The LGBT Agenda and the 2012 Presidential Election
Michael Brooks famously said, "Desperate people do desperate things," and President Obama's actions of late indicate that he is behaving like a desperate man. Finally, the president is coming to terms with stark reality. Members of his own party are beginning to whisper about a Hillary run for the Oval Office; their voices are growing louder by the day; among independents in Florida and Ohio, two key states, the president trails Gingrich and Romney; and the president's Democratic colleagues are losing ground in key swing states.
Typically, sitting presidents run to the middle to build voter support, but President Obama finds himself in the unenviable position of having to tack left to shore up his base. For him, triangulation may be completely out of the question. He has to take bold steps immediately to convince the liberal left-wing of his own party that he is worthy of their support. It is in that context that the president recently announced that he is offering asylum to overseas gays. He hopes to win accolades from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual (LGBT) community in the United States for inviting foreign gays to come to America, but in Africa, his "stroke of political genius" has been greeted with indignation.
A short while ago, the president probably thought that repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" was enough to satisfy the LGBT Democrats and their supporters because it meant that gays in the military would no longer have to hide their true proclivities. And if that wasn't enough, he even indicated that his position on gay marriage is still evolving. Under normal conditions, that would have been enough, but things are not normal. Hillary has been on a campaign for gay rights, as well, both at home and abroad, and those voices for change at the top in the Democratic Party have reached a decibel level that is too high to ignore if Obama hopes to win his party's nomination for a second term.
Liberals see Hillary's and Obama's gyration to the left on gay rights as "[h]istoric, amazing, truly heartwarming stuff," but those in middle and on the right of the political spectrum see it for what it actually is: pandering. According to Abe Greenwald,
"[T]his historic, amazing, and truly heartwarming policy isn't about human rights. It's about the toxic but useful politics of identity."
As expected, the political right has reacted negatively to Hillary's and Obama's LGBT agenda, and the political left has reacted with orgasmic glee even going so far as to say that the "attacks on [the] Obama administration's LGBT policy shames Christianity." Obviously, those in the LGBT camp don't know much about Christianity or Judaism and Islam for that matter, but that's another story.
At this stage in the electoral process, the real battle isn't between the left and the right. It's between the left and the hyper left, and the winner may be the next Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States. Once Republicans and Democrats choose their standard-bearers, though, you can bet that gay rights will become "a" and maybe "the" defining issue in the 2012 presidential campaign. Social issues may not be bread and butter issues, but they tell us about the character of a nation. That leads me to conclude that the 2012 election will reveal who we are as a nation.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily. His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.