The Last Word | May 09, 2012
>>> so now we have the president of the united states leading a war on traditional marriage . is it going to be like the war on stay at homeworking mothers that you people have led? is it going to be like the war on the catholic church that you people have led? and people like me who are minding their own business have to stand up and defend these institutions and traditions from people like you, and the president who is waging war on traditional america ?
>> people like rush, who are minding their own business. joining me now are author of "who is afraid of post blackness." jonathan capehart . and richard wolf . your tweets, to put it mildly, are you concerned about what this means for the president politicly and for the african-american vote.
>> i am. i was blown away by the gesture. this is an houistoric moment. if the arc of history bends toward justice, we're seeing get toward the top of the arc i think. but we have most of the states in america are -- have amendment amendments against gay marriage . we're not making the turn just yet. i am a little concerned about what will happen with the gay community . takely important stitt wednesdaycy fwednesday constituency for the president. there is hopo phobia around america . 55% of black are telling people they are against gay marriage , and 55% of whites are for gay marriage . i wonder if this will not create a crisis of conscience for some voters who were supportives obama above brrr and do i need the brother to be re-elected and what we talk about on sunday aside? or i got my god, my bible, my minister and we've been talking about this for years, and i need to speak about this. i don't think they need to go to mitt romney , maybe they don't send in the $100 last time. maybe they don't knock on doors like they did last time.
>> jonathan capehart , do you share that concern in that analysis?
>> no, i don't. african- americans went overwhelmingly in california in prop 8, went to barack obama , but 58% of the african-american vote voted for proposition 8 which banned gay marriage in california . i think what we're going to see is african- americans doing the same thing again meaning no matter what this president does, the african-american community overwhelmingly is going to vote for him. keeping the first african- american president of the united states is office, trumps anything i think -- anything any emotions, any discomfort they might have on -- on the president taking this very courageous stand in -- for equality. i just -- i mean, toure and i are friends, i respect him, but this is one area, and he's not the first person to say this, and i wrote a piece about this yesterday, where i just don't think the president taking this courageous stand will do anything to his black supporters.
>> let's all agree when we venture into this kind of area, we're doing a stern amount of risk. this isn't exactly science. richard wolf , 2008 , florida voted for president obama 51-48 over mccain and on the very same ballot voted to ban same-sex marriage, 62% to 38%. but that candidate, president obama , senator obama , on that ballot, not a candidate in favor of same-sex marriage, which he now is.
>> you know, actually if you take me back to 2004 , there's quite a lot of research done. karl rove encouraged marriage initiatives to be done on a bunch of different state election ballots and they happened to be battleground states . people went back and looked at the turnout. it did increase turnout occurring among conservatives. there was no correlation. think if you are trying to be crudely political about this, you have to say it's mixed. there are regional differences here, and in a close election , it can make a marnl natural difference. you know, igs possible that both toure and jonathan are height here, in terms of the percentage win among african- americans , president obama will could just fine, but actually, on the margins of turnout among religious groups , religious latinos and religious african- americans , they may be inclined to stay at home . u.s. a marginal call. but in a marginal election it makes it all the more gutsy the presidents that taken this step.
>> eight states where same-sex marriage is legal, and a whole bunch passed constitutional amendments against it. and only three states have absolutely no statute, no law on same-sex marriage. those states are new jersey, rhode island and new mexico. the only three that don't have anything, and so toure , a different dynamic here. the carl rove crowd cannot put one of these things on the ballot in one of those states they want to take away from the president, because they already did.
>> right. right. you know, i want to back up for a second and say civil rights should never be on the ballot. you should never give the masses to vote for whether or not a certain group has the right to do something. quite often, the masses get it wrong. if we put suffrage on the ballot, a locality of people would vote to take that away. we should not allow people to vote up or down. that should not be part of what we do.
>> jonathan capehart , would you say this works to the president's benefit? is there a loss to him here? i want to look at it and say is there some advantage to him here. we've seen an advantage in fund-raising. leaving fund-raising aside, do we see an electoral advantage for the president in this choice?
>> electoral advantage in right now i can't answer that question affirmatively. we have to see down the road where independents are, in relation to the president now that he's made this decision. and, you know, the gay community has been with the president overwhelmingly, going back to richard's analysis in terms of the african-american community, on the march begins, quite a few gay and lesbian people upset with the president, who are not taking the public stand, today, you mentioned that the campaign has raised $1 million. i would be curious to know how much of that came from gay donors. one gay donor here in washington who -- you said he set up a fund-raising page on the obama website, and ended up raising based on just his one $500 contribution, $7,000. so i think you're going to have a reenergized gay community . i think it remains to be seen whether this will help the president with independents, very important in some of those swing states .
>> let's listen to what john boehner said about this today.
>> i've always believed that marriage was between a man and woman. all i know is that this is a very controversial issue in our country, but most people believe that marriage is -- is a union of a man and a woman.
>> richard wolffe , how hard are the republican s going to go at the president on this?
>> actually, most people don't believe in that position, so he's wrong on the facts. this is a useful thing. for a more energized democratic party , more energized base for democrats, it has an equal but opposite effect about energizing conservatives. they have huge problems in terms of not liking their nominee, but the difference between social and libertarian conservatism , and this energizes the anti obama vote, and that's not a great thing for this president.
>> gentlemen, we have to move on. more guests to get in here. thank you, toure , jonathan capehart , and richard wolffe .