Gay Marriage Politics

From the NYTimes:

President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage on Wednesday was by any measure a watershed.

…Mr. Obama faces considerable risk in jumping into this debate, reluctantly or not, in the heat of what is expected to be a close election.

As of today, however, Intrade shrugged it off; that could mean the issue won’t play much of a role or that the political forces are equally balanced but that volatility could be higher in the future. My guess is the former, a lot of talk but when it comes to swing votes no action. We have come a long way.



Nice correlation with the SPY there.

Some truly bizarre political theater.

Who are these people who they need to think that Obama is agonizing over this stuff?

The ones who have agonized over it themselves. The older ones who discover later in life that a close friend or a child is gay and have trouble accepting it, but generally (these days) do.

i think obama lost rush limbaugh's vote

It could backfire. For me it was like when someone dies and you already thought they were dead. The moderate-left might be like "whatzat, I thought this was already a done deal, who is this guy?"

Were you expressing a likelihood or is that what you wish will happen?

Neither. It's unlikely and I don't care because our choice is between douche and doucher.

Douchest for President!

NYT - "Watershed!"

So is the back wall of a urinal



"the --- endorsement __ was a "watershed"

Wow! Obama is for SSM. I am flabbergasted! I would never have guessed. When will these suprises end. For more spending, for bigger government, for redistribution of wealth. These shocking revelations never seem to stop coming. Flabbergasted I tell you!

>>"was by any measure a watershed."

Except for the measure where gay marriage actually becomes more legal, and happens more often. You forgot about that one, NYT. If that one matters at all to you.

The powers that be cannot permit the fairy tale du jour to be about real issues: jobs, economic malaise, debased dollar, Main Street crashing, sky-rocketing food/fuel prices, Wall Street thriving, etc.

They will do everything necessary to divert you the sheeple from reality.

Here is a future by.any.measure.a.watershed: Using recently coined statistical conventions, by early 2022 the Ministry of Truth will report (WATERSHED!!!) zero unemployment rate.

You can call her tail a leg. Your bitch still has only four legs.

Wait for the real headline
Romney comes out in favor of

Noooo! Romney thought you were talking about Big Amy, the girl who worked down the hall.

I know that either Romney or Obama had a bigamist father, but I forget which one.

Could anyone here please remind me whether it is Romney or Obama that had a bigamist father? Thanks.

Just wondering, but why does this matter?

You need to ask Bill.

They, and you, if your genealogy went back to pre historic times, had bigamist ancestors. And some were even prosecuted for their beliefs even if they didn't practice it.

Plus, we're all of African descent. I've heard this sort of ancestral claim can really help your law school career.

Romney had a bigamist great grandfather.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) allows some men three wives. The rest devote their lives to mass murder; rapine; and 72 virgins in Paradise.

The real headline will be when Obama eats Bo.

Would that fit Michelle's healthy eating image?

That's a tough call. On the one hand, according to his autobiography, Obama has experience in shoving black women, especially the "dark" ones. OTOH, she's a lot bigger than he is. Not sure how that's going to play out, maybe Rezko can work out a deal for them.

First of all, this sudden announcement of the president's "evolution" on the matter is bulllllsshiiiiiiit, did anybody believe that Obama didn't support SSM the whole time and was just waiting for a politically expedient time to announce it? and got forced into it by Biden et al. over the past week? Anyway, whatever, better late than never. I'm not going to fault the guy too hard for finally doing the right thing.

Anyway. The political result is going to depend mainly on what this does to each side's enthusiasm. Everyone who is an SSM supporter is already voting for Obama, so this isn't going to win him any more supporters. What it might do, is make some of the unenthusiastic people on the left actually get out there and vote for him this fall. And on the right, it might make some of the Christianists (yeah I use a Sullivan word, deal with it) who are decidedly not fired up for their Mormon candidate, get out there and vote for Romney (or at least, vote against Obama).

The most likely outcome is that this specific announcement won't have a very big effect at all. This election is more about the economy than social issues.

Just my view as an observer of U.S. politics (noncitizen, living in Boston).

