NBC’s Chuck Todd: Is Gay Marriage Issue a Sign the Economy is Coming Back?

Chuck Todd presented an odd premise on last Sunday’s Meet the Press. Since the issue of gay marriage is now before the Supreme Court of the United States, Todd wondered if this meant that the economy is back on track because people’s attention has drifted from the economy to gay marriage?

During the March 31 broadcast, Todd noted that we are suddenly beset by a major debate on gay marriage and abortion. The NBC newser then pointed out that in the past the “big polarizing issues of the last two generations” have benefited Republicans.

Panelist Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal didn’t really think that we were exactly seeing any new focus on social issues because these fights have been going on for half a century. It was just part and parcel to our political climate, she pointed out.

But Todd wasn’t done with his Sunday morning speculation. Turning his attention to the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, Todd posited that perhaps the renewed focus on social issues was “a sign the economy is coming back?”

Robinson caught Todd’s drift and chimed in saying, “it usually is, isn’t it, when people can think about other things, other than jobs.”

Meanwhile the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the labor force participation rate has fallen from a 2003 rate of 66.4 percent to a February 2013 rate of 63.5 percent.

Worse, American median annual income has fallen another 1.1 percent. Alarmingly, Americans’ median income has fallen 6 percent since the start of the “recovery.”

Transcript of Panel Segment

Chuck Todd, NBC News: You know, Peggy, what’s been interesting about this week is all of the big polarizing issues of the last two generations, culturally all popped up in one week, and one of it had to do with the Supreme Court with gay marriage, with abortion.

This culture wars, normally when it comes back, it’s something that’s helpful to Republicans. Is it good this time for the conservative movement to have these issues out there?

Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal: I don’t know. I think, all of these cultural issues, as I guess we call them, have been major issues in America for almost half a century, really. The abortion argument was going on 50 years ago, Roe came 40 years ago. It is hard to resolve these issues because they’re not just cultural issues, they are moral issues and Americans feel differently about them. So I think one way or another, they’ll probably be bubbling out there for a long time and it’s not the worst thing.

Todd: So maybe a resolution in the law, but not in the way people feel. But is it also a sign the economy is coming back, Gene?

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Well, it usually is, isn’t it, when people can think about other things, other than jobs. But, you know, I think some of these cultural issues are being resolved. I mean, we — you know, gay marriage before the Supreme Court, obviously a hot-button issue.

But you look at the polls, and you see 58% in our poll, Washington Post poll, in favor of it, 80% of adults under 30. That sounds like a decision rather than a question on that issue.

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