Having Solved That Whole Budget Problem, Obama Pivots To Gays And Guns


The Senate passed a budget for the first time in four years. So, you know, fiscal crisis solved.

President Obama devoted his weekly radio and internet address Saturday to pushing for more gun control in response to the mass killing in Newton, Connecticut last year. “As a nation, the last three months have changed us,” Obama said. “You – the American people – have spoken. You’ve made it clear that it’s time to do something.” Specifically, Obama called for more background checks and an assault weapon ban. Aides told the Associated Press Obama will make additional trips outside Washington to make his case on the issue.

Back in Washington, the Supreme Court is set to here oral arguments on two same-sex marriage cases. On Tuesday the Court will hear Hollingsworth v Perry, which challenges California Proposition 8 which prohibits the state from recognizing same-sex marriage. On Wednesday the Court will hear United States v Windsor, a challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defines marriage as only a union of a man and a woman. Activists from both sides have been waiting outside the Supreme Court since last week for seats at the proceedings (although there is no word on whether or not today’s snowfall dislodged them).

The reason for this quick pivot by the president is obvious. Fiscal issues have quickly become his kryptonite:

This upsurge in social issues that fire up his base could not come at a better time for Obama. As The New York Times reported this weekend, Obama’s advantage over Republicans on economic issues has completely evaporated in the first three months of his second term.

I’m not sure that the guns issue is a winner for Democrats – the momentum for anything more than modest gun control reforms has fizzled, and support for gun rights is very bi-partisan – but the gay marriage issue remains contentious and terrible for Republicans.

Which is exactly why Republicans should neutralize the issue by ending opposition to gay marriage.