by Leah Waldron
This week in North Carolina, a pro-Romney/Ryan ad targeted the newest crop of 2012 Independents: anti-gay, former Obama voters. The attack ad featured a white, presumably-married couple who voted Democrat in 2008 because they wanted “change,” but got the short shift with gay marriage, instead. Titled “New Morning,” the 30-second spot begins with a woman reading the morning newspaper with her coffee, while a sad yet playful song (think: a Disney villain crying) plays in the background. The woman’s (absolutely horrific actor) husband asks her what’s the matter, and she answers: “Obama is trying to force gay marriage on this country. That’s not the change I voted for. Marriage is between a man and a woman.”
The solution, according to the dopey, closeted-looking husband, is to “vote for someone with values.” The video ends with the married couple sitting in their living room with three children, having a real “family moment” while the words “Romney/Ryan” flash across the screen, as well as the Super PAC responsible for the ad, the Liberty Council (owned by Gary Bauer, an Evangelical activist and former president of the anti-gay hate group, the Family Research Council).
Aside from the fact that it looks like a “Saturday Night Live” commercial parody (I did not think it was real the first time I watched it), the ad does pose an interesting question for anti-gay, North Carolina Democrats who voted for Obama in 2008 (a small percentage, yes, but they are out there, as evidenced by Amendment 1 being passed earlier this year): Did Obama deliver more social change than economic change? And if so, does coming out for gay rights negate Obama’s ability to lead in other areas? And what about “values” in terms of women’s rights? (the woman in the ad has about 90 percent of the lines, a possible effort to grab the female vote).
Even if anti-gay, ex-Obama voters did not foresee a gay marriage plank in the new platform, “New Morning” misses the point entirely when it comes to the word “change.” You can take away Obama’s pro-gay marriage stance, and you still get the promised (and fulfilled) changes in the economy, foreign affairs, jobs and education. We may not be in a completely new America, but we are better off than we were four years ago.
Back in May, when Obama announced his support for gay marriage, he did not substitute gay rights in lieu of his other promises. He augmented an already forward-thinking platform to include the rights of all people, including his main target: the middle and lower class. Obama is a man of the people. But you cannot support the rights of a few, while looking the other way on the rest.
When the woman in the ad says that she did not vote for gay marriage, she is right. But she did vote for a President who is on the right side of history when it comes to civil rights, a fact that the attack ad ignores. When Obama was elected in 2008, he did not run on a campaign that promised gays the right to marry, but he did promise an increase in gay rights, which he delivered on. So in a way, the “change” the woman voted for in 2008 may not have been front-and-center in the platform, but she did vote for a better world for gays. And now, we’ve got it.
When it comes to gay marriage, the “change” isn’t quite there yet, but it’s coming. And that scares bigots (of any Party) to death.
If the newspaper scared the married couple in “New Morning,” maybe they should stick to Fox News, where the stories are hand-picked just for them. And acting lessons couldn’t hurt, either (for the guy in the ad—the woman was very convincing as a crazy, anti-gay, soccer mom).
Saturday Night Live
Chris Carlson AP