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 More Than a Hero

Voter Angst and 2016 Race; Cop Killings on the Rise? How Market Analysts Blew It; Gay Marriage Divide

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A key Senate vote on trade is scheduled this afternoon on whether to grant fast-track negotiating power to the executive branch. President Obama, meanwhile, is attending the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit, a Georgetown University conference on overcoming poverty.
Three years ago today, Mitt Romney discussed poverty while delivering the commencement address at Liberty University. Although the speech contained some of the most graceful rhetorical passages of Romney’s campaign, looking back on it now, his remarks are important for another reason. Today is the third anniversary of the day the Democratic Party and the Republican Party officially diverged on the issue of same-s*x marriage.
I’ll have more on this after directing you to RCP’s front page, which aggregates columns, video clips, and analysis spanning the ideological spectrum. We also offer original material from RCP’s reporters and contributors, which I’ll blurb in a moment. First, however,

a word from today’s sponsor, Fuels America.
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The EPA has a choice: Side with the oil industry or support rural economies American innovation. Stand up for U.S. jobs the Renewable Fuel Standard.
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Poll: 2016 Candidates Face United States of Angst. Americans are still worried about the economy and terrorism, making the campaign trail even tougher for presidential aspirants, Alexis Simendinger reports.
Are Cop Killings on the Rise? RealClearPolicy editor Robert VerBruggen spotlights data showing that 2014 was a fairly typical year despite claims that fatal shootings of police spiked.
U.K. Elections Expose Stock Market Pundits as Frauds. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny examines the disconnect between British voters and supposedly clairvoyant commentators in the press.
There’s Something Strange in the Eurohood. In RealClearWorld, Andy Langencamp writes that the ghost of the Grexit is haunting Europe.
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From 2004 through the spring of 2012, Democratic Party candidates and officeholders — including John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden — tried to have it both ways on the issue of gay marriage.
Their official stance was that “marriage was between a man and a woman,” boilerplate rhetoric they’d temper with mumbled phrases about their respect for “equality” and their own “evolving” views.
But public opinion, led by young voters, was not “evolving” so much as it was undergoing a rapid and seismic sea change. Democrats noticed. Some were tired of playing a double game anyway. And on May 6, 2012, Joe Biden blurted out his actual views on “Meet the Press.”
“And you’re comfortable with same-s*x marriage now?” NBC moderator David Gregory asked.
In reply, Biden noted that he was vice president, not president, and that his boss “sets the policy.” But Biden being Biden, he plunged ahead anyway.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” he said.
This presented Obama with a dilemma. Should he distance himself from his own vice president? There was precedent for such a dichotomy, on this very issue, set by his predecessor. (George W. Bush did not embrace Dick Cheney’s view that marriage laws, including those allowing gay marriage, should be set by the states). But thousands of Democratic Party donors and activists were applauding Biden’s step — and clamoring for Obama to follow it.
Three days later, on May 9, 2012, the president did so. “I’ve concluded that, for me personally,” he told ABC News correspondent Robin Roberts, “it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-s*x couples should be able to get married.”
Mitt Romney wasn’t willing to go there. Speaking three days after Obama’s interview, the presumptive GOP standard-bearer pointed to cultural failings, instead of structural economic problems, while discussing the causes of poverty.
Romney cited a Brookings Institution study showing that only 2 percent of Americans who finish high school, land full-time work, and get married before having their first child live below the poverty line.
“Culture matters,” he said. “As fundamental as these principles are, they may become subjects of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage.”
Romney punctuated his observation with this assertion: “Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”
Although that last line was applauded by conservative evangelical leaders, it didn’t really track with his point about poverty. In any event, the battle lines were drawn. 
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The EPA has a choice to make when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. Side with the oil industry and protect their monopoly over the gas pump. Or stand up for American jobs and clean energy innovation. The choice is clear. Support a strong Renewable Fuel Standard. 
Carl M. Cannon Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics @CarlCannon (Twitter)[email protected]

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