Ken Mehlman Asks for Something He Wasn't Able to Give Himself

those stereotypes turn out to be true.

Namely, that the more homophobic a man is, the more likely he is to
have his own conflicted sexuality. A secure man, the story says, doesn't
care what gay men do in their bedrooms.

those stereotypes turn out to be true.

Namely, that the more homophobic a man is, the more likely he is to
have his own conflicted sexuality. A secure man, the story says, doesn't
care what gay men do in their bedrooms.

Unless he's the Chair of the Republican
National Committee.

Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign
manager in 2004 and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee,
has told family and associates that he is gay.

Mehlman arrived at this conclusion
about his identity fairly recently, he said in an interview. He agreed
to answer a reporter's questions, he said, because, now in private life,
he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage and anticipated that
questions would arise about his participation in a late-September fundraiser
for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that
supported the legal challenge to California's ballot initiative against
gay marriage, Proposition 8.

I do want to say, now, that I admire
Mr. Mehlman for finally coming out of the closet and claiming his gay
identity. While most of my gay and lesbian friends came out of the closet
in their teens, some did not acknowledge their sexuality until they
were in the 40s.

But they weren't Chair of the Republican National Commitee.

Mehlman's leadership positions in
the GOP came at a time when the party was stepping up its anti-gay activities
-- such as the distribution in West Virginia in 2006 of literature linking
homosexuality to atheism, or the less-than-subtle, coded language in
the party's platform ("Attempts to redefine marriage in a single
state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country...").
Mehlman said at the time that he could not, as an individual Republican,
go against the party consensus. He was aware that Karl Rove, President
Bush's chief strategic adviser, had been working with Republicans to
make sure that anti-gay initiatives and referenda would appear on November
ballots in 2004 and 2006 to help Republicans.

Mehlman acknowledges that if he had
publicly declared his sexuality sooner, he might have played a role
in keeping the party from pushing an anti-gay agenda.

"It's a legitimate question
and one I understand," Mehlman said. "I can't change the fact
that I wasn't in this place personally when I was in politics, and I
genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally." He asks of
those who doubt his sincerity: "If they can't offer support, at
least offer understanding."

And here is where I am stuck.

Mr. Mehlman says that he understands
those of us who can't offer him our support because he has come to terms
with his gayness. He admits that even as Chair of the Republican
National Committee
, he was just following orders when the Republican
Right launched attacks on the civil rights of gay people, attempted
to turn them into pariahs who were not worthy of being American citizens.

Because that's what we're talking about.
The wholescale attempts to deny to gay people their civil rights, even,
in some cases, their very right to existence, all happened under the
watch of a man who now acknowledges that he is gay.

If he was David Brock, he would not
only disavow his past behaviour, but he would leave the party that perpetrated
these activities. But Mehlman, in one of those bizarrre turns of phrase,
thinks that gay people should join the Republican party because it alone
is facing off against Islam--the greatest threat to gay people on the
planet (according to Mehlman)?

Excuse me? If
you read
then you have already seen Jeff Sharlet's chilling article about his
recent trip to Uganda. You see, the Ugandan anti-gay bill, which would
mete out death to "serial homosexuals," is a bill that has
been pushed by members of The Family, the organization within the Republican
party, well-documented, that pushes an extreme Christian right-wing

The greatest threat to gays in the world?

Ken. Look in the mirror. Either change
the party you're in by fighting the forces of evil within it (and I
do call The Family evil deliberately), or take a real stand, denounce
your past, those you led, the agenda you were a part of,
or leave the party and become an activist like David Brock has.

You want my understanding?

You have to earn it.

You spent a long time earning my contempt.

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