Yesterday, I wrote on Barack Obama ?evolving? position on same-sex marriage, and pointed to a Gallup poll from last year that showed majority support for marriage equality. If Obama could count on public opinion in 2011?with 53 percent of Americans in favor of gay marriage?then there?s no question that he could do the same in 2012, and gain from announcing his support for marriage equality.
A new Gallup survey shows a slight reduction in support for same-sex marriage. 50 percent of Americans say that marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid, compared to 48 percent who say otherwise:
The issue breaks along familiar lines; 65 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents say that same-sex marriage should be legal, compared to only 22 percent of Republicans?a decline of six points over last year. There?s also no surprise in the religious divide; only 38 percent of Protestants say that gay marriage should be legal, compared to 51 percent of Catholics and 88 percent of those who lack a religious identity. Likewise, the more often you attend religious services, the less likely you are to support same-sex marriage.
This makes sense when you consider the demographics of Protestants, Catholics, and the religiously non-affiliated. The ?Protestant? category includes the groups most likely to oppose same-sex marriage overall, including older voters, conservative evangelicals, and African Americans. Catholics, by contrast, are a diverse group, and mostly analogous to the country writ large. As such, it?s no surprise to see that their numbers match national support for same-sex marriage. The religiously non-affiliated, by contrast, are more likely to be young and liberal, which by definition, implies overwhelming support for same-sex marriage.
The important thing for President Obama to realize is that his base?the supporters he needs to energize to win reelection?are largely among those who support same-sex marriage. African Americans are opposed, yes, but it?s also not a voting issue, as evidenced by the politicians?black and white?who support gay marriage and consistently win the large support of African American voters.
There?s two arguments circulating about why Obama shouldn?t support same-sex marriage, even his opposition is a political ploy. The first is that he might polarize the issue; the bully pulpit calcifies opposition more than it rallies support, and coming out for gay marriage might throw an obstacle in the effort to win hearts and minds. But this only works if support for same-sex marriage reaches across partisan lines. In the real world, it doesn?t; Americans are already polarized on marriage equality. At most, Obama would harden opposition and deepen support, and in a close election, that?s not a bad thing.
The other concern is that this is political risk for little in the way of substantive gain. Obama?s rhetoric won?t change the legislative environment or make Americans more tolerant. Why risk your political future when you can wait a few months and announce your support without the pressure of an election?
At time, there is political value in presidential courage. For the LGBT community, Obama?s support would be a huge symbolic victory and a tremendous mobilizer; it would inspire hope, heighten the stakes, and give many people a reason to work hard or harder for the president?s reelection. What?s more, as I said yesterday, it?s simply the right thing to do. To bend to intolerance is to give power to forces that want to deny respect and dignity to whole classes of people. Barack Obama is better than that, and he should show it.
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Wow. Talk about unbelievable ballsiness. He's got it. This is him yesterday:
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday gave himself kudos for the U.S. auto industry's recovery because he had called to let car companies go bankrupt.
"I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy," the candidate told Cleveland's WEWS-TV. "And finally, when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet."
"So I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back," he added.
And this is him three years ago, when the industry was on the verge of collapse:
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won't go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.
Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself.
With it, the automakers will stay the course - the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.
He was wrong then, and we have the archives to prove it; and he is wrong now.
Wrong in general; wrong on spec; and definitely wrong for America.
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Bank of America says it began mailing notices to their borrowers about principal reduction opportunities under the foreclosure fraud settlement. Recall that BofA inked a side deal on the settlement that would allow them to extinguish an additional $850[...]
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If you live in North Carolina vote AGAINST Amendment One!
Billionaire George Soros is jumping into the 2012 election funding race, donating $1 million apiece to pro-Democratic super PACs America Votes and American Bridge 21st Century. This cash infusion?much needed given how Democratic super PACs have struggled to match the fundraising pace of the conservativeAmerican Crossroads?may bring other liberal donors to the fray despite longstanding misgivings of the influence of super PACs from both the Obama camp and the pool of untapped liberal donors. Democratic supporters will have to be quite generous to outpace their conservative competition?super donor Harold Simmons plans to funnel $36 million into super PACs this election cycle, and Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has already given at least $10 million during the Republican primary.