Rule of thumb: If Joe Biden comes to you with a sneaky scheme requiring him to be subtle and coy, run, don't walk in the other direction.


Aha, I see. As The Joker said, if you are good at something, never give it away for free.

+1 to Rich

The most recent NYT magazine had a piece about how Obama is collecting far less from Wall Street this time around than in 2008, unsurprisingly. So the Dems have to lean harder on their traditional money bases: Hollywood, unions, gays. For one or two of those groups this will bring out the bigger checks.

Hey, some of my best donors are gay!

What kind of donors?

Look, I have nothing against political donors as long as they stay on their side of the tracks. But would you want your daughter marrying one?

If she was hot and they let me watch.

I think Team Obama also will try to use this to galvanize the youth vote.

He is, in fact, fundraising in Seattle as I type this.

(Incidentally, the residents of the city's gay neighborhood are the ones inconvenienced the most off by all of the street closures required for today's fundraisers.)

No reaction because everyone already knew what his position was...this issue was already baked into people's perception of Obama.

If a market doesn't react to a piece of news, then the usual commentator's reaction is that it was already priced in.

Surely the only question about Obama was whether he'd say this before or after election day?

InTrade's a really horrible predictive market for the US Presidential election. US citizen's aren't allowed to buy shares (it's considered internet gambling) and thus the site will not accept US Credit or Debit cards. How accurate can a market be when it excludes the bulk of those most knowledgeable about the situation? I suspect the results are heavily skewed by a large proportion of out of local market traders.

There's also the large gap in the market. The last time I looked Obama was listed as 60% chance of winning and Romney as a 36% chance of winning. I can't imagine there's a 4% chance of somebody else winning at this point. Given access to the market I'd be very tempted to buy equal numbers of Obama and Romney shares for a small, but likely pay off.

The 4% is the risk factor that the Fed will do something calamitous and thus sweep Ron Paul to power.

Both candidates are old enough to have heart attacks. Now, the chances that some sort of event that produces a similar outcome actually occurs are probably less than 4%, but I don't think that it is absolutely ridiculous to have a 4% chance of an event like that occurring. What do the actuarial tables say about the candidates odds?

Presidential candidates ought to have much better survival stats than what acturial tables predict. Isn't a US presidential candidate sampling essentially the best of world medicine.

He doesn't have to die. Even a very mild heart attack by either candidate would lower the odds in his favor.

Yeah, but we're still talking about a 4% chance that NEITHER one will win, not that EITHER will have an unforeseen incident.

If Obama has a heart attack, Romney wins, and vice versa. No third candidate is going to win the presidency without both of them leaving the race, and the chance of that is nowhere near 4%.

If Obama dies or otherwise has to leave the race, the Democrats will nominate someone else. Same with the Republicans and Romney. The replacement candidate would be the vice presidential nominee after the conventions, its more open if the exit occurs before the conventions.

In that situation, the replacement nominee would have a decent chance of beating either Romney or Obama and winning the election. In that case neither Romney or Obama would win, even though only one of the two would be forced from the race.

4% seems reasonable since there are transaction costs and you cannot finalize any arbitrage for 6 more months.

Yes, perhaps you are right. Since, I personally would have attempted to take advantage of the gap, but it's difficult to even make a trade. It follows that the general difficulty of utilizing the site makes such gaps likely.

It was the MOST accurate in the last election. Only missing the one electoral vote from NE since it was not set up to allow for a state splitting electoral votes (only ME & NE do). What is your basis for saying that its predictive power is not good? Any evidence?

If black voters turn out again, they can help reject SSM or pass more bans on SSM.

Obama has made a political calculation that wealthy Jewish donors in Hollywood and elsewhere have more to offer his campaign than black voters, which is obviously true. The latter will turnout to vote for Obama no matter what, whereas the former can support him not just by providing votes but in dollars and positive coverage, as long as he plays his cards right. This time the President is playing the gay card.

Good for him, I suppose. If he can manage a re-election in a near stagnant economy, with Europe in crisis, and China's economy slowing down, then he's an American Machiavelli.

