Thursday, May 10, 2012


Right-wingers instantly settled on "Flip-flopper!" as their principal line of attack after President Obama declared himself in favor of gay marriage -- the word "war" was taken out of that Fox Nation headline, but it went from "Obama Flip Flops, Declares War on Marriage" to "Obama Flip Flops on Gay Marriage," and Rush Limbaugh whined the same talking point ("So when Obama flip-flops, it's called 'evolving.' When Romney evolves, it's called 'flip-flopping'").

But here's the thing: we're used to seeing people change their minds about homosexuality. An awful lot of older Americans had to go through an evolution of thinking before they were able to see gay people as fully human and worthy of respect. (That's true even of people who are gay themselves and who internalized society's contempt.) Fewer young people have had to go through this (although it's not as if homophobia is nonexistent among the young) -- but even young people who've never had a struggle on this issue have watched plenty of people struggle and evolve, quite possibly including their own parents and grandparents.

You can't say the same thing about, oh, say, the bailout of Detroit, or universal health care coverage with an individual mandate, or many of the other things Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on. Nobody grew up hearing picked-on kids being called "auto bailer-outers," only to realize years later that auto bailer-outers are human beings worthy of respect. Obama's changed position on an issue that taps into deep feelings people have about themselves and others; Romney flip-flops on ... well, pretty much anything.

And even when Romney flip-flops on more profound issues -- gay rights in general, abortion -- he's self-righteous on both sides of the issue. Here he is on abortion in 2002:

He's self-righteous on the other side now -- as he's been self-righteous on multiple sides of multiple issues. Obama used to oppose gay marriage, but he was never a self-righteous opponent. It's different.

So, no, the "Obama flip-flopper" dog won't hunt.

(X-posted at Booman Tribune.)


UPDATE: Paul Waldman of The American Prospect has very similar thoughts.


Victor said...

Mitt's people accusing Obama of being a flip=flopper is like the pot accusing the kettle of being "blah."
(I admit, that would be funnier if Santorum were the flip-flopper).

And Mitt's not a flip-flopper.

Oh no! He spins like an opportunistic top.

Ten Bears said...

Twenty odd years ago I came down ou of the woods, a wild eyed long haired hell raising harley riding helicopter logger, and went to school. The industry was dying and I had the opportunity to go to college and "learn something". I learned a great deal... that gay girls aren't all rich little white girls shocking daddy, or that not all the gay guys wanted to fuck me. It was probably the cornerstone of my "mid-life" education.

So much so that a party was recently throw on my behalf in gratitude for my making it perfectly clear to some wannbe redneck newcomer around here - a Tourorist - just exactly what I was going to do it if it didn't leave those two girls alone. Weird being the only "straight" at a gay party, but it was fun... good beer, good food, good weed.

Yes, "it". It, isn't Human, it is less than human, an animal. Ask a combat vet sometime what we learn when we first encounter "the enemy", and why.