I was the one making the point that Obama can talk about what he wants to do, just like he talks about wanting to close Gitmo, have a transparent administration, have equal pay between genders, and so on. If he's happy leaving it as a states' rights issue, though, does it really matter what he thinks? Should we believe him when he flops around on the issue as soon as he ramps up his fundraising attempts, or is it more likely that he's just all talk?
It may be due to the campaign coming up, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a cold-hearted plan by Obama or the campaign. At the least, that does not show that marketing was the only calculation involved, even if it were a factor. During campaign season, you get lots of people running around poking for new answers about various issues. It's also possible that the administration wants to change policy but believes the results would be worse than acting more incrementally. The line between good marketing in this case (given that public opinion is moving toward support for gay marriage overall) and honest argument is blurry.
I actually agree the administration should try harder. I've said so elsewhere, and I've been pretty critical on that point. I would actually prefer the government offered the same benefits to everyone, and not just couples or married people. That said, if we're not going to dispose of privileges based upon marriage period, then I'll take sponsorship of same-sex marriage as a start. People can't seem to stop drawing boundaries around households/communities, and for too long the legal
fences have been designed in this society to keep same-sex relationships hidden or restricted.
Regardless, I still wouldn't go so far as to call it "all talk." Maybe it's the specific words, but that implies to me that you think they're being dishonest or making no impact at all. To me, that can come across rather like saying: No one noticed or changed
because Obama is a Black president. Things certainly haven't changed enough or as fast as I might wish, but I do think there is an impact.
It doesn't change current national marriage policy, if that is all
you mean. It may not change the popular opinions of the issue overnight. But it has some real impact on how the debate flows. More people feel they have to answer the question, to begin with. Politicians may find that more organizations are officially rating them on this issue than before. It becomes that much clearer how federal agencies may and may not act under Obama's watch, on areas that are not formal law but they play a part in setting real precedent on related issues. Foreign leaders may take the US a little more seriously when it comes to the question of aid money or in certain areas, intervention or human rights prosecutions possibly being tied (at least in part) to gay rights.
By the way, but.. Personally, I don't care much for the term "flop" (or flip-flop) as it seems to imply there's no principle or logic behind anything. It's acoustically (implies the sound of lightweight objects) and socially (used much more readily in bars than in reports or policy documents) a cheap shot sort of term to me. We can and do have lots of contradictory statements, even action, without necessarily having empty heads in office. I also associate the term historically with its specific origins: the Republicans campaigning v. Kerry, which is when I believe it stuck in the public lexicon. And when I think of that campaign too much it gets even worse, because then
I extend the term to association with things like the Swift Boat group which seem rather crude and distasteful to me.
Thanks for the rest, though. I wasn't going to pick through every post to try to figure out the whole history of the exchange about Reagan, etc. It just all felt off to me.