"If he can manage a re-election in a near stagnant economy, with Europe in crisis, and China’s economy slowing down,..."

Perhaps the American electorate will focus on the fact that GDP, employment, equities and virtually every other measure of the US economy has improved literally from the day Obama took office. But then again, gas prices have gone up, so maybe they'll vote against him because of that.

Since there is nothing rational about expecting Presidents to be able to save/destroy economies in the first place, there no point wondering why voters are rational about one part of it and not another.

People vote based on how well they think things are happening, regardless of whether the guy at the wheel had any blame or credit for it.

"People" either don't vote or vote along party lines.

It's only a minority of mopes in the middle who flop around like a wet fish on the basis of economic indicators.

Not really, no.[1][id]=USAEPP

Anyways, relative to other recoveries, Obama's has been the weakest post-WWII recovery in most respects. Some of this isn't his fault, but some is attributable to his big-gov't, anti-growth policies -- this is after all the guy who told America that Solyndra was going to be an engine of economic growth.

Politics lags culture.

Fun Intrade note: iirc, John Kerry was actually over 80% at one point on election day.

Evidence of vote fraud. Not that I like Kerry or Democrats.

And yet Dems vociferously oppose voter ID laws. (The usual rationale for this is along the lines of "there is no evidence of widespread vote fraud!" but this has always been nonsense -- it is virtually impossible to find evidence of voter ID fraud unless someone actually confesses.)

The simplest explanation is that Republicans were generally less likely to agree to exit poll interviews.

Political contracts

Intrade has offered since 2002 the widest range of markets for political events, such as "George W. Bush to win 2004 US Presidential Election".

In the 2004 presidential election, the market favorite won the electoral vote in every state. This occurred when, even as late as election day, many pollsters and analysts were predicting a John Kerry victory. In Florida, a number of polls put Kerry ahead in that state, or said the race was too close to call. The betting markets, however, correctly and consistently showed Bush would win Florida comfortably

Source seems to be a PollingReport article. All I can figure is maybe they mean the state-by-state predictions? I didn't follow those, maybe they diverged from the overall election prediction result wager?

I know the wager for the overall election swung heavily to Kerry earlier in the day, and a quick Google shows a lot of other people remember this too. It was heavily covered that day on the political blogs.

"Fun Intrade note: iirc, John Kerry was actually over 80% at one point on election day. Evidence of vote fraud. Not that I like Kerry or Democrats."

That's ridiculous. A momentary blip on an Irish trading site about an American election is hardly evidence of vote fraud. There's almost certainly no correlation.

My recollection is that was an attempt to throw the Intrade market into chaos by placing a huge order on Kerry. It corrected quickly.

it would be hard for obama to lose more of the straight white male vote. he made a reasonable political calculation. blacks are very socially conservative on some issues and hate the idea of gay marriage, but there's no way they will abandon one of their own over this issue. (half-)racial solidarity trumps a single issue disagreement. obama also shores up his support among single white women, who, as a consequence of their growing demographic (thanks hypergamy!), are emerging as his second largest block of in-the-bag voters.

This could supposedly galvanize the AA vote. Its possible that having a bunch of Prop 8s on the ballot could get more conservative AA's out voting for them, and they'll still vote for Obama anyway.

What's the sharp spike in Obama's ratings last May; was that after killing Osama? It's interesting that the high ratings barely lasted a week. Is that some sort of artifact or did opinion swing that sharply?

That is correct. And it was a bit of a surprise it didn't last much, but then again 2001 was along time ago in economy-years

It was pretty comparable to when Saddam was captured.

The number of American casualties attributable to Saddam was probably much lower than that to Osama.

By June 2004 the numbers were getting close -- and it certainly wasn't for lack of trying, he had his people shooting at our troops on a daily or or weekly basis for the 13 years from when the U.S. began the action to expel his forces from Kuwait until he was captured.

Saddam was also directly funding terrorist attacks in our allies the Philippines and Israel, and there are millions of Jews and Filipinos in the U.S.

The story about what was in War College textbooks while he increased troop levels, and his signing of an agreement keeping forces in Afghanistan until 2024 will have greater impact on the election. Never-the-less, he will lose some fundamentalist votes.

