Commenting on Harold Ford Jr.'s potential New York Senate bid, Newsweek blogger Ben Adler observed:
"Democrats throughout the South and in rural districts take positions on gun control, gay rights, and abortion that you suspect they don't really believe."
Hard to say, isn't it? And maybe that's the point--the ambiguity, that is. They believe that they can attract the conservatives and somehow speak in code to reassure the moderates and progressives in their districts.
But let's also recognize that there really are quite a few rural and Southern Democrats who truly are in sync with the majority of their voters on these issues.
It's such a tough call. On the one hand, if you ask a lot of Southern and rural voters their views on equality issues, they'll lean conservative. But if you ask them in a more neutral way what their top 3 concerns are, you wouldn't find many who would list same-sex marriage or any other equality issue. I don't see why we'd expect anything different from the candidates and elected officials. Moving them to the center on GLBT issues is a long chipping-away process. That happens to be true for Democrats and Republicans. And that's the way it will remain for the foreseeable future.