Convenient Conversions

Following her husband down the road to Damascus, Hillary Clinton announced that she is ready to support same sex marriage:

“Like so many others, my personal views have been shaped over time by people I have known and loved, by my experience representing our nation on the world stage, my devotion to law and human rights and the guiding principles of my faith,” Clinton says. “Marriage, after all, is a fundamental building block of our society. A great joy, and yes, a great responsibility.”

“A few years ago, Bill and I celebrated as our own daughter married the love of her life,” Clinton continued. “I wish every parent that same joy. To deny the opportunity to our own daughters and sons solely on the basis of who they are and who they love is to deny them the chance to live up to their own God-given potential.”

Hmm. So … people close to Hillary Clinton, people she has “known and loved,” helped change her views on same sex marriage. In addition, the experience of her own child aided in the transformation as well, according to the former secretary of state.

Gosh, this sounds so very much like Rob Portman’s rationale for changing his views on same sex marriage. And as we recall, Portman got attacked by port-siders for a supposedly late conversion, and for changing his views only because someone close to him (his son, who came out) caused him to reconsider his stance on the issue. Any chance that the same port-siders might attack Hillary Clinton for taking longer than Portman did (and for that matter, taking much longer than Dick Cheney, John Bolton, and a host of Republicans did) to announce in favor of same sex marriage, and for employing pretty much the same reasons that Portman employed in explaining her change of heart? Has the thoroughly un-serious Matthew Yglesias denounced Clinton’s announcement as “the politics of narcissism” yet? Does he plan to?

Somehow, I doubt it. As I wrote in my post on Portman’s reversal, the people who attacked Portman from the left “are less interested in the issues of the day and more interested in attacking Republicans for any reason whatsoever, no matter how small the reason is in context.” It follows that however hypocritical their silence may be—and we all know that it is tremendously hypocritical indeed—they won’t attack Hillary Clinton for employing very Portmanesque rationales for changing her stance on the issue of same sex marriage. Heck, Hillary Clinton will get a free pass from these port-siders even though—and let’s not pretend that the following is not a consideration—her conversion on this issue (and that of her husband’s) is likely prompted by her desire to run for president in 2016. After all, Democratic primary and caucus voters won’t look kindly on a Democratic presidential candidate who doesn’t support same sex marriage. By contrast, Portman showed genuine political courage in adopting a stance that likely wasn’t prompted by any desire to run for president, and that will have lots of social conservatives angry at him regardless of whether he seeks the Republican nomination for the presidency, or if he just decides to run for re-election to the Senate. Portman deserves far more praise from supporters of same sex marriage for his display of political courage. In a just world, he would get it.