COMMENTARY | There are several things to be taken from the mini-controversy that erupted this week over the gay marriage issue. One is that President Obama merely affirmed what everyone already knew -- he was a proponent of gay marriage. Another is that his stance directly opposes that of Mitt Romney's, who has taken the stance that he supports a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and woman. A third thing to be taken from the mix is that reports like that at CNN that Democratic aides are annoyed with Vice President Joe Biden for forcing the issue appears to be mere aggravated grousing over the fact that Biden's candor on NBC's "Meet The Press" simply stole the president's thunder.
There are several incidents that have occurred in the past few days since President Obama's statement in support of gay marriage that supports that there were plans to reveal the president's more affirmative stance on gay marriage (he had previously held the more neutral position of "evolving" on the issue) for quite some time. One was Caroline Kennedy's statement on Monday, the very day after Biden's words that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage caused a national stir, that there were plans to include more supportive language of same-sex unions in the Democratic platform to be adopted at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in September. Then there was Obama's own words to Robin Roberts at ABC News in the interview where he openly stated his support that he had planned to make a decision on the matter prior to the DNC. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is currently chairing the DNC, also stated Thursday that he already knew there would be a major announcement from the Obama administration on the gay marriage issue.
So to hear that Democratic strategists and aides to the president were "deeply annoyed" with Vice President Biden only seems to support the idea that it wasn't just an off-script moment for Biden but more like a pre-emptive re-scripting of what was already set to happen. Instead of the president receiving considerable attention for finally announcing that he supported gay marriage, he was relegated to announcing his support in the midst of a media firestorm that erupted over Biden's remarks -- which oddly enough were basically no different from previous comments he had made on same-sex unions.
In short, Biden let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. That's most likely the real reason the Democratic aides were up in arms over his comments -- not that he actually forced the president to come to his [Biden's] defense and state his personal support for gay marriage, but that Obama felt compelled to come forward with the news that should have been major headlines for his campaign.
Still another indication that things went a bit off-script and inadvertently tipped the media to a coming major policy statement was the report that Biden personally apologized to Obama for embroiling him in the same-sex marriage controversy.
Still, those same sources and aides went on to say that they did not believe the gay marriage controversy would cause any damage to Obama and Biden's relationship, nor do most believe that Biden will ultimately get "credit" for the Democratic stance on the same-sex marriage issue. And that also suggests that their being "deeply annoyed" at Biden had nothing to do with what he said, just when he said it.
Besides, President Obama still made national headlines with his support of same-sex unions, which he insisted was something that should be mandated on the state, not the federal, level. And diminished thunder is better than no thunder at all.