There's been a lot of discussion the last couple of days about Obama coming out in favor of marriage equality.
Good on him. Seriously. Regardless of what else is discussed, his views are just and ought to be praised.
Much of the discussion, however, hasn't centered around what the president said, but rather what his motivation was in saying it. I'm no stranger to politics, I've been at least a quasi-activist since my teens, I've acted as a delegate more than once, and I've co-managed a local congressional campaign. I'm under no bizarre delusion that Obama made his pro-equality statements without first consulting a dizzying array of campaign strategists. Like it or not, that's how politics work and I'm not going to give him a hard time for considering his political career rather than "standing on principal". Principal doesn't do a politician a hell of a lot of good if it burns their podium to the ground and resigns them to their living room.
Just to be clear, I absolutely agree that president Obama said what he said, when he said it, as a strategic political move (I also happen to believe that he meant what he said, and probably has for some time now).
Most of the comments I've stumbled upon discussing his strategy seem to believe that this was a move intended to sway progressive moderates into supporting the president's re-election. With that, I disagree. I think Obama's statements were a calculated offensive strategy designed to push Romney into saying this:
"I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name."
Preaching to the choir, which is essentially all that Obama did, is one thing. Making a clear and obviously discriminatory statement, especially immediately following the anti-equality vote in North Carolina, is something else entirely. Why beg progressive moderates for support when you can make them shrink with revulsion from your opponent instead?