TalkingPointsMemo has a story up* that seems counter-intuitive at first, arguing that the referendum in Colorado to legalize marijuana might hurt President Obama. After all, when measures banning gay marriage have appeared on state ballots, it’s helped the GOP. So the pot measure should bring out younger voters, who will vote both for the measure and for Obama, who won Colorado in 2008 by 9%.
But it looks as if the pot measure might help Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate who supports legalization of marijuana. Yesterday’s PPP poll (which leans Dem) showed Johnson getting 6% among likely voters in Colorado. That poll showed Obama over Romney by 6% with just the two of them in the race, but only 4% with Johnson included.
Today’s Quinnipiac/CBS News/NYT Colorado poll, which didn’t include Johnson, shows Mitt up over Obama, 50 to 45%.
It will be a little weird if Colorado votes for both Mitt and pot.
* “Poll: Colorado Pot Amendment Could Pass — And Hurt Obama,” Tom Kludt
“I think the president this past week took six or seven states he carried in 2008 and put them in play with this one ill-conceived position [support for gay marriage] that he’s taking.” Gary Bauer on CNN.
“I’ve gotten calls from pastors across the nation, white and black pastors, who have said, ‘You know what? I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore.'” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, also on CNN.
I don’t agree with Bauer and Perkins on much, but I worry that these two far-right leaders are onto something.
Voters don’t want to have settled matters, like contraception, re-opened and re-litigated. But they don’t want to have unsettled matters treated as if they’re a done deal either. You have to meet voters where they are, and you can’t drag them back into the past like Mitt or into the future like Obama.
It just occurred to me that gay marriage is like Obamacare.
If you ask people if they like major components of Obamacare, like letting children stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26 or making sure that those with preexisting conditions get insurance, people say yes. But when you ask people if they like Obamacare, a majority says no.
Similarly, if you ask people whether gay couples should have particular rights that spouses normally have, such as hospital visitation, they say yes. But when you ask people if they support gay marriage, many more say no than on the individual benefits.
In both cases, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and in a way that hurts President Obama and helps Mitt.
When Mitt spoke at the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University today, where he didn’t utter the word “Mormon,” the only standing ovation he got during his address was when he said that marriage is between one man and one woman. I don’t know that the comment would have generated a standing ovation if President Obama hadn’t just come out for gay marriage.
Before 1980, many Evangelicals didn’t vote. Their pastors told them that politics was sinful and to avoid it. Even now, their turnout is always in question. Will they show up? They turned out for Bush 43, whom they saw as one of them despite his High Episcopal Connecticut roots, for John McCain, not so much.
In this year’s primaries and caucuses, Evangelicals didn’t support Mitt. There’s been some concern about whether they will vote for a Mormon in November. Not that they’ll support Obama instead, ain’t gonna happen, but that they’ll stay home.
But Obama’s support for gay marriage may have done for Mitt what he hasn’t been able to do for himself. It may have gotten the Evangelicals enthusiastic about turning out.
Look, politics aside, ideology aside, this Mitt person is way more pathetic than he is presidential.
Yesterday, he told Neil Cavuto of Fox News that he “if two people of the same gender want…to adopt a child…in my view, that’s something that people have a right to do.”
When I heard it yesterday, I was shocked, but I also knew it wouldn’t stand because it’s not where the GOP base is, and he won’t dare stand up to them.
And sure enough, today he backed off, saying that he doesn’t personally support gay adoption, he “simply acknowledge[s] the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.” But that wasn’t what he said yesterday. Yesterday, he said “in my view.”
The president has to be able to think clearly and coherently. Agree with him or not, he has to make sense, he can’t make it up as he goes along. He can’t constantly change positions every 24 hours. Mitt is incapable of doing that.
I think that by November, the effects will be diminished, but a new Gallup poll shows that President Obama’s support of gay marriage is hurting him.
26% said it would make them less likely to vote for him, while only 13% said it would make them more likely to do so.
The President needs Independents to win, and 23% of them said they were less likely to vote for him.
On long car trips, kids get impatient and keep asking, “Are we there yet?” On gay marriage, I would say we’re not there yet, and what would be fine in 2016 could help bring us President Romney in 2012.