Dissension In The Ranks

More

Apparently the White House is in a tiff because Melody Barnes said she supported gay marriage:

So when one of Obama's top advisers, Melody Barnes, suggested that she personally supported gay marriage before a crowd at Boston College last week, it could have been a minor story. But it became a bigger one when the White House press office responded defensively, first insisting that no such support for gay marriage had been offered and then not signing off on the release of the video of Barnes's appearance until the dead-news hours of Friday afternoon.

Leaving her position aside, this strikes me as an instance where things like "message discipline" get in the way of what makes sense. I would expect--indeed I would hope--that people in the Obama White House differ over a range of issues. And to the extent that they were asked their personal views, I'd like to see--from time to time--one of them say, "This is what I believe,"  and have the press office say something like "We have a range of opinions in the White House. This administration's position is XXX. But we believe intelligent debate is essential to governing." Or some such. Condie Rice differed with Bush over affirmative action. The world didn't end.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

What makes a story great? The storytellers behind House of CardsThis American LifeThe Moth, and more reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In