"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that 'don't ask, don't tell' is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,"- US President Barack Obama, in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America, 9th May 2012
Game Over, Obama.
At one fell swoop, Obama has killed his campaign for the 2012 Presidential Elections before it has even began.
Political dialogue in the United States is unlike in Australia where there is a pretence of a left-right split (apart from the ABC we have an almost entirely centre-right to right media landscape); because the whole political spectrum is so far right-shifted, instead of economic discussion, the loudest voices yelling into the void are the so called "religious-right" and the "liberal-left".
Anyone who spends more than about a week in the United States and gets a chance to read through the newspapers or watch the news on television, quickly realises how myopic and narrow-minded political discussion is. It's more akin to watching the two sets of supporters of Rangers and Celtic yelling abuse at each other, except that after 90 minutes, Rangers and Celtic fans go home. American media for whatever reason almost refuses to report on what goes on in the rest of the world except when it happens to aid the political fight at home.
Thrown into this, the "religious-right" who choose to label themselves as "conservative" will rail against issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage with such venom and bile, that they are able to shape the rest of political dialogue. This is really quite strange considering that the same group of people also generally support the use of torture, using the military to bomb any country which disagrees with them back to the stone age, and enact policies which actively ensure that poorer people are unable to attain basic medical care, afford a decent education or pull themselves out of poverty.
Basically whilst the "religious-right" in the US bandstand on issues which are both deliberately provocative and marketable, they represent one half of a very very toxic mix.
The "liberal-left" on the other hand, represents a very vocal set of disjointed interest groups which appear to be in stark opposition to the "religious-right". Standing under the banner of "choice" they hold out freedom of choice with regards to issues like abortion, same-sex marriage as though if you do not happen to agree with them, then you should by rights be either ridiculed mercilessly or preferably kicked to death in the town square.
Unfortunately, such viewpoints because media travels so easily, spills over into other countries like Australia, Canada, the UK etc, and any chance of actual discussion is drowned out.
Numerically speaking there are more people who are "religious-right" wing-nuts than there are "liberal-left" wing-nuts and because voting is not compulsory in the United States, the voting turnout is made up of more wing-nuts and fundies on both sides of the political divide than in Australia. Apathetic people don't make their voice heard in the United States whereas in Australia, at very least they're required to show up at a polling place on voting day.
Simply by sheer weight of numbers, I think Obama will lose the job of President in November and it won't be because of a political track record or even any real shift in policy but rather a couple of dozen words which might not even have any relevance to the campaign at all...
...which was a pity because Obama probably is/was/will be the most sensible candidate for the job of President.
PS: For the record, I still don't see the actual utility in allowing Same-Sex Marriages at law. (Horse 1096)