Axelrod’s Admission - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Axelrod’s Admission

David Axelrod makes it plain in his new book that President Obama’s opposition to gay marriage was a fraud from the start. Axelrod makes it equally clear that he supported the lie, encouraging Obama to see it as a good politics.

“Gay marriage was a particularly nagging issue. For as long as we had been working together, Obama had felt a tug between his personal views and the politics of gay marriage. As a candidate for the state senate in 1996 from liberal Hyde Park, he signed a questionnaire promising his support for legalization. I had no doubt that this was his heartfelt belief,” Axelrod writes.

Obama told Axelrod, “I just don’t feel my marriage is somehow threatened by the gay couple next door.” But Obama agreed with his advisers that supporting gay marriage publicly would cost him too many votes. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,’” writes Axelrod.

Obama is still trying to deceive people about his stance, as evident in his unconvincing recent attempt to debunk Axelrod’s comments. “I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue,” Obama said to BuzzFeed News. “I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there.”

Under the guise of denying Axelrod’s remarks, Obama here restates them, though casting his lying as respect for “religious sensitivities out there.” That evidently sounds better to him than admitting he lied for votes. Usually opposed to religion in politics, he found it useful to insert religion into his answer about gay marriage, saying at Rick Warren’s forum during the 2008 race, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

That statement didn’t reflect his real religious views. To form his position, he didn’t consult pastors but pollsters — the same ones who would later counsel him to change his position before the 2012 race lest he depress progressive turnout.

Having to maintain this deception posed some problems for candidate Obama, Axelrod writes. “He routinely stumbled over the question when it came up in debates or interviews. ‘I’m just not very good at bulls—ting,’ he said with a sigh after one such awkward exchange.”

This makes it sound as if he restricted his deceiving to gay marriage. He may not have been good at lying to more conservative voters but he did plenty of it, pretending to oppose women in combat (something he now supports) and over-the-counter abortifacients (which he now supports). The McCain campaign made these charades easy for him, as it showed no interest in engaging him on social issues. One of the few times it did, criticizing Obama for supporting sexual education at the primary school level, proved effective. Obama was forced to make an angry denial. The McCain campaign had endless such opportunities to keep Obama on the defensive but decided not to pursue them.

George Bush defeated John Kerry in part on the issue of gay marriage. Kerry opposed gay marriage nominally, but, reflecting his unease with the issue, declined to support state referendums against gay marriage, which ended up costing him a large number of votes. McCain could have put Obama in a similarly awkward spot.

Obama no doubt views Axelrod’s admission with some ambivalence. It confirms that he is a liar but absolves him of once holding a conservative political view. He would like credit for supporting gay marriage all along but not if it means confessing to lies. So he has to present his political opportunism as a great “struggle” in his heart and mind, one that was resolved, he claimed, by talking to his children. In reality, it was resolved by talking to his pollsters, who had concluded by 2012 that he would pay a higher political price for opposing gay marriage than supporting it.

Now Obama is turning to a new lie, one which he hopes the Supreme Court will ratify soon, that no state has a right under the Constitution to stop gay marriage.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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