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Chan Lowe: Obama threads the needle on gay marriage


Talk about being in an awkward position. Here’s President Obama, trying to smooth over a group of gay activists in Manhattan, and instead of being greeted like a hero, he’s forced to endure jeers and catcalls for not giving them the Full Monty on same-sex marriage. Hours later, New York legalizes it, leaving him eating dust and playing social catch-up to Dick Cheney, of all people.

This is one of those times when heading the great Democratic coalition can be...challenging, to say the least. Let’s not forget that⎯unlike Republicans⎯the Democrats are a loose alliance of interest groups that have banded together to push their own agendas by agreeing to help others with theirs, much like a nationwide Amish barn-raising.

So you have a President who can walk the walk right up to the bitter edge, proclaiming that gays should have the same rights as everyone else, but he can’t actually bring himself to say the words, “marriage equality.” Why? Because the moment he does, it’s possible that a segment of the alliance that isn’t so high-minded about gay rights, and that voted for him the last time for other reasons, just may decide to stay home on election day. Thanks to our lousy economy, he needs those votes even more than he did in 2008, when his race and inexperience were the only things going against him.

Down deep, we know (or fear, depending on your point of view) that he’s already there on same-sex marriage. He sure looks foolish, though, standing there and biting his lip. In fact, he looks craven. It’s just one of those political realities you have to face in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Consider the alternative: He says what he’s really dying to say, loses the 2012 election, and President Bachmann pushes legislation to round up all the gays and send them to re-education camp to be “loved” by the righteous back into the Lord’s warm embrace.

So be patient. The activists will get what they want… right after the polls close on November 6, 2012.

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I will not matter much what Obama say in his concession speech after the polls close.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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