Married to Obama

Last Thursday evening, President Obama raised a tidy $1.4 million for his re-election campaign at a private Washington fundraiser hosted by a lesbian couple from Chicago. The event inspired an unusually tart headline at ABC News: “Obama, No Same-Sex Marriage Supporter, Solicits Cash at Home of Lesbian Couple.” But the apparent contradiction came as little surprise to the LGBT community, which has seen the president tap the “gay-TM” freely and frequently while he continues to oppose marriage equality. The fundraising efforts have been stepped up in 2012, with Obama touting the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and his administration’s refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court as reason enough for LGBT donors to keep giving. His campaign’s finance director, Rufus Gifford, is gay, and its finance committee, which had one gay member in 2008, was reported last year to have 15.

In addition, the campaign has assembled a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Council with donors who pledge to raise at least $350,000 each for his re-election. Apparently these generous souls are less troubled than many queer folk by Obama’s unwillingness to back marriage equality—even as polls show that most Americans now favor it. The president did tell liberal bloggers in October 2010 that his views on same-sex marriage were “evolving.” But that’s as far as he’s gone, as Obama repeatedly says that the issue should be decided by individual states, not at the federal level. If last week’s Prop 8 ruling had been more sweeping, declaring marriage discrimination unconstitutional, the president might have been forced to declare what many suspect is his real—as opposed to politically convenient—view. The decision was narrow, however—and with the emergence of  Rick Santorum, the nation’s leading anti-gay politician, as a possible Republican nominee, the president may calculate that he can have overwhelming LGBT support in November while his “evolution” continues. And he will surely be right. 

So They Say

“I think it’s really important for you to understand what this radical element represents, because what they represent is true intolerance.”

Rick Santorum, expressing his view of Occupiers as two were removed from a campaign event in Tacoma, Washington

Daily Meme: Santorum, Seriously

  • His poll numbers just keep rising.  
  • He tries to upgrade to a grown-up platform to match his grown-up poll numbers. 
  • John Cassidy: "I will continue to reassure myself that he is ultimately a trivial candidate, which… justifies more “Rick is for real” articles."
  • Jonathan Chait: “Unlike previous Romney opponents of the past, Santorum is not a pure clown, and it’s far from clear that he’d have a harder time beating Obama.”
  • Ramesh Ponnuru: He will be “harder to dispatch” than the other not-Romneys. 
  • BuzzFeed: Romney's new plan to attack Santorum could make his offensive against Gingrich “look like mere love taps." 

What We're Writing

  • Comedian-in-Chief: Patrick Caldwell reports on the encouraging poll numbers for Roseanne Barr’s presidential bid. 
  • Inexplicable: Jamelle Bouie marvels at Santorum’s ascendance.  

What We're Reading

Poll of the Day

In the Massachusetts Senate race, incumbent Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren are in a virtual tie.

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