Obama hits the motherlode after gay marriage statement
If his fundraising had been lagging behind the pace of his 2008 campaign, it appears that Obama's flip flop on gay marriage may have changed that.
President Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage carries a political cost, but it also means floods of cash from wealthy gay donors and disillusioned young people eager to be inspired by him again.
After three years of political compromise on issues from health care reform to spending cuts, Obama delivered a surprise gift to what many of his core supporters view as the civil rights issue of the day, simply by saying what everyone assumed he believed. But the distinction between implying a change and saying it outright will more than symbolic in the crucial area of campaign fundraising. Already, gay donors, mostly men, reportedly constitute 1 in 6 of Obama's top fundraisers known as bundlers. And in the first 90 minutes after the news broke Wednesday, the campaign received $1 million in spontaneous contributions, a Democrat told BuzzFeed.
"This is beyond unifying - it's electrifying," said Eugene Sepulveda, a former top bundler who withdrew to take a non-political job early this year. "This man stands for right, despite the political consequences."
And for a class of disillusioned progressive mega-donors, many of them gay, the completion of Obama's "evolution" is an invitation reason to return.
"I think the people who were disappointed by the president's failure to support marriage quality will now have that barrier removed for them," said Jeff Soref, a longtime Democratic activist in the gay community.
Indeed, top gay donors have been using their expensive access to bend Obama's ear on the issue for years. Some now feel that their specific pleas have been answered.
The "Obama the brave" narrative will continue for weeks despite the fact that the "political cost" of affirming what everyone knew in the first place is minimal to non-existent. People who oppose gay marriage weren't supporting him anyway, and those in favor of gay marriage may have been discouraged but weren't going to vote for Mitt Romney. The downside to his flip flop is small, but is being touted as evidence of political courage despite all evidence to the contrary.