Uh, Dredd, how many fundamentalist votes did Obama have to lose?

it's the democrats this time who pretty clearly are trying to start culture wars to distract from poor performance (first war on women, now this, seems like a clear attempt to rile up base on what are effectively non-issues, given the parties' fairly set positions on these issues).

Good for the goose, good for the gander...

In other words, democracy sucks.

Umm, could you say that culture wars started when Republicans rode a wave of discontent over economic policies into office and then began their legislative careers by attempting to defund NPR, Planned Parenthood, and passing a number of restrictive abortion laws?

Where does that factor in?

Well, let's go back to when NPR and Planned Parenthood were funded to begin with and The Feds decided they controlled abortion policy.

The original post was saying that the Democrats are starting cultural wars with "non-issues" that are a distraction from economic issues. I point out that Republicans are actually actively engaged in these same issues, and on the offensive. Predictably, you come right in and prove my point, by making it into something more than a non-issue. If only facepalms could be posted.

I think he's asking why was it not a distraction from economic issues when they did it. The culture wars certainly predate 2010.

"In other words, democracy sucks."

Well, plurality winner-take-all voting sucks. What you end up with is a weird coalition that coalesces in order to give narcissistic sociopath his whims for 4 years because he's not quite as dangerous as the other guy to your side. This is all about the gays getting the shaft with no reacharound for four more years on the hope that at least it won't get worse. Just about all we know from the timing of this is that he doesn't care as much about it as he does Obamacare.

could not agree more -- it's the two-party system, which doesn't permit gradations of opinion that a parliamentary system might, combined with the moral/ethical/political "maleability" (cough) of most politicians, which results in obama or romney having/being able to hide/pretend support for X or Y, as expediency dictates.

IMHO party-slate parliamentary systems are much worse, because they essentially create a permanent class of national politicians not accountable to a set group of constituents. Our system seems to create better incentives overall, esp re corruption.

I do think we need some sort of state-by-state mechanism to require a candidate receive 50% of the vote before he "wins" that state, including POTUS. Otherwise, the effect of a third party is often to weaken its own representation.

I am probably one of the few who think Obama's ploy yesterday was even more cynical than his critics above actually think. I think the lie was told yesterday, not in the past, about his support for gay marriage. I don't believe the "evolution" part.

Lincoln was pro-abolition all along, but he needed to retain the support of pro-slavery Unionists in Maryland and West Virginia. And Obama needed every vote he could muster in order to pass the health care bill. At the appropriate time, each "discovered" that their positions had "evolved". Politicians, strangely enough, practice an art called "politics"... who knew?

People don't know, that's why they get away with it. If everyone knew they were playing the kind of politics we think they are, they wouldn't.

I think this explains why a lot of people believed Saddam Hussein had WMD or Obama is secretly a Muslim. They "know" it in their gut.

On the left, they "know" the Iraq war was just a plot to line Cheney's pockets.

Does InTrade have any odds on when we'll get our first male president that's married to another guy? What would BHO's approval ratings do if he ditched the Amazon and got engaged to Andrew Sullivan?

Simply brilliant!!

How can this be a loser for Obama? Pro same sex marriage polls at 53% and the anti votes are in the yahoo-states(you know who you are) anyway.

And yet SSM has never won a referendum ever. Not even in California.

I'm in the camp that says Obama hoped to sit on the fence on this one, as he has more to lose than gain by "coming out of the closet". The Black and Hispanic vote put Prop 8 over the top in CA, and religious Blacks, in particular, don't love gay marriage. Obama's fence straddle was more meant to get them to the ballot box than anything else (nope, they won't vote for Romney, but they may stay home, not toss as much in the hat, and not work the phones quite as hard as they could now).

His "evolving" position was so he could have his cake and eat it, too by letting him collect megabux from gay donors (1 out of 6 Obama donors are gay), while keeping a "don't ask, don't tell" policy with Dem-voting so-con Blacks. But Biden screwed the pooch by saying that O was "comfortable", forcing him out of the closet.

