What impact will Obama's endorsement of gay marriage have on the presidential election?
I am tempted to respond the way Chou En-lai did when he was asked what he thought was the impact of the French Revolution: "Too early to say."
In simplistic terms, however, there are several basic relevant facts:
There is one additional reason I think this helps the president. If he had not done so, the press would have spent the next six months speculating about the extent to which he was concealing his true beliefs out of political calculation. Instead of a calculating politician, Obama comes across as a decisive leader. That is not a bad position from which to run a presidential campaign, especially one where his opponent's sincerity has been questioned and his primary weakness is that he is seen by many as willing to say whatever he has to say to get elected. For the president to have ducked this issue would have made it very difficult to press the case that Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper without genuine political convictions.
This may prove to be an enduring advantage of the president's statement endorsing gay marriage.
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