Once again, President Obama leads from behind. Vice President Joe Biden (the first major decision Obama made before being elected) committed the ‘oopsie’ by spilling the beans on same-sex marriage. And boy, this guy does not stop making gaffes, speaking his mind out of the blue, and creating some serious trouble for the President. Biden forced the President to do what he basically knows best – react.
Not that Obama took a dramatic turn, or as reported, evolved on the issue of same sex marriage. As Buzzfeed reports, Obama had the same position in 1996, before he opposed it in 2008. My observation is that Obama will do anything possible to energize the base, to get liberals out to vote, by diverting the conversation and taking a lead on some issue that matters to them as an ideology but not as a mainstream, citizen-caring theme.
Mitt Romney successfully defeated his primary rivals largely by running a disciplined campaign centering around a dominating issue – the state of the economy. Romney’s strength against Obama is his ability to draw a sharp contrast with the President’s experience on job creation, the economy, and operating the federal government. Americans are mostly concerned with jobs and the economy.
Obama ain’t dumb; he’s at least as clever as me. Obama and his campaign observed over the past month the President’s eroding support among key elements and voting blocs (which contributed to his 2008 victory). The only way out was to avoid defending his record and go on offense – to portray his opponent as out of touch and energize the Obama base by giving them the needed red meat.
As brilliant as they might be, for every trap Messina and Axelrod set for Romney, he avoided them. And the only spin that seems to work or at least pick up traction is the same sex marriage issue. (Social issues handed Bush a second term.)
Romney and we Republicans must not fall into same-sex marriage trap. (Obama tried to rally his supporters by spiking the Osama Bin Laden football and it didn’t work.) Why help Obama unite his base, which in my eyes is more fractured than the GOP base? Look at what happened with Judd’s 42% in West Virginia’s primary and the 200K votes against the President in North Carolina.
We must continue to examine and hammer Obama’s record, not his evolving positions or fresh baked promises. Obama is the incumbent who must pay the price for not leading this country in the right direction. And only if we draw that sharp contrast on fiscal issues and appeal to the broader suffering base will we be able to carry that message through to November and replace the Obama administration for good.
We should not debate Obama’s every whim.