President Obama’s cynical lie about gay marriage

In his new book, David Axelrod admits that President Obama lied about his views on gay marriage in order to get elected in 2008. In particular, he wished to deceive black voters, whom he knew were largely opposed to gay marriage. Here’s the report from TIME Magazine:

Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons, his former political strategist David Axelrod writes in a new book, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.

“I’m just not very good at bulls—-ing,” Obama told Axelrod, after an event where he stated his opposition to same-sex marriage, according to the book.

Axelrod writes that he knew Obama was in favor of same-sex marriages during the first presidential campaign, even as Obama publicly said he only supported civil unions, not full marriages. Axelrod also admits to counseling Obama to conceal that position for political reasons. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,’ ” Axelrod writes.

The insider’s account provides the clearest look yet at Obama’s long-established flip-flop, one of the blemishes on his record as a progressive. The admission of Obama’s embrace of deception also calls into question the President’s stated embrace of a new kind of politics in 2008, when he promised to be unlike other politicians who change their views to match the political winds. “Having prided himself on forthrightness, though, Obama never felt comfortable with his compromise and, no doubt, compromised position,” Axelrod writes. “He routinely stumbled over the question when it came up in debates or interviews.”

If Axelrod’s report is accurate, this is the worst kind of hypocrisy and cynicism. It would mean this. Not only did President Obama lie in order to get elected, but he also used his Christian faith as a pretense. He pretended to believe Christian teaching in order to make the lie credible.

As of today, he has done nothing to correct the record and repent of the lie. When he came out in favor of gay marriage in 2012, he claimed that he had changed his views, which would also be a lie if the Axelrod report is correct. It would mean that the President lied about what he believed, and then he lied about changing his views.

What kind of Christianity is it that pretends to believe the Bible for political gain and then denies the Bible when it is no longer politically advantageous? What kind of Christianity is it that trades in unrepentant lying? It is not the Christianity of the Bible, which means that it is no Christianity at all.

UPDATE: President Obama claims that “the notion that somehow I was always in favor of marriage per se isn’t quite accurate.” The Atlantic has a long article explaining the President’s “evolution”: “Yes, Obama Was Lying About Opposing Same-Sex Marriage.”

33 Responses to President Obama’s cynical lie about gay marriage

  1. pauljacobsblog February 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    Anyone who is in favor of the dismemberment of pre-born babies or anyone who believes that babies who survive abortion should continue to be killed is a moral reprobate. Lying to get elected is small potatoes in consideration of such savage depravity.

  2. James Harold Thomas February 10, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    The timing of this vis-a-vis “high horse” makes the hypocrisy all the more blatent. Didn’t Jesus say something about specks and logs and whatnot, Mr. President?

  3. James Stanton February 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    “What kind of Christianity is it that pretends to believe the Bible for political gain and then denies the Bible when it is no longer politically advantageous? What kind of Christianity is it that trades in unrepentant lying? It is not the Christianity of the Bible, which means that it is no Christianity at all.”

    Exactly right. This is the kind of Christianity practiced by most of our politicians, whether on the left or the right.

    The criticism, as justified as it may be, of Obama is somewhat ironic considering Denny was promoting Mitt Romney in 2012.

    • Denny Burk February 10, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

      How is it ironic?

      • Jeffery Hunt February 10, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

        We all remember Obamney 🙂

      • James Stanton February 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

        It’s not an apples to oranges comparison but Mitt was pro-abortion for the first half of his political career. He may have been pro-life all along but downplayed his true feelings in order to get elected in state elections. When it was advantageous to do so he publicized that he was pro-life.

        Obama doesn’t come off well here but most voters understood that politicians will say and do anything in order to win an election. Obama’s true position on gay marriage likely would not have been a liability in state elections but it would have been risky in 2008 running for President. Romney’s situation was the reverse.

        • Denny Burk February 10, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

          I don’t think they are comparable. Mitt Romney’s view on life changed in the 90’s (I think). I thought his account of his change of heart was credible.

          President Obama, however, had a clear view in 2002 in favor of gay marriage. Then after he had national aspirations around 2004 running for Senate, he changed his view. He rode that view through the 2008 campaign for President. Then he switched again in 2012. Obama’s many changes were clearly politically motivated, and now Axelrod confirms it.

