Marriage-gate continues

Here’s ABC’s Jake Tapper’s excellent questioning of White House spokesman Jay Carney, re VP Biden’s embrace of gay marriage and the White House’s subsequent panic.

Steve Kornacki writes over at Salon that Joe Biden might be positioning himself for a 2016 presidential run:

[I]f positioning himself for ’16 is on Biden’s mind, then the politics of gay marriage are much different for them than they are for his boss, who will (presumably) never run for office again after 2012 and is interested only in maximizing his appeal to this year’s general election swing voters. Biden has to worry about this year too, obviously, but to be a contender for ’16, he needs to build and sustain as much goodwill as possible with his party’s base. And by now, rank-and-file Democrats are far, far ahead of the Obama White House when it comes to gay marriage.

The pace of the public’s evolution on the issue is kind of amazing. Just eight years ago, when a Supreme Court decree in Massachusetts thrust gay marriage into the Bush/Kerry debate, an NBC News Wall Street Journal poll found that voters overwhelmingly opposed its legalization by a 62 to 30 percent margin. Two months ago, the same poll found plurality support for gay marriage, 49 to 41 percent. Among Democrats, according to the newest NBC/WSJ numbers, support now stands at 67 percent – up from barely over 50 percent in 2008. At this rate, the number could be well over 75 percent by the time the ’16 race formally kicks off.

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post has more about why the White House position, and postering, on marriage is seriously messed up:

But in a way, the confusion over what Biden meant is exactly the point, and again reminds us that Obama’s position just won’t wash. Obama’s claim that he’s evolving on the issue, and his very good record on gay rights generally, has paradoxically made it harder for Obama to continue holding out against gay marriage. His “evolving” position and overall record have left gay advocates fully persuaded that he does favor full equality for gay and lesbian Americans, increasing impatience for him to say so already, and making them all the more certain that his failure to do so is rooted in nothing but political calculation.

All this ends up making it an even bigger deal when someone like Biden seems to be completing that evolution, even if he isn’t. Obama’s good record on gay rights has only served to raise the stakes on his failure to get it right on the issue that goes perhaps most directly to the heart of whether gays and lesbians will have full equality in this country. And so when Axelrod observes accurately that there’s a very a clear contrast between the two men on gay rights, while qualifying it by reminding us that neither Obama nor Biden is prepared to support full equality, it only risks angering people more.

Liz Goodwin at Yahoo weighs in too:

“I just think it becomes very hard for the White House to finesse this much longer,” said Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton on gay rights in his second term. “We’re having a national discussion about this important issue about the way we treat our citizens, and the president can’t be on the sidelines.”

Socarides said it’s “unbelievable” to say Biden wasn’t endorsing gay marriage on Sunday. In his comments, Biden added that he doesn’t know whether Obama would support same-sex marriage in a second term. The vice president said his feelings changed on the subject after meeting gay families. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said on MSNBC Monday morning that he also thinks same-sex couples should be legally allowed to marry, joining fellow Cabinet member HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who has also publicly backed gay marriage.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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