That was close...
If you remember Bush's election promise to push this wedge issue:
Flip: (July 2004) Presidential radio address:
"...the Defense of Marriage requires a constitutional amendment. An amendment to the Constitution is never to be undertaken lightly. The amendment process has addressed many serious matters of national concern. And the preservation of marriage rises to this level of national importance.... Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife."
Now that the election is over:
Flop: (Jan 2005)
"The Post: Do you plan to expend any political capital to aggressively lobby senators for a gay marriage amendment?
Right after Bush won in November, I made a non-trivial bet with a friend that 4 years from then Bush will have done nothing substatial to reduce the abortion rate in the US, and that there would not be even an attempt at a Gay Marriage constitutional ban.
As Carlos at Jesus Politics points out -- an excellent post from Bull Moose:
"In a rare extemporaneous moment, the President revealed what he really thinks about the religious right's objectives. Commenting on the prospects for the gay marriage constitutional amendment in his second term, W. told the Washington Post -
"On the domestic front, Bush said he would not lobby the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage...
"The president said there is no reason to press for the amendment because so many senators are convinced that the Defense of Marriage Act -- which says states that outlaw same-sex unions do not have to recognize such marriages conducted outside their borders -- is sufficient."
Sensing that the President's remarks would likely spur outrage among the religious right groups which labored for W's re-election, Administration flacks were attempting to pull back their bosses comments.
"Yesterday morning, the day after the interview, White House spokesman Scott McClellan called to say the president wished to clarify his position, saying Bush was "willing to spend political capital" but believes it will be virtually impossible to overcome Senate resistance until the courts render a verdict on DOMA."
What the President initially stated likely reveals what he really believes - that the last thing he wants is to spend precious and perhaps diminishing political capital on is a distasteful fight over gay marriage. After years of observation, the Moose has concluded that the Republican establishment does not share the passion of the religious right about divisive cultural issues.
The dirty little secret of the Republican Party is that behind closed doors the establishment has contempt for the religious right. And the GOP illuminati certainly do not leave their homes in the morning with a passion to prevent Jim from marrying John or to save a fetus from an abortionist. For instance, many have loved ones who are gay, or they may be gay themselves. The powers that be in the GOP are far more concerned about eliminating the estate tax for multimillionaires than halting the death of the unborn. Here is a thought experiment - if you really believe that the sacred institution of marriage is in dire jeopardy, would you make private social security accounts your top priority?
The GOP big wigs pay obeisance to the religious right because they provide the foot soldiers for their campaigns. The Republican establishment cynically manipulates the cultural issues because they recognize that a party that is dedicated to redistributing wealth upward has little chance of majority status. Once elected, Republicans reward the religious right with some crumbs while the real goodies are handed out to their wealthy donors and their corporate cronies.
Perhaps some day it will dawn on the rank and file of social conservatives that they are being manipulated to serve another agenda by the hierarchy of the Republican Party. Until then, as both the New Donkey and Matt Yglesias have also pointed out, the GOP will take them for suckers."