The Three Kinds of Conservative Reaction to Obama's Coming Out Party

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 9 2012 4:37 PM

The Three Kinds of Conservative Reaction to Obama's Coming Out Party

1) Gay Republican bad faith. For years, both out-and-out gay marriage opponents and conservative gay marriage supporters have jabbed Democrats in the ribs with this fact: Your president doesn't support gay marriage. Starting in 2009, they got another stick with which to poke: Ha, Dick Cheney's better on gay rights than your guy.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

And so we have this from GOProud's chief strategist Chris Barron:

It is good to see that after intense political pressure that President Obama has finally come around to the Dick Cheney position on marriage equality.  I am sure, however, the President’s newly discovered support for marriage is cold comfort to the gay couples in North Carolina.  The President waited until after North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. This is hardly a profile in courage by President Obama.

And Log Cabin Republicans:

Log Cabin Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue, but LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch.

One important difference between Cheney and Obama: Obama did not run on a ticket that officially endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

2) Completely predictable social conservative horror. Ralph Reed, whose Faith & Freedom Coalition is now taken quite seriously, labels the endorsement an "unexpected gift to Romney."

Four years ago 2008 Barack Obama promised if elected not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term---and made clear his support for traditional marriage.  All those promises are now broken.

He only raised taxes if you count current cigarette and tanning bad fees, but we'll let it slide. The National Organization for Marriage goes with the "he did it for money" angle.

God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim.

The Family Research Council, in the person of Tony Perkins, goes with the facts of the case. It's the most convincing boilerplate I've seen all day.

The President's announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law.

3) Honest disappointment. Bishop Harry Jackson has been the trad movement's point man in Maryland, D.C. -- a figure, conservatives hoped, who could keep black voters on the right side. "I think some people will leave Mr. Obama altogether," he tells the AP, rather Polyannishly. "But our view will be, this is about marriage. I'm not going to try to make President Obama the issue." Ric Grenell, reached by the New York Times, simply says what Democrats will think when the endorphins wear off. "The president could have evolved when the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, or even yesterday before the swing state of North Carolina voted."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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