Tipsheet in Creative Loafing
Tipsheet editor James Richardson writes in this week’s Creative Loafing (online today and available at print stands on Thursday) on the pinch in which Kasim Reed has found himself in the wake of President Barack Obama’s gay marriage evolution:
Eleven words. That was all it took to rock Reed’s almost-assured contender status for that inevitable statewide bid: “I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” Never have so few words had such an impact on a Georgian politician — except, perhaps, for the whopper that struck ex-Obama foe Herman Cain last year: “He put his hand on my leg and reached for my genitals.”
President Barack Obama’s new, if long-presumed, support for gay marriage has made Reed uniquely vulnerable by forcing the mayor to prematurely square this new normal with the countervailing religious convictions of his own natural constituency.
Reed’s immediate response was to mirror the Obama model, even appropriating the president’s now-dated language. He was “still wrestling,” he said, with his own “personal beliefs on the issue of marriage,” even as a local petition begging the mayor’s conversion had swelled to more than 4,200 supporters. Not quite large enough to force his outright evolution, the petition had at least grown large enough to warrant a city hall summit: its primary organizer landed a meeting this Wednesday to discuss gay marriage with Reed.
Yet unlike the president, whose top political lieutenant recently forswore a deep Georgia footprint in this fall’s contest, the Atlanta mayor must vie for votes in the Democratic wasteland of the rural south if he’s ever to take his act to the national stage in D.C. …