Still busy with peak campaign season here. A couple of items from the ever-diminishing reading list may have to wait until June. But, as luck would have it, someone goes and does something big in the news while I'm slaving away. Here's a few tidbits to bide time with ...
» Wash. Post: For Obama, gay marriage stance born of a long evolution
» NY Times: Obama Campaign Pushes the Issue of Gay Marriage
» TNR: Why Gay Rights May Be President Obama’s Biggest Legacy (Jon Rauch)
» TNR: Stop Worrying: There’s No Political Downside to Backing Gay Marriage (Ruy Teixeira)
» TNR: It’s Official, Obama’s Trying to Win the West—Not Ohio (William Galston)
» Gawker: Barack Obama’s Bulls#!t Gay Marriage Announcement
» Andrew Sullivan: Obama Lets Go Of Fear
» Nate Silver: Gay Marriage and the Democratic Base
As if I needed another reminder that there are still different wings of the Democratic Party. I tend to think Obama's precise statement gives him enough wiggle room to essentially say "I support it, but I'm not going to do anything about it." It's just a personal conviction, after all. The comment doesn't do anything to suggest that 2016 is a completely different animal. Cuomo, O'Malley and others will be running with the figurative courage of their convictions, having passed and signed bills on the issue that Obama won't do anything about.
What it means for the Democratic Party coalition ... we'll see. I'm not optimistic about it, but I don't see it as completely fatal, either. Maybe African-American voters maintain their enthusiasm for Obama this November. But for a white nominee in 2016? I'm doubtful. The fact that there exists yawning "age gap" on the issue suggests to me that any fracturing doesn't occur along the lines of abortion, where broader cultural divides exist within age groups and other constituency groups. How the GOP goes after the issue both this election and in 2016 will probably give much better indicators on how it plays out over the next 20-30 years. For now, all eyes on Ohio and Pennsylvania.
I tend to believe the move also speeds up the already-underway shift of the Democratic Party more toward the big urban counties than it does to broaden its reach. With that in mind, I did do a modicum of research on North Carolina's most recent Prop 1, double-outlawing gay marriage there. While the proposition lost handily across the state, I wanted to see what happened in a big urban/suburban county. Here's a comparison of Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) with Prop One on the left and Obama/McCain on the right (click it to big it):
There are some obvious areas where Obama won support in the county yet the vote was in support of Prop One. But there seem to be even more areas where McCain and Prop One both won. So it may not be just the Democrats that "evolve" on the issue.
» CNN: In statement, Lugar defends campaign while criticizing partisan environment
Cillizza's rejoinder is probably worth reading alongside of Lugar's own thoughts, as is Ezra Klein's note on Lugar's centrist street cred.
Generally speaking, I liked Lugar. That's not the same as agreeing with any substantial number of his votes. But, to the extent that he was viewed as a "moderate", it seems to be more rooted in his style rather than his politics. The fact that Lugar wasn't a name-calling, flame-thrower ideologue who does what a 70-yr old Senator from Kentucky (himself sometimes at odds with the N-C/F-T/I wing of today's GOP) tells them to do.
» Chron: Texas A&M tabs UH's Rhoades as candidate for AD position
I have to admit that I have a hard time seeing this. Rhoads strikes me as a one-trick pony AD, a guy who comes in and oversees new stadium projects. I have a hard time seeing him as a successful SEC AD. But what do I know about being AD? I'm less crazy about the idea of UH's AD gig once more becoming a revolving door. For all the talk about a football coach that could possibly have a tenure longer than 4 or 5 years, an AD with an average timestamp of three years on his past two gigs seems a bit out of place.