          If you have evidence that this kind of cynicism was driving Romney’s change to the pro-life view, then I will join you in denouncing that cynicism. I haven’t seen that evidence.

          • James Stanton February 10, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

            That’s fair. I think, being cynical in this case, that Mitt has a well established history of adapting his positions to the current environment in doing whatever it takes to win. I have no evidence besides plain reading of his statements for the record.

            “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose,” Romney said during a 2002 debate against Democratic gubernatorial opponent Shannon O’Brien. “I am not going to change our pro-choice laws in Massachusetts in any way. I am not going to make any changes which would make it more difficult for a woman to make that choice herself.”

            That first line is support for the institution of abortion. I think its hard to say that as a pro-life politician.

  4. Brad S. February 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    Virtually every job application that one encounters online or hard copy has a clause that essentially says, “If an applicant falsifies information he/she will no longer be considered for the position. If the falsification is discovered after hire, it will be grounds for immediate dismissal.” If this standard is in place for the civilian workplace, should it not also be in place for elected officials in whom we supposedly place our trust? What is it going to take to remove this unqualified, unethical enemy of the State from office to prevent further damage?

    • Ian Shaw February 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      ^^^Bam, for the win. If I lie on an application and after being hired, it’s found out, I’m immediately terminated. Why shouldn’t that apply in this case?

      • Roy Fuller February 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

        For the same reasons we allow political aids to lie. Advertisers cannot flat out lie, because he have laws regarding false advertising. Yet we cannot regulate the truthfulness or lack thereof in political ads, because that is speech.

      • James Stanton February 10, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

        I think it was fairly obvious to any interested observer what his true position was and anyone who was disinclined to support gay marriage had ample reason to not vote for Obama. His reversal came out a few months before the election as i recall.

        “What is it going to take to remove this unqualified, unethical enemy of the State from office to prevent further damage?”

        And this is what its really about for much of the opposition. You’ll just have to live with it until the next inevitable disappointment is elected to that office, whether Republican or Democrat.

  5. Johnny Mason February 10, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    Also, take notice in the difference in outrage between Brian Williams lying and the President’s lie. The President will be praised for this, or it will be blown off with the old canard that all politicians lie so its no big deal.

    But it apparently is a big deal when some anchor who has no affect on our lives tells a lie.

    Remember when Hillary Clinton lied about being shot at by snipers? Did it garner even an inkling of the outrage directed at Brian Williams. Her lie and Williams lie are almost identical, yet Brian Williams is crucified and Clinton became Secretary of State.

  6. Bill Hickman February 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Your outrage level at this lie will basically be determined by how bad you think gay marriage is. If you think it will be the demise of Western Civilization, you’ll be spitting mad. I (a conservative evangelical) see nothing wrong with allowing same-sex couples to share in the benefits and burdens of civil marriage, so Obama’s lie, while morally questionable, doesn’t fill me with rage.

    Unfortunately, all politicians lie, so ethical people have to figure out which lies are worth getting worked up about. Since outrage is a finite resource, we evangelicals should reserve ours for the most important lies, e.g. Obama’s lies about the drone program, which has killed ~2,000 people, or Bush’s lies about the Iraq War, which led to the deaths of 100,000+ Iraqi civilians. But that’s just me.

    (Here come the comments insisting that Bush didn’t lie about Iraq…)

    • James Stanton February 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      I think you’re pretty much right. Since I don’t consider gay marriages equal to Biblical marriages this issue doesn’t bother me too much. One is ordained by God and the other is ordained by the State.

      I could comment at length on Obama’s lies to the American people but there are some issues that just never come up on socially conservative blogs.

    • James Stanton February 10, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

      There’s a line from some Iraq war protestors that quite annoys conservatives. “Bush lied, people died”. Perhaps the new line should be “Obama lied, people got gay married”. Is it too soon to find humor in this?

      • Denny Burk February 10, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

        I think it may always be too tragic to joke about. Marriage is too important, and so is the truth.

        Also, there’s no evidence that Bush lied.

        • James Stanton February 10, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

          I think that’s probably where we disagree on the marriage issue. I refuse a premise where gay marriage has any bearing on Biblical marriage.

          On the second point… I’m not sure how much thought you’ve put into whether Bush lied or not. I cannot say there is or isn’t evidence because there has never been a full and open investigation of the war and both Democrats and Republicans have incentives to keep it that way. Regardless, it’s an issue that will continue to be litigated for as long as we’re dealing with the consequences.

