Musings —05.11.2012 08:11 AM—
I am a war room guy, and I look at the world through a war roomer’s eyes. That’s why, for instance, I favour total warfare against political enemies (i.e.. always making sure the response is lightning-quick, using every means at your disposal, and twice as painful as the initial strike). It’s why, for example, I look at Bob Rae with a war room guy’s perspective (i.e.., his tenure as NDP Premier of Ontario is too much of a disaster to erase from the public record, and he is therefore a wholly unsuitable candidate for Liberal leader).
Which brings us to the Democrats’ moves this week. I was communicating with one of their top guys in D.C. yesterday, and they’ll never admit what I strongly suspect was the play this week. But here’s what I observed, in Hegelian terms:
Thesis: Obama announces on Wednesday afternoon, after an agonizing delay, that he now favours same sex marriage. For a guy seeking re-election in a very conservative nation, that statement is not without considerable risk. The story is everywhere.
Antithesis: On Thursday morning, just hours after Obama’s statement – which the Dems knew the G.O.P. and their putative presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, were certain to denounce – a story appears in the Washington Post, detailing how a younger Mitt Romney was a vicious, gay-hating bully. He led an attack on a student he believed was gay, hacking off his hair with a pair of scissors. He used anti-gay slurs. The story goes viral.
Synthesis: Obama is high road; Romney looks like a creep. Americans are much less indifferent to equal marriage than Canadians. There, public opinion is split. My hunch is that Obama decided when and how to make his historic statement – but he also turned to his Democratic war room team, to ensure that the gay-hating Romney stuff came out in the same news cycle.
Their calculation had to have been this: not every American favours gay marriage. But most Americans oppose terrorizing, and bullying, gays. The takeaway would have been: You may not like gay marriage. But you dislike what Romney did even more.
On-point, swift and deadly: that’s good war room work. And they’ll never admit they were behind it, which is also what a good war room does.