People have asked what Obama could possibly have been thinking to announce the final step in his "evolution" in favor of same-sex marriage right after another state resoundingly rejected the notion and despite the fact that most Americans oppose it.
Whether or not Joe Biden forced Obama's hand on the issue, which I doubt, there is little question that Obama was going to make the announcement. The only question was when.
Many assume he decided to do it before the election to increase his fundraising among Hollywood liberals and other leftists. But all the funds in the world might not help if you are going to campaign on policies that are unpopular with the voters. So what gives?
The question isn't how popular same-sex marriage is; it's what percentage of people will pick their presidential candidate based on Obama's announced change in position.
Everyone paying attention knew already that Obama favors same-sex marriage, and his actions -- which should speak louder than his words -- have strongly supported it, as his Justice Department has been at war against states outlawing the practice. Only certain trusting and naive people believed Obama when he said he was evolving -- as opposed to pretending to oppose same-sex marriage for political reasons until he decided to make his announcement.
But his announcement did embolden and energize the LGBT community and its strong advocates. It looks as though it sparked an increase in his fundraising, at least for now, and it is likely that it will help intensify his turnout among social liberals and other strong leftists.
What about the downside? How many people did he alienate with this move? Well, some are saying that he threw the black community under the bus in favor of his gay constituency. But I'm betting Obama is banking on the fact that it will take a lot more than that to keep blacks from voting for him. So he took a calculated and probably minimal risk there.
How about nonblack Democrats who still consider themselves social conservatives? Obama's militant support of abortion didn't alienate too many of them, and neither will this.