Just a little garnish to Noah’s post to remind you how shameless this guy was in lying about gay marriage for his own political advantage. This clip comes from the Saddleback Forum on social issues with McCain held three months before the 2008 election. The moderator is Rick Warren. He’s telling a baldfaced lie about what he believes as a Christian — to a minister. Inside a church. Even by my nonbeliever standards, that’s an impressive display of irreligion. To think, some people suspect The One is a closet atheist. (Maybe Axelrod’s saving that revelation for his next book.)
Noah noted that this particular Obama lie is special in that it involves a lie about his faith. Joel Pollak develops that point at Breitbart:
In 2004, he said: “What I believe, in my faith, is that a man and a woman, when they get married, are performing something before God, and it’s not simply the two persons who are meeting.” He repeated that claim during the 2008 presidential campaign and beyond, citing his understanding of “traditional definitions of marriage.” Those assurances came after Obama had initially backed gay marriage in 1996.
“Obama Misled Nation” is almost a perennial headline–it applies to nearly everything the president does. Yet it is important to be clear about the nature of this particular lie.
Obama did not just pretend not to hold a controversial position. He pretended to hold that view as a matter of his Christian faith. He lied about his most sincere religious convictions–and much of his senior staff lied along with him.
And they have no shame about it. That’s the interesting thing about Axelrod confirming now that O’s gay-marriage position was a lie all along. Anyone who paid attention to politics knew he was lying at the time: Obama’s an archetypal Ivory Tower liberal, as absolutist as they come in supporting abortion rights, for instance. There wasn’t a Christian man or woman in America in 2008 apart from Obama himself who claimed that legalized late-term abortion was consistent with their faith but not two men being legally married. His position was always an obvious joke, although not so obvious that lots of low-information voters who don’t follow this stuff closely couldn’t have been duped by it. And now here’s Ax admitting that duping them was the point all along, a way of reassuring social cons worried that Obama was an archetypal Ivory Tower liberal that no, in fact he was a God-fearing Christian man on certain issues — a nonideological “pragmatist,” not a scary lefty. The gay-marriage lie was crucial to developing his supposedly post-partisan brand, something Obama apparently valued above honesty about his own religious beliefs. And it meant willfully denying voters a fully informed choice about their next president. Go figure that a guy who’s pushed the envelope on executive action, and who delayed his mega-amnesty for adult illegals until a few weeks after the midterms, would be contemptuous of the electorate.
Somehow none of this was shameful enough to convince Axelrod that maybe this should remain his and Obama’s little secret. I wonder how he justifies that to himself. Probably it’s a means-ends calculation: Their agenda on this issue was to advance gay rights, and if they needed to lie about that agenda to gain the power they needed to advance it, well, it’s all for The Cause. Nobody was hurt by it in the end … except the Christian SSM opponents who voted for Obama on false pretenses. And who cares about them?
The other interesting thing about the clip is how O slips into a defense of civil unions as an alternative to gay marriage. That was, and remains, a common position among religious believers: There’s nothing wrong with granting gay couples the same legal rights as married couples but “marriage” is a religious tradition designed for men and women. Among Obama’s base, though, that logic is glaringly discriminatory. Roping off an institution formally recognized by the state for straights only is a form of segregation; to them, what Obama’s endorsing here is separate but equal, subjecting gays to a stigma for the sake of stigma. At NRO, parroting the hyperbole that more excitable gay-marriage supporters are prone to, Kevin Williamson and Ed Whelan call this Obama’s “Bull Connor” moment. And yet this too is something Axelrod seemingly expects everyone to shrug away. O didn’t just lie in a matter of his faith, he lied by taking the wrong side of what his own party regards as the modern answer to the civil rights movement. Maybe that’s why Ax decided to tell the truth about this in his book. It wasn’t (just) a matter of shamelessness about the deception, it was a matter of signaling to historians who are right now clearing their throats before assessing Obama’s “legacy” that he was a true-blue pro-gay progressive all along. This way, when Hollywood makes a Selma-esque movie about gay marriage in 20 years, the producers can include a scene of Obama assuring his inner circle in the Oval Office that he’s been on team blue the whole time.
For further reading, enjoy HuffPo’s collection of 16 times that he lied his balls off to voters about opposing gay marriage.