Somehow, Obama’s re-entry into campaign politics has changed the political air. The usually relatively moderate and independent are leaning to their familiar sides. High minded debates about the long term future of the nation are taking shape in the nation’s major newspapers. The gay marriage debate, sparked by Biden and then Obama, is far removed from those debates about the structural nature of our country, but speaks to a cultural divide that is noteworthy.
The GOP’s favorite media enforcer of the moment, Florida senator Marco Rubio, has accused Obama of distracting the national discourse from the real issues. Rubio is entirely right that Obama has and will continue to distract from the most substantive and important issues facing the country right now. Student loans was not one of them, that arose organically. I’m also not sure that his recent statement supporting gay marriage was a calculated attempt to distract either. Obama has a case to make as a Democrat and as the personification of modernity.
As Daily Beast columnist David Frum notes, the brand ID of the democrats continues to be one of cultural modernity. Treating homosexuality as taboo is no longer accepted in modern culture. People from every generation have begun to change their attitude of aversion towards homosexuality. For those under 30 the taboo against homosexuality has largely been reversed, with 64 percent supporting gay marriage.
So, in many ways, this issue has increasingly become a matter of accepting modernity rather than a genuine policy disagreement. Young Republicans and independents alike share this perspective and will probably respect Obama for coming out in support of gay marriage. While his new position is likely to do very little with regards to concrete policy changes, it is not, as senator Rubio claimed, some politically motivated attempt to divide America. That rebuttal is one of no substance (in this case, as gay marriage is a legitimate social issue to raise) and reserved for those who find themselves on an increasingly difficult side of an issue.
In this post I said,
“Jobs” based rhetoric is almost always empty. It can tacked on to virtually any piece of spending as an ancillary benefit. Its usage is essentially synonymous with “I think this is a good idea,” which we knew already. I’m perpetually disappointed by virtually everyone’s willingness to let claims about jobs fly. Unfortunately, it is a claim easily backed up with casual logic and debunked by only relatively complex economic logic foreign to nearly everyone.
With “jobs and “the economy” being nearly synonymous in the mainstream media, it should be no surprise that articles are popping up drawing a line between gay marriage and the economy. Absurd? Yes.