Democrats pushed Barack Obama into the White House hoping he could end the culture wars—and when they say “end,” they mean “win,” writes Ross Douthat in the New York Times. Obama’s strategy: “Engage on abortion, and punt on gay rights.” Though he made promises on gay rights, expect him to go on ignoring them, and seeking to attract pro-life voters.
Obama has calculated that Democrats will get an easier win on gay rights by holding out, so it’s not worth pressing. On the other hand, even as young voters veer away from absolute support for abortion rights, pro-lifers are getting weary. Obama could forge a compromise that, though unable to put the issue to bed, “might be close enough for government work.”