The Audacity of Cynicism

President Barack Obama’s announcement of support for gay marriage was roundly hailed in progressive circles.  However, it has the look and feel of yet another identity politics play designed to distract from the economy, which is still the real driver in this election.

Media reaction was swift and predictable.  Press coverage returned to fine 2008 form, meaning the excessive use of such words as “unprecedented” and “historic” and the return of the collective leg tingle.  More than anything, the coverage seemed like a return to the glorious days of 2008- before Obama had a record to defend and an economy to account for.

For all the talk of “evolution”, this nothing than a return to form.  BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski reports that Obama was on the record as having endorsed gay marriage in 1996, and going against in 2004, during the Senate campaign that launched him into national politics.  So what was this really about?

This was about money, and about gathering the base…pure and simple.  Vice President Joe Biden’s extemporaneous remarks placed enormous pressure on the White House in advance of the North Carolina vote and this week’s Hollywood fundraising swing (staring tonight at George Clooney’s home).  There’s no way that Obama attends Monday’s Ricky Martin-headlined NYC gala with this hanging over his head. 

Obama’s gay marriage announcement is nothing more than the latest in a long string of cynical identity-politics distractions intended to rally the base.  In short order, we’ve gone from Flukegate to his insertion into the Trayvon Martin case to this (and the DOJ just filed its suit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, lest anyone wonder where the next play was coming from).  How do I know that?  Because the Washington Post immediately dropped a piece which suggests that Mitt Romney bullied a fellow high-school student based partly on perceived sexual orientation.  It’s like the story was waiting for the announcement.  Again, a divisive narrative.  Again, Breitbart was right.

As Election Day approaches, we can expect more and more distractions built upon the false constructs of class warfare and ethnoracial grievance.  But the smokescreens will eventually dissipate, and Obama’s record will inevitably come to the forefront.  The distractions are running out, and time’s almost up.

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