone else complete the form. In fact he went to the trouble of typing full answers when the form was actually able to be completed as a Q&A. Even if someone else completed the form, Obama signed it, and never denied subsequent reports of its content.'

"The effort to distance Obama from the questionnaire quickly ended. When asked about it, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded that Pfeiffer was referring to another questionnaire.

"In June 2011, at a White House news conference after New York legalized same-sex marriage, Obama commented, 'I think it's important for us to work through these issues because each community is going to be different, each state is going to be different' and predicted that same-sex marriage would triumph. 'I think what you're seeing is a profound recognition on the part of the American people that gays and lesbians and transgender persons are our brothers, our sisters, our children, our cousins, our friends, our co-workers, and that they've got to be treated like every other American. And I think that principle will win out.'

"In October 2011, Obama was not yet prepared to publicly endorse same-sex marriage. He answered, 'I'm still working on it,' when ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked whether he would move from supporting civil unions for same-sex couples to supporting same-sex marriage. 'I probably won't make news right now, George. But I think that there's no doubt that as I see friends, families children of gay couples who are thriving, you know, that has an impact on how I think about these issues,' he added.

'On May 9, 2012, Obama announced to ABC News that his view had evolved and he now supported same-sex marriage. He cited Jesus' teaching to treat others as we would like to be treated as a foundation of his support for same-sex marriage.

"He did not claim to have just learned of that teaching, however."

Now it's up to the United States Supreme Court to uphold the rights of states to define marriage, on its merits, for the reasons stated by then United States Senate candidate Wendy Long during an illuminating interview by Laura Ingraham on her national radio show, and, ironically, Axelrod's admission may help the traditional marriage advocates.

On May 31, 2012, in "Wendy Long Supports Traditional Marriage and Constitutional Fidelity, Not Same-sex Marriage and Judicial Activism" (www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=gaynorm&date=120531), I reported:

"Talk radio star Laura Ingraham and current candidate for United States Senator from New York Wendy Long are Dartmouth graduates, friends and former law clerks to Justice Thomas and in 2010 Ingraham interviewed Long about the California litigation seeking to establish a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, shortly after Chief District Court Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled that California's Proposition 8 violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

"Ingraham asked Long whether she was surprised by the ruling and Long replied: '...sadly I'm not. This has been a slow motion train wreck that has been unfolding for years, as you said. Go back to Lawrence v. Texas, even before then. It has been unfolding in ugly and graphic detail and it keeps replaying in my mind. We knew this was coming; we've tried to warn of it for years as we've had presidents appointing more and more liberal activist judges to the federal bench. We've seen it coming down the pike, and here we are now, really on the precipice of losing not only a fundamental building block of a stable society – that is, one man, one woman marriage – but we are also on the precipice frankly of losing our right and privilege of self-government that has been ours for 234 years.'

"Long described the ruling as 'the classic, prime example of judicial tyranny...and...a classic example of a revolution devouring its own children.'

"Long continued: 'These are all wrapped in these beautiful principles of the American Revolution, and then the things you talk about and recall in the Obama diaries about Reagan saying that this is a shining city on a hill, it's the best example of freedom in the history of the world, and this American republic, this great experiment, is really being crushed in the name of its principles, just like in France, where we get the expression of the revolution devouring its own children. Because these gay rights activists are invoking these scenes of fairness and trying to crush all opposition, the way these elites do, crush all opposition, its not fair, its not objective.'"

Long commented as follows on the specifics of the decision:

"Judge Walker said, first of all, that there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage, and there is no rational basis, none at all, not even a shred of the tiniest rational basis, that's the lowest test in the law for constitutional scrutiny, no rational basis to support the law. He's clearly wrong.

"First of all, on the fundamental rights point, fundamental rights are rights that are deeply rooted in our nation's history and traditions. Same-sex marriage is not, it just isn't. I think that we have to approach this issue on both sides with sensitivity and care, and be really accurate. I mean there are people, you and I both have friends and loved ones who are gay and care a lot about this. We owe it to everybody on all sides of this to be honest and fair and accurate. Same-sex marriage is not deeply rooted in our nation's history and traditions. It just isn't a fundamental right. And so he has ripped this important policy question about the structure and meaning of marriage from the hands of the people who in our democracy for 221 years have decided it for themselves and he has completely turned his back on millennia of all organized religions and morality who say that this is wrong. Suddenly it's completely fundamental to the American republic to have same-sex marriage. It's just laughable; it's not good legal analysis.

"The other thing he said was that there is no rational basis to support it. What he said was, 'The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples.' Moral and religious views. He's saying that moral and religious views can't possibly be rational. That's what he's saying. It's just unthinkable, it's crazy. And what's amazing is that somebody like Ted Olsen can come out there and say that this is a respectable judicial decision."

Long deemed the decision "obviously biased and irrational" and Ingraham then asked, "is there anything that you see after going through this 100-plus page opinion that would prevent others in the future, if this ultimately is upheld, from others arguing for other forms of marriage whether it's polygamy, or marrying the Eiffel Tower, as one woman did a couple of years ago, or marrying yourself. I declared myself marriage, by the way, at the beginning of the show. I'm married."

Long replied: "Laura, you've just asked the perfect question, and that should have been examined more as a legal matter. It wasn't, it's a serious question, it's not a joke. For example, when my mother was very ill, I couldn't get health insurance coverage for her. I would have, I love my mother deeply, I would have married her to get that health insurance coverage. Why can't I? Who says I can't marry my mother? You and I love our dogs. Who says we can't marry our dogs? The rationale – and it's not to cast any aspersions or to discredit my mother or the dog – it's simply saying there are no principle distinctions. There's no principle distinction to why you and I and five other people can't get married, if we wanted to form a commune and say we are married."

Long concluded that interview by opining as follows what would happen when the California case reached the United States Supreme Court.

"...obviously, the pivotal vote on this as always is going to be Anthony Kennedy, but I have some hope that he might do the right thing. There are some distinctions between this and the Lawrence case. I'm not as doom and gloom as some people about that, because here we have people coming to seek a benefit from society, and that's what distinguishes this from theLawrence case."

It is a significant distinction.

God save the United States of America from deceitful politicians and judges!

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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