Pardon me for not jumping for joy (or even blogging) when former President Bill Clinton came out earlier this month in support of gay marriage.
Once I read the headline, I knew what it was all about. With his wife serving as President Obama’s Secretary of State, the Democrat has been effectively sidelined and can’t otherwise get much media attention. Here’s a way he could speak out without criticizing the Administration (would anyone pay much attention if he supported his fellow Democrats?) and garner a few headlines.
Not just that, there’s no political cost.
Back in 1992, he supported overturning the ban on gays serving in the military to win the support (and earn the financial contributions) of gay activists eager to support a Democrat. But, soon after he took office and realized there was a political cost to keeping his promise, he changed his mind. If he had vetoed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, he might have alienated some conservative Democrats. If he signed it, he knew that gay activists, most of whom are more committed to the Democratic Party than they are to gay issues, would stand by their man. He was right; when he signed it, they stood by the double-crossing Democrat. Even HRC refused to drop its endorsement.
But, now the former President wants to win back their support admiration, perhaps doing so to spite the current Democratic President, rapidly falling out of favor with principled gay leftists. And heck, social conservatives don’t like him any way, so there’s no real cost to changing his mind now. He can’t run for office again, so there are no votes to lose.
So, gay leaders will quickly forget how he betrayed gay people once in office, signing more anti-gay legislation than the did the oft- and ever-reviled George W. Bush.
Providing a number of examples of Clinton’s cynical use of gay marriage as a political issue, Jamie Kirchick remains “cool toward the latest tergiversations of this congenital liar and shameless opportunist“:
Earlier this week the Freedom to Marry coalition issued a press release praising the former president. In their rush to extol him, however, gay activists should be wary. For the most important thing to know about Bill Clinton is that the man never takes a position based upon considerations of things like morality or justice. He takes positions based entirely upon a cold calculation of what will advance his political (and, of late, business) interests. If, for whatever reason, his cynical support for marriage equality gets in the way of his wife’s political career or a shady business deal with an Arab oil sheik, Clinton will abandon the cause faster than he fled the 1992 campaign trail to carry out the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally retarded black prisoner who had shot himself in the head after committing a double homicide.
Kirchick may understand Clinton’s motivations, but it looks like a lot of the gay leftist lickspittles are already swooning. They do have a habit of doing that every time a Democrat say something to their liking.
So, now, when are they going to praise former Vice President Dick Cheney for going out against the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) while he was still in office?