          Thankfully, some figures of note have debated the issue recently. I’ll link to both sides without commentary.

          http://www.wsj.com/articles/laurence-h-silberman-the-dangerous-lie-that-bush-lied-1423437950

          The first is from a conservative jurist.

          Next is a response from a liberal writer.

          http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/02/republicans-still-denying-bush-lied-about-iraq.html

          • Denny Burk February 10, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

            The liberal writer offers not one shred of evidence that Bush lied. None. All he does is complain that the investigations weren’t thorough enough. This is not comparable to President Obama’s demonstrable and undisputed lie noted in my post above.

            • Dal Bailey February 11, 2015 at 12:08 am #

              I always wondered where Syria got the gas from…(chuckle)

              • Brad S. February 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

                Adding to an off-point diversion, sorry. Wouldn’t it be great to find out someday, the timeline when Saddam moved everything to his neighbor? The core issue here in relevance to Obama lying is President Bush apparently had credible evidence on which to act relative to WMDs, but it was a very dynamic intelligence picture. He had the perfect chance to blame Bill Clinton for not holding Saddam accountable with U.N. weapons inspectors in country, but W has the integrity to say he owned the situation top to bottom. The media will not go out of its way to absolve a Republican ex-President for accused wrong-doing on his watch, no matter how clear or convincing the evidence proves to be after the fact. Crickets chirping…

            • James Stanton February 11, 2015 at 12:32 am #

              I agree that Obama’s lie is an undisputed and outright lie.

              I think that the Bush Admin was intent on invading Iraq to remove a despised dictator and was willing to rely on the flimsiest of evidence and public hysteria to do so. That does not happen by mistake or by accident but I doubt there’s any evidence that would prove blatant lying as opposed to simply misleading the public in waging an unjustified war.

              I’m not sure that Chait’s point was that the investigations weren’t thorough enough but that it was designed to be far from thorough.

            • Bill Hickman February 11, 2015 at 1:13 am #

              I believe George Bush

              1) is a brother in Christ and
              2) was a President whose administration waged a war based on cherry-picked intelligence that killed 100,000+ Iraqis.

              1) and 2) are not in conflict. They can both be true because the world is complicated. No need for a circle-the-wagons approach to these issues.

              • Denny Burk February 11, 2015 at 2:37 am #

                No circling the wagons here. It’s just a fact that every intelligence agency on the planet believed that there were stockpiles of WMD’s in Iraq.

                • Roy Fuller February 11, 2015 at 10:58 am #

                  So Denny, do you disagree with Bill Hickman’s point # 2 above? And you may want to reconsider your statement that “every intelligence agency on the planet believed that there were stockpiles of WMD’s in Iraq” – the French in particular did not accept the claims being made by American and British intelligence. Specifically the claim made by Bush in his State of the Union address that Iraq was buying yellow cake from Niger. George Tenet and Steven Hadley both have agreed the President should not have made that claim – which was false. This is not proof that Bush lied, but does suggest that some intelligence agencies did not agree with the British and the Americans. There are sources that can be found which present this information, if you are interested. I think it matters because whenever this comes up, you do seem to “circle the wagons.” Whether or not Bush lied, knowingly misled through his statements, will probably never be known, but at this point we do have a pretty good idea of what intelligence agencies knew, when they knew it, and how that information was used.

                  Your statement is not the relevant point, since whether Iraq once had stockpiles was known to intelligence agencies and was not the claim. The claim made by Bush and many others, was that Iraq had active WMD programs, and it was this claim, with the added urgency that time was limited, which was promoted as part of the call to attack Iraq.

                  If we have learned anything as a result of this intelligence failure, it is that the gathering, analyzing, and interpreting of intelligence is complicated, and hindsight is always much easier. But examining this history does matter, and persons across the political spectrum need to be open to where the evidence leads.
                  There is a timeline for these events here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4996218

                  • Denny Burk February 11, 2015 at 11:13 am #

                    You’re wrong about the relevance of stockpiles. The main reason that Iraq was in defiance of UN resolutions over that decade was because of a failure to verify the destruction of those stockpiles. The intelligence failure concerned both stockpiles and active weapons programs.