The key with taking stands on contentious issues is how many people regard the issue as a "voting" issue, meaning they'll make an up-or-down vote on this particular issue. If 10% of the people are fanatically against an issue, while 60% are lukewarm supporters of an issue, it makes sense for politicians to avoid the issue if they can as they may get a small number of the 60% with support, while giving away a guaranteed 10% to their opponent if they oppose (assuming the opponent takes the opposite stand).

I assume you believe Romney is trying to get on that fence between a gay basher who would lead the gang, and the "I love gays and will do everything possible to fix their sinful ways" because he needs to demonstrate sufficient rabid bigotry to convince conservatives he is really conservative, without coming across as a cynical amoral businessman who will employ gays and serve gays for profit.

Seriously, do you think any Republican who has been in business or in large organizations is really so intolerant of gays that they would support the gay marriage bans if they weren't trying to get elected as a Republican? Dick Cheney certainly knew he had a gay child decades ago, but his views on gay rights only "evolved" when he was challenged on the issue.

Republicans made the argument that Democrats were crossing the line when Cheney's position on gay rights was challenged. Ie., it was illegitimate to demand Dick Cheney take the Republican position on gay rights and apply it to his own child. But the Republican position on gays would seem to require Cheney "save" his child from being gay and fix her by sending her to Bachmann's "pray away the gay" program. Bachmann had to renounce her Swiss citizenship because the Swiss are just too extreme on social and economic issues, including support of gay marriage.

Cheney publicly supported gay marriage long before Obama, as have a lot of Republicans (and a lot of Democrats oppose gay marriage, see WV, Obama, etc). What many found objectionable was his daughter's sexuality being gratuitously brought up by his opponent during a nationally televised debate.

The study found that overall support for marriage equality has increased by 9 percent since 2000, with support increasing among every age group under age 65, across all racial and ethnic groups and among Protestants, Catholics and Jews. There are three “holdout” groups where voting patterns have not changed: Republicans, conservatives, and those 65 and older. The largest gain — up 16 percent — was among voters 45-64 years of age, followed by a 13 percent increase among voters 18-29.

The minority vote on Prop 8 (58% in favor) was entirely a function of religiosity. Furthermore, young blacks and Hispanics were against Prop 8 as well. Most importantly, these groups have, over time, swung toward supporting gay rights, whereas, not surprisingly, old conservative Republicans have not. THey are the driving force behind discrimination against gays in what, 30 states now? Pointing to the black vote in California every single time is just an example of deflection and a failure of Republicans to take responsibility for their bigotry.

OTOH, 43% of Dems oppose gay marriage, and the Democrats are still strongly in favor of racial discrimination, so on the whole I'm going with the GOP as less bigoted.

43% from where? The most recent polls showed 65% and high 50s% support among Democrats and Independents. Again, more facepalming stupidity - refuse to discuss the issue at hand, and then point the finger right back. In a discussion of what were the driving factors against gay marriage, the response is to say Democrats are the most bigoted. Is this Reagan's 12th commandment or something? "Thou shalt not accept responsibility for anything, and shall choose to punt and deflect instead."

Call me when gay marriage wins a referendum somewhere.

Other polls do seem to have Dem support higher. Anyways, yes the Dems are better than the GOP on this particular form of bigotry. OTOH, according to the 2000 Census this affects approximately 1% of the population, and is mainly symbolic (i.e., unlike with race, there is no official hiring/admissions discrimination) so if you're going to bring up "bigotry" re this issue, you'd better be prepared to have someone point out the beam in Dems' eyes.

High 50s support means low 40s do not support. Your "facepalming stupidity" is a bit ironic there :)

Personally, I'd like to live a in country where people didn't discriminate on race or sex, ymmv.

Dave, the most recent figure was 65% for Democrats.

High 50s is for Independents.

Mark me down as being a bigot on this subject as well. I'm bigoted against the state having anything to do with voluntary contracts between individuals, regardless of their sex.

Oh yeah? Tell me about what you've done to stop the state from participating in marriage contracts between partners of the opposite sex?

Maybe intrade fully expected Obama to do this.

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