That’s the question many pundits and campaign junkies are asking themselves today amidst the enormous media firestorm that has been created around the president’s interview with Robin Roberts on ABC News. Words like “historic” and “groundbreaking” and “courageous” have been used to describe the pronouncement of the president, who was the first sitting president in U.S. history to publicly support gay marriage.
If you’re Mitt Romney, you may not feel like the word “courageous” being attached to the incumbent is going to be much of a benefit to you—particularly if it comes just days after words like “weak” and “cowardly” were attached to you for failing to step forward and scold one of your supporters for suggesting that the president should be tried for treason.
So even after Republicans have spent the past year setting up a campaign focused on the economy—and seemingly dropping to their knees and praying that as many Americans as possible stay out of work until November—it will be fascinating to see if they now try to pivot away from the economy and try to leap onto the gay marriage bandwagon for some traction. This is a party that has been brilliant in the past at using social issues like gay marriage and abortion to fire up the base and get those contributions pouring in and those conservatives running to the voting booth. Though recent polls have suggested that the public has many issues it considers more important than gay marriage, and with the public split down the middle on support of gay marriage (though Republicans are much more likely to oppose it), perhaps we have finally reached a moment in history when the Republicans will just let this one pass and continue to hit the economy.
But then again, suggesting that Republicans will stay away from gay marriage this time might be like asking whether pigs will grow wings and take flight in the morning.