I really appreciate Digby's post on what could have been a historic day Wednesday. Her point of focus was Lyndon Johnson and how he threw himself, body and soul, not just behind civil rights but behind the Civil Rights Act.
If there is anything we know about Obama from the past four years, it's that he's an incrementalist. If he believes in going forward, it's not as if he's the first man through the door. It's not that he hasn't been bold at times, but you could say he's "cautiously bold," meaning that any risk has been so calculated there's really not that much risk left or that far to fall.
So, is it a significant development that the president of the United States has professed his support for gay marriage? Of course it is. Is it also a narrow development, however, and a frustrating one to many that the decision was a personal (and surely, a strategic) one that pretty much leaves intact the status quo? Yes, that too.
Because words also form pictures, let's take a second to consider Obama's exact words on the matter:
I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.
That's two "I's," two "me's" and a "personally" (with the word "just" meaning anything but). Amidst the self-consciousness, it's not like Obama is flatly stating his support for gay marriage so much as he's sharing how he's chosen to decide to go ahead and think that way. Because it was that important.
(photo: Pete Souza caption: President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, May 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)