Even if Soros' contribution starts a new trend in Democratic fundraising, for now the Obama campaign seems to think they're on their own on the money front. While Republican super PACs have taken the reins on political-advertising costs, the Obama campaign just unveiled a $25 million ad campaign. And, even if the money rolls in, it might be put to a different purpose than the Republican super PAC money. While American Crossroads and its ilk funnel millions into political advertising, pro-Democratic groups and donors seem inclined to see the super PAC money go towards grassroots organizing efforts. ?The idea that we?re going to engage in an arms race on advertising with the Republicans is not appealing to many liberal donors,? said David Brock, founder of American Bridge 21st Century, to The New York Times.
Although summer gas-price predictions were heading towards $5 a gallon earlier this year, worries have calmed, and it now looks like prices won't even top $4.
Girl Scout cookie candy bars now exist.
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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday declined to agree or disagree with a woman that told him that President Barack Obama should be tried for treason, an offense punishable by death.
During a town hall event in Cleveland, Ohio, a woman said that the president should be "tried for treason" because he was "operating outside the structure of the Constitution."
"I happen to believe that the Constitution was not just brilliant, but probably inspired," Romney replied, avoiding the subject of treason. "I believe that, unlike what the president said about the Supreme Court, where he suggested it was -- not just suggested, he said that it would be unprecedented for the Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the legislature."
"I will respect the different branches of government if I'm fortunate enough to become president. ... And if you've got some specifics you want me to address in terms of policy, I'm happy to. Go ahead," the former Massachusetts governor added, inviting the woman to ask a follow-up question.
"Specifically, some of the executive orders he has done," the supporter noted. "Just in the last three weeks, some of the executive orders he has made with regard to the Secret Service and their protection of people and people being allowed to exercise their First Amendment right to protest in the presence of the Secret Service."
"I'm not familiar with the orders with regards to the Secret Service," Romney admitted. "But I will be happy to take a look at what he's done with regards to the Secret Service and protests. We obviously have a right to protest in this country and express our viewpoints. At the same time, we want to have people who are being protected and not be in danger. So, I'll see what specifically he has in mind and, obviously, we've all been disappointed by a number of things that have happened at the government level."
The woman was mostly likely referring to the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, which Obama signed into law in March. While it is not an executive order, it does give the Secret Service the authority to define "restricted buildings or grounds" where protests can be limited for security purposes.
The United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381 states that anyone giving "aid and comfort" to enemies of the United States "is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000."
In 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain often publicly confronted supporters when they made similarly outrageous comments.
At an October 2008 event in Minnesota, one women insisted that "Obama is an Arab."
"No, ma'am," McCain replied, drawing boos from the crowd. "He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about."
"I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don?t have to be scared of as president of the United States," McCain told another man who said he was "scared" of a possible Obama presidency.
"Come on, John!" a member of the audience yelled as others shouted that Obama was a "liar" and a "terrorist."
In Romney's case, he only responded to the woman's comments after the event when the microphones had been cut off and reporters from The New York Times and The Washington Post asked him if Obama should be tried for treason.
?No, no,? Romney remarked. ?No, of course not.?
"I don't correct all the questions that get asked of me," he later told CNN.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith asserted in an email that Romney's initial silence called into question his ability to lead.
"Today we saw Mitt Romney?s version of leadership: standing by silently as his chief surrogate attacked the President?s family at the event and another supporter alleged that the President should be tried for treason," Smith wrote. "Time after time in this campaign, Mitt Romney has had the opportunity to show that he has the fortitude to stand up to hateful and over-the-line rhetoric and time after time, he has failed to do so. If this is the ?leadership? he has shown on the campaign trail, what can the American people expect of him as commander-in-chief?"
Our photo remembrance of Maurice Sendak.[...]
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A big Washington Post story last week reported that the economic dislocation of the last four years had significantly reduced Hispanic and African American voter registration numbers nationwide. Under economic distress, uprooting and relocating, a lot of[...]
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None of us should be surprised that the same agency that dumps taxpayer billions into unproven technology courtesy of insider lobbyist efforts, is unresponsive to requests for information. Besides fear of being labeled "soft on terrorism" or being won over by political donations, why would anyone in Washington accept the behavior of the TSA? More on the request from Propublica and the TSA's...