Standing Up For Principle May Pay Off

Democrats far too often move to the center and avoid matters of principle, possibly out of fear of losing votes. I’ve often thought that their compromising has been counterproductive. With the failure of Democrats to stand up for liberal principles, Republicans are allowed to promote their views without challenge. Democrats might increase their support if they made a stronger case for what they believe.  It appears that Obama’s statement of support for gay marriage has changed some opinions according to a Washington0Post-ABC News poll:

Public opinion continues to shift in favor of same-sex marriage, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, which also finds initial signs that President Obama’s support for the idea may have changed a few minds.

Overall, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, hitting a high mark in support while showing a dramatic turnaround from just six years ago, when just 36 percent thought it should be legal. Thirty-nine percent, a new low, say gay marriage should be illegal…

The poll comes two weeks after Obama unexpectedly endorsed same-sex marriage after a year and a half of “evolving” on the subject. Gay rights groups predicted the president’s announcement would have a far-reaching impact on public opinion, in part because Obama described how he came to his own decision, referring to his gay friends and the influence of his young daughters, Sasha and Malia.

I am also happy to see White House Press Secretary Jay Carney trying to debunk the false right wing claims that Obama has greatly increased government spending:  “Do not buy into the B.S. that you hear about spending and fiscal constraint with regard to this administration. I think doing so is a sign of sloth and laziness.”

While greater public support for same-sex marriage is good news, there is also potentially bad news on social issues in today’s polls. Gallup found that the number of Americans who call themselves pro-choice is at a record low at 41 percent, with 50 percent calling themselves pro-life. Looking at the full poll, the meaning of this is questionable. It might partially be a matter of labels. A majority still believe that abortion should be legal under some circumstances and only 20 percent agree with the Republican line that it should never be legal. I also question how much support there would be for laws which subject either women seeking an abortion or doctors providing abortions to criminal charges.


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