                    Yes, I was being hyperbolic. Of course there were some dissenters. My point is that the vast majority of western intelligence agencies believed he had WMD’s. This was not an outlier opinion at the time.

                    Also, here’s a question that the “Bush lied” people don’t never have an answer to. What would have been a motive for lying about WMD in Iraq? There would have been absolutely nothing to gain but everything to lose by perpetrating such a lie.

                    • Roy Fuller February 11, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

                      Your last question is important. Why? Short answer – because the Bush administration wanted to overthrow Saddam Hussain. They chose to do it. Can we agree on that? So what they gained by “selling” the war was needed support for their policy. But this is still not to truly answer the question: what were the factors and the most important factors that went into their decision to invade Iraq? I think there were several, some of which have to do with specific reasons, others which influenced the timing. I refer to an article, which I link to below, which articulates six primary factors:

                      1) 9/11 and the 1991 Gulf War.- 9/11 certainly provided the window of opportunity – Rumsfeld raised this issue hours after 9/11 attacks, as his memos have shown, There was also the unfinished business from the 1991 war (and the subsequent attempt to assassinate Bush I).
                      2) Afghanistan – was easy to topple Taliban, easier than expected, gave impetus to keep changing regimes.
                      3) Everyone on board. – bi-partisan support in Congress, and official polity back to Bush I thru Clinton was for regime change – the questions were how and when.
                      4) WMD – Clearly the primary one in the run up to the actual war, faded in significance as the evidence mounted against it. But I would argue, this was THE one which would rally Americans and allies – Iraq was a threat to the world.
                      5) Nation-building – Clearly this appealed to some in the Bush administration, especially the significant neo-con contingent. Make Iraq a democracy and pressure other countries to reform.
                      6) Oil! – Many want to start (and end) with this factor. I don’t think it was that simple. But I will point out that prior to the invasion of Iraq, Western oil companies were shut out of Iraq – now they are there.

                      Different analyzes point to one or more of these as being the driving factor. The actual history speaks for itself, the Bush administration, post 9/11, felt that the timing was in their favor, had evidence of WMDs (which I believe was cherry-picked, but others disagree); and made the case to the world that Iraq was a threat; and removed Saddam Hussein. As the article linked to below suggests, all these factors were in play, in that they contributed to the environment which permitted such a decision to be made.

                      What I think the evidence shows, is that the administration made the decision, then looked for the best evidence (reason or excuse) they could find (or manufacture) to put the plan to invade Iraq into action. From what you have said, I assume you disagree with previous sentence. That’s ok. Let’s just agree to be skeptical and cynical the next time some US President want to go to war. Whether or not Bush lied (and as I indicated, I don’t believe we can know), there is a long pattern of deception in US history when it comes rallying the country to war.

                      The article which identified the six factors may be found at: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/03/27/_why_did_we_invade_iraq_117683.html

  7. Chris Ryan February 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

    Its a pretty harsh critique to say the man isn’t a Christian. Unless you’re God I don’t see how you’d know if he’d repented. And given how often we overlook the blatant hypocrisy of Republican politicians we really have no business making such a judgmental claim. Frankly, if it was as hard for him to do as Axelrod suggests, he’s long since repented of it. He certainly sounds sorry for not having supported gay marriage sooner.

  8. Paula Keller February 10, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    Proverbs 6:16-19

    16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
    17 haughty eyes,
    a lying tongue,
    hands that shed innocent blood,
    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
    feet that are quick to rush into evil,
    19 a false witness who pours out lies
    and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

  9. Paul Reed February 10, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

    So you’re claiming a politician misrepresented his personal views on an issue to further his career? What a bold claim! I… just…. can’t… believe… it. I won’t believe it!

  10. Paul Reed February 10, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

    So you’re saying a politician might have misrepresented his personal views to further his career? No! That could never happen.

  11. Dal Bailey February 11, 2015 at 12:09 am #

    Gee, never fully trusted a politician… So I am not surprised to hear this.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Saturday Six (2/14/2015) | Thoughts from Everyday Life - February 14, 2015

    […] Related to our commander-in-chief, his chief campaign advisor in 2008, David Axelrod, admits that Obama lied about his stance on same-sex marriage to get elected. Boyce College professor Denny Burk calls him out for using faith to cover his position. […]

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