Timothy Stanley, writing today in The Telegraph, explains the rationale for and choreography behind Obama’s marriage switcheroo.
Here’s the problem with the press coverage of Barack Obama: the mainstream media is so overwhelmed by his charisma that they often miss the important details. Every decision, speech, policy statement or impromptu visit to the bathroom is presented as a piece of “history” – the dawn of a new era. The Prez could go seal-clubbing and much of the media would see it as a new epoch for winter sports. “Barack Obama Becomes the First President to Kill Six Seals in Under One Minute,” the New York Times would proudly report, while Twitter would be all abuzz with how hot he looks in snow shoes.
The pattern of missing the wood for the trees has been consistent (it started when Obama wrote a memoir that everybody loved but nobody read) and it continues with his “endorsement” of gay marriage. The talk is all about how incredibly brave he is, not what his support actually means for gays and lesbians or why he waited until this moment to offer it. Conversely, the news that schoolboy Mitt Romney might have once said something nasty to someone who might have been gay has turned him into a rampaging homophobe. Yet again, style has eclipsed substance.
What was the gay marriage endorsement really all about? Ignore the timelines about Joe Biden being a loudmouth and follow the money instead. On Monday, the day before the North Carolina vote, the Hollywood Reporter reported that the marriage question was hurting Obama among west coast donors. “It’s safe to say that the longer Obama waits on the issue, the more frustrated the [movie] community will grow with him. Perhaps it won’t cost him their votes, but it might slow the flow of cash and public rally appearances. That concern doesn’t end with Hollywood … One in six of Obama’s so-called bundlers – people who raise money in great stacks for the president’s campaign – is gay, giving the issue great importance in his fiscal game.”
So on Monday, Obama was losing dollars on the Hollywood fundraising circuit. On Wednesday, he endorsed gay marriage. On Thursday, he flew to Hollywood for a fundraiser, where 150 donors paid $40,000 each to meet the Prez at the home of George Clooney. Coincidence?
Wait, there’s more! Within minutes of the ABC interview that broke the endorsement, the Pres Tweeted “Same-sex couples should be able to get married.” Later, he issued a photo of himself making the statement with the word (you guessed it) “history” flashed everywhere. Within 90 minutes, Obama’s re-election campaign had pulled in $1 million in donations, while it quickly rolled out a new attack ad calling Romney “backwards” on gay rights. The Hollywood Reporter again: “On June 6, the president will be at the SLS hotel in Beverly Hills for an LGBT fundraiser featuring a performance by Pink. (A sellout now is virtually guaranteed.) Obama will be at another LBGT fundraiser Monday in New York, featuring a performance by Ricky Martin.”
That’s what Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage was all about – not history, not equality, but prising open George Clooney’s wallet.
Great stuff. Read the whole enchilada here.