This post is a little more confrontational than my usual, but it has become a pet peeve of mine when people make Obama out to be the saint who will save America, instead of recognizing his strengths and weaknesses.
Obama ignoring gay marriage
The key phrase in this article, to me, is "the president shows no signs so far of following the example of L.B.J., who championed black civil rights even though he knew it would cost his own party the South."
LBJ was an opinionated, cranky pain-in-the-neck who figured out what he wanted to do and went off and did it regardless of what everyone thought, which made him exactly the kind of guy who would stand up and say "We're granting civil rights, whether you like it or not." In other words, he had the moral fortitude to cut himself politically to achieve a just end. That (and Vietnam) cost him reelection, but it made him a civil rights advocate.
Obama, on the other hand, is an extremely adroit politician, who still has yet to come out for anything unpopular-but-right*, and has backed a number of policies which were popular-yet-wrong (automaker bond policy, bank bailout terms, tariffs and immigration in the stimulus package, I'm looking at all of you). He stated OUTRIGHT during his campaign that he opposes gay marriage, so I don't know where all of this optimism that he will champion gay rights comes from.
Anyone looking for the current White House to have the LBJ testicular fortitude to back gay marriage, good luck to you. I'll bet the first comer 20 bucks that gay marriage hasn't been legalized by the time people vote on his reelection. I'll bet another 20 bucks that he doesn't propose new gay marriage legislation before a reelection. If there were a way of verifying this, I'd bet another 20 bucks that he doesn't come out in strong support of any existing gay marriage legislation. If he were going to risk himself politically, he would have done so already. He'll wait til a second term or not do it at all.
EDIT: As further evidence that Obama is NOT the second coming of Susan B. Anthony, he is on track to be the first president ever to pass a law legalizing preventive detention. It's to deal with the Bush-era holdouts, but Bush never even tried to pass a law to the effect. I don't think he wants to use it, as Bush did, but the fact that this shows up in legislation sponsored by him tells you something about his willingness to take the political easy way out. Source.
*To those who would say "stem cell research" was something unpopular that he supported, know that an overwhelming majority of Americans support stem cell research, it's just that the minority who oppose it are very loud: sources