Dan Savage, columnist for the Seattle alt-weekly magazine The Stranger, appeared on the Tuesday broadcast of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes to react to David Axelrod's revelation that President Obama always supported gay marriage all along and he was the one that advised then-Senator Obama to publicly oppose gay marriage in order to get alerted.
Savage said Obama "was going to pretend to oppose gay marriage" while fellow activists in the gay community "would pretend to believe him." Savage also said we can't be so "naive" to believe that politicians should be honest 100% of the time.
"We news this all along," Savage, a well-known columnist on gay issues, said. "We joked -- I wrote at the time when the president was opposed to marriage equality during the campaign, and in his first term, that he was going to pretend to oppose marriage equality and we would pretend to believe him, those of us who are activists, and we would hold his feet to the fire."
Savage said "nobody" in the gay community believed Obama when he went from being in favor of gay marriage early in his political career to opposing it during the 2008 election and then being pro gay marriage again prior to the 2012 election.
"Nobody I think in the LGBT civil rights movement believed him when he went from being pro marriage equality in 1996 to oppose to for it again," Savage said.
"That's not the way that people evolve on this issue," Savage explained. "People evolve in one direction. People move from opposition to support. I never heard of a case, except for the president, where we are supposed to buy somebody evolving on it then devolving on it then revolving on it as the president did."
Savage called this "useful political theater" and praised Axelrod's "political calculation" that "benefited LGBT people in this country tremendously."
"It was useful political theater," Savage said. "I agree with David Axelrod and the president that the country wasn't ready in 2008 for a ticket of a national candidate who supported marriage equality. And by pragmatically making this choice to jettison his support for marriage equality the president managed to bring the country along by making his discomfort with the political calculation he clearly made part of the drama and part of the performance of his office and it benefited LGBT people in this country tremendously."
Savage later excused the Obama political strategy because it's "naive to believe that politicians are 100% straight with us all the time, nor do we want them to be 100% straight with us all the time."
"I think we can't be so naive as to think that politicians are 100% straight with us all of the time, nor do we don't want them to be 100% straight with us all of the time," he said.
"it's not a violation i think of the pact between politician and public," Savage added. "It is a part of what politics and moving public opinion is all about."
"I guarantee," Savage said, "I believe in my heart that Axelrod ran that by the president before he published it."