You simply must read Allahpundit's coverage of this defection parade. It's hilarious. He's even got a half-joking pool running on which Senate Democrat will be the next to "evolve," and when the announcement will come. Republican Senator Rob Portman opened the floodgates earlier this month by announcing his support for same-sex marriage (he has a gay son), touching off a stampede of Democrats into the SSM camp. Among those who have abruptly changed their minds literally within the last two days : Claire McCaskill, Mark Warner, Mark Begich, and now Jon Tester. Who's next? AP has his suspicions:
According to Time mag, there are just six Dem senators left who are “evolving” on SSM. (Manchin, Pryor, Heitkamp, and Johnson told Time recently that they’re still firmly opposed, so I’m not including them here.) I want a name and a time: Among Bob Casey, Bill Nelson, Tom Carper, Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, and Joe Donnelly, who’s the next to “evolve” and when? I’ll take Carper at 4:47 p.m. ET.
He's already off on the exact time, but give it a few hours. Of the four listed above who've already flipped, the only one who's really out on any sort of limb is Begich. He's up for re-election in Alaska next year, and will probably face a spirited challenge. Warner's looking mighty secure in his race (plus, his new Virginian colleague, Tim Kaine, endorsed same-sex marriage and managed to get himself elected last year). Tester and McCaskill faced tough re-election prospects in the 2012 cycle, and -- coincidentally! -- both kept their "evolution" under wraps until after they faced voters. I happen to hold fairly center-left views on these issues myself, but the cynicism on display here is a sight to behold. Anyway, here's Allahpundit upbraiding McCaskill over the ostensible rationale behind her switch:
Like her pal Barack, her stance on SSM shifted at some point in the fairly distant past but she kept her mouth shut about it lest it jeopardize her precious Senate seat. At least The One came clean about his beliefs before he faced the voters a second time (thanks in part to inadvertent pressure from Joe Biden). McCaskill lied and lied all the way through, and only now that she doesn’t have to face her reddish state’s voters again for six years has she summoned the courage to speak up. You’re a real hero, Claire...Rob Portman, who took a much bigger political risk than McCaskill by endorsing gay marriage last week, drew mostly sneers from the left over the fact that he didn’t switch his position until the issue was brought home to him by his own son’s sexuality. Yet here’s one of their own claiming that the reason she flipped is because she couldn’t look her gay friends in the eye anymore as a purported opponent of SSM, and she’ll skate. There’s your daily reminder that the reason so many Democrats engage in this charade about “evolving views” rather than take a stand and state their beliefs forthrightly is because their pro-gay-rights base happily indulges the lying in the name of winning elections.
Speaking of lying in the name of winning elections, check out this BuzzFeed piece about the time Bill Clinton urged John Kerry to endorse gay marriage bans in 2004. The public was widely opposed to the practice at the time and there was an election to be won, dammit. Both Bill and Hillary are now in favor of gay marriage -- genuine and heartfelt conversions, I'm sure. Which brings us back to the man who performed the ultimate careerist double-backflip on this issue: Barack Obama. When he was an obscure liberal running for state-level office in a Left-wing Chicago district in the 1996, Obama was in favor of gay marriage:
When his star began to rise -- along with his national ambitions -- marriage conveniently reverted to a union "between one man and one woman" in his mind He stuck to this new position throughout the 2008 campaign, famously affirming his support for traditional marriage at Rick Warren's Saddleback forum:
Then, after Biden prematurely let the cat out of the bag (and public opinion had lurched several pegs to the left), Obama saw fit to re-endorse gay marriage. He spoke as if he'd reached this conclusion after much soul-searching and deliberation, going so far as to claim that the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard played a significant role in his personal "evolution" the question. But in embracing same-sex marriage last year, Obama merely returned to his previous position on the issue. The 1996 candidate survey embedded above explicitly stated, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages." Obama signed that document two years before Shepard's tragic death. Think about that. Seriously, consider the abject cynicism of Obama's manipulative decision to invoke Shepard's memory in this context, given his own -- shall we say, complicated -- timeline on gay rights. In the coming months and years, I suspect we'll see a steady bipartisan migration toward increased legal recognition and rights for same sex couples. Some of these political migrants will have authentically changed their minds, many others will simply be following the expediency calculus. But only Barack Obama could pull off a mind-bending pro/anti/pro maneuver and actually be applauded for his "courage."
UPDATE - Obama defenders will insist that he wasn't aware of the 1996 survey, which didn't accurately reflect his views at the time. Excuse me, but whose signature is that at the bottom of the page? State Senate candidates generally aren't known for using auto-pens to sign things. Another piece of context: Obama also lied about a separate controversial 1996 survey, in which he signaled support for a number of far-Left causes. His 2008 presidential campaign said Obama himself had never actually seen that questionnaire and blamed the confusion on low-level staffers...that is, until Politico found an original copy of the survey. Guess who'd scribbled handwritten notes on a piece of paper he'd supposedly never handled? Surprise. Funny how nothing that complicates a chosen Obama narrative is ever his responsibility, isn't it?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography