Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Obama's Bully Pulpit

Interesting little discussion at Balloon Juice related to Obama's "evolving" position on gay marriage and whether or not more assertive presidential leadership would be beneficial.

In general, I think Obama's use of the presidential bully pulpit has been pretty disappointing. He hasn't made much of an effort to challenge the anti-government rhetoric of Republicans and in so doing, help provide liberals and liberal-minded independents a reason to support the president's legislative successes, which have been several (universal health care, the consumer financial protection bureau, stricter food safety regs, and an improved auto industry condition due to the bailout, to name a few).

But I'm not sure a bolder, more public stance on marriage equality, particular state initiatives in Maryland and New York, would be advantageous. The recent victory in New York owes a lot to that state's GOP Senate majorty's willingness to allow a vote on marriage equality to come to the floor, a position that might have been harder had the President weighed in on the matter.

The President has already started the elimination of DADT and is no longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, itself a potentially controversial tact given the Executive Department's general obligation to enforce federal law.

Still I long for an Obama more willing to be more public about these positions.

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