No, not really but Hillary’s evolution on the linchpin progressive issue of marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples is now complete. It just would have been nice if almost every position she decided to take were not so seemingly shaped by political convenience and strategy — and maybe it feels that way because that is exactly the case.
Now that her training is complete, will Hillary finally and truly embrace the progressive Dark Side of real progressivism to which she has been so uncomfortable supporting?
She has a long and tortured history with the issue: While First Lady, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed the Defense of Marriage Act, and he also endorsed the awful and confusing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” U.S. military policy which barred openly gay and lesbians individuals from serving. Then, in 2013, Hillary said that she supports “marriages for lesbian and gay couples” in a video for the Human Rights Campaign.
But now she has come out full-force for same-sex marriage, and the timing speaks to her motives as well as the Supreme Court hearing arguments last week on the two crucial issues surrounding the debate: Can states hostile to gay and lesbian marriages ban the practice? And will states be forced to recognize marriages from other states where it is allowed?
So, excuse me if I remain skeptical both about Hillary’s embrace of the left, her campaign clearly purposely using imagery of the rainbow flag — long tied to the campaign to recognize LGBT rights — and its timing.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 28, 2015
The second part of the timing is curious as well. Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy which will likely push Hillary farther left to appeal to voters who might support him. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is right that “history celebrates profiles in courage, not profiles in convenience.” At least Hilalry came over eventually, but the timing and her uncomfortable embrace still leave me with some bad feelings.
Because as recently as last June, in an interview on National Public Radio with host Terry Gross, she continued to hem and haw and instead of supporting a federal mandate eschewed that position for the more politically centrist support of civil unions. She also said that it was matter best left up to the states.
“Marriage has always been a matter left to the states,” she said in a terrible public relations move, which was another example of her continued reluctance to actually take a position on the issue and stick with it.
While not a true comparison because their views on absolutely everything are so different, and none have said they support civil unions for same-sex couples, each Republican presidential candidate — Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio — have each used the best-left-to-the-states-position to dodge the political football as well.
The Clintons are political animals, and in their business, they have to be, but that does not mean arriving so late to the party everyone notices you are not there. I applaud Hillary for finally getting on the boat. It is just too bad we already left without her onboard.
Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.