Jewish World Review May 15, 2012/ 23 Iyar, 5772
Obama Has a Halo; Newsweek Has No Shame
By Bernard Goldberg
The slobbering never ends.
Let's get a few things straight (I didn't mean it that way). Barack Obama was for same sex marriage before he was against it. And he was against it before he was for it for the second time.
Back in 1996, when he was running for the Illinois state senate, Barack Obama filled out a questionnaire from a gay and lesbian newspaper and said: "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." He was unequivocal. He said not a word about civil unions.
Then when he was running for president realizing that he would have to throw his principles under the bus in order to win the election he was no longer in favor of same-sex marriage, but favored . . . civil unions.
Now, he's for same same-sex marriage, again, telling Robin Roberts of ABC News, "It is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."
Despite his full support for gay marriage, the president said it should be up to the states to decide what to do about gay marriage.
But if it's a matter of decency and equality for all, why not push for a federal law legalizing same-sex marriage? The answer is obvious: it wouldn't be politically prudent not now when he's running for re-election.
Every now and then rarely to be sure a politician comes along whom we can proudly call a profile in courage. Barack Obama is not one of them. He's for same-sex marriage when he thinks it will help him politically. And he's against it when he thinks it will hurt him politically.
And wasting no time to turn his most recent stance into a political wedge issue, he told a fundraiser at George Clooney's house that his current position is "a logical extension of what America is supposed to be." And he made sure everybody knew that he was on the right side of history while the Republicans weren't. His position, he said, "grew directly out of this difference in visions: Are we a country that includes everybody and give everybody a shot and treats everybody fairly?"
The president and his loyal supporters in the media call his different views on gay marriage part of his evolution on the subject even though evolution usually goes in one direction, not back and forth. Of course, if a conservative Republican "evolved" this way, reporters would call it flip-flopping.
For what it's worth, I agree with the president regarding same-sex marriage. I'm also for it. But I understand that for many Americans, marriage is the institution that forms the basis of our culture and our civilization and it should only be between one man and one woman.
Government support of gay marriage, of course, should not infringe on what religious institutions choose to do. If the Church is against gay marriage, that's up to the Church. Priests and ministers are under no obligation to perform same-sex weddings.
We live in a big country with diverse values. Reasonable people, as the saying goes, may disagree.
But on this there should be no disagreement: President Obama is not a transformational figure in American politics. He is not the messiah Newsweek thinks he is with a halo over his head. He "evolved" in 2012 right back to where he was in 1996 which makes him nothing more than old style Chicago politician.
Let's hope the American people "evolve" him out of office and send him back to Chicago.
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JWR contributor Bernard Goldberg, the television news reporter and author of several bestselling books, among them, Bias, a New York Times number one bestseller about how the media distort the news. He is widely seen as one of the most original writers and thinkers in broadcast journalism. Mr. Goldberg covered stories all over the world for CBS News and has won 10 Emmy awards for excellence in journalism. He now reports for the widely acclaimed HBO broadcast Real Sports.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a member of the school's Hall of Distinguished Alumni and proprietor of BernardGoldberg.com.
© 2011, Bernard Goldberg