Back during the 2008 Democratic primary none of the strongest candidates supported same-sex marriage. Now with the recent endorsement of Hillary Clinton every Democrat that is viewed as a possible top tier candidate in the 2016 Presidential primary has come out in favor of marriage equality.
2016: All Top Tier Democratic Candidates Now Back Marriage Equality
As recently as five years ago, not one "serious" candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for President would support gay marriage. Now, they all do. That's pretty remarkable, all by itself.
What amazes me, though, is that it wasn't too hard to find opinions like this, regarding Sen. Rob Portman's (R-OH) recent reversal on the subject:
Sen. Rob Portman has made headlines by declaring his support for gay marriage after learning that his own son is gay, and apparently we’re supposed to praise him for his new enlightenment. But while enlightenment is good, wouldn’t it have been a lot more praiseworthy if he had shown some flexibility on the issue before he knew that his own family would benefit?
Other People's Children
Sen. Portman is at least able to listen to his son, which is something that far too many on that side of the fence seem unable to do. What's more, when confronted with the truth that right in his own family was someone who had "chosen the gay lifestyle", and that maybe it really wasn't a "lifestyle" at all so much as what genetics had handed his son, he was willing to change his mind. Plus, and progressives no doubt forget this for the simple reason that most would never think of doing this to Democratic politicians, but Portman's base is not inclined to let its politicians off the hook when they go off the reservation, so to speak. Portman is going to face some trouble for this.
Yes, he may have decided that gay marriage is going to happen, and he's better off being on board. That's possible. But the story right now looks a lot more like he changed his mind, because he loves his kid and he wants him to have the same rights most Americans do.
And I'll repeat, because progressives like Prof. Krugman seem unable to recall this point: five years ago no "serious" candidate for President among Democrats supported this. So, am I to believe that all their conversions were principled decisions based on what's best for society, and Portman's was just the selfish act of an opportunistic politician? Am I particularly to believe that in light of the fact that it's more clearly beneficial to Democratic politicians than to Republicans at this point? Apparently, I am.
Sadly, I'm just not that perceptive.
Why can't progressives ever acknowledge that sometimes, every once in a great while, a member of the opposition will do something principled, or at least something that is both right and requires some courage? I guess then we'd have to look at the sorry record of Democratic politicians in upholding what are supposed to be Democratic values against the wishes of their own party leadership, wouldn't we?
Clearly, that isn't going to happen.