Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic reported Wednesday
that former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman has announced that he is gay.
Well, knock me over with a feather. In response to this shocking revelation, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper writes:
Nothing presents a better argument for the equality of gay and lesbian citizens than the reality of our lives as responsible members of society. I am happy that Ken has come to a place where he can take a stand with integrity, and I welcome him as yet another conservative, common-sense voice to join with Log Cabin Republicans and all Americans in this important dialogue.
Wait. Ken Mehlman is a responsible member of society? A guy who helped re-elect George W. Bush in 2004 on an anti-gay platform? But wait, there's more. The Log Cabin news release included this from former congressman Jim Kolbe:
Ken joins a chorus that includes Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Ted Olson, and countless others advocating for the American value of inclusion. This is not a time for playing politics; it is a time for us all to join together--Republicans and Democrats--to repeal the failed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, to pass workplace non-discrimination, and to recognize all committed relationships. The responsibility for making this happen lies with the Democratic leadership in Congress and in the White House who set the legislative agenda.
How inspiring for Kolbe to say this is not a time for playing politics, and then blame the Democrats for their difficulty in overcoming Republican obstructionism. It occurs to me that Cee Lo Green had just the right response in his music video that I posted yesterday. Indiemcemopants at Firedoglake has some choice comments.
Ambinder reports that Mehlman does have regrets and has been quietly helping the American Foundation for Equal Rights in its fight for marriage equality. Well, good for you, Ken. You have an awful lot of repenting to do.
My main reaction is to give a shout-out to Mike Rogers, who was prompted by the homophobic 2004 Bush re-election campaign, which Mehlman enthusiastically ran, by launching his blogACTIVE website and outing campaign against treacherous gay Republican closet cases. Mike has responded to the news by giving Mehlman the Roy Cohn Award. Mike writes:
So, how can Ken Mehlman redeem himself? I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for being the architect of the 2004 Bush reelection campaign. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for his role in developing strategy that resulted in George W. Bush threatening to veto ENDA or any bill containing hate crimes laws. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for the pressing of two Federal Marriage Amendments as political tools. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for developing the 72-hour strategy, using homophobic churches to become political arms of the GOP before Election Day.
And those state marriage amendments. I want to hear him apologize for every one of those, too.
And then there is one other little thing. You see, while you and I had the horrible feelings of being treated so poorly by our President, while teens were receiving the messaging 'gay is bad' giving them 'permission' to gay bash, while our rights were being stripped away state by state, Ken was out there laughing all the way to the bank. So, if Ken is really sorry, and he very well may be, then all he needs to do is sell his condo and donate the funds to the causes he worked against so hard for all those years. He's done a lot of damage to a lot of organizations, while making a lot of money. A LOT of money. It's time to put his money where his mouth is. Ken Mehlman is sitting in a $3,770,000.00 (that's $3.77 million) condo in Chelsea while we have lost our right to marry in almost 40 states.
THEN, and only then, should Mehlman be welcomed into our community.
Update: Bruce Garrett at Truth Wins Out comments here. Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly comments here.