When the news broke that former Bushinista and RNC Chairman Ken “Bud” Mehlman is gay I just thought it was an interesting news tidbit. I so readily accept the fact there are gay people in all walks of life – and that many people don’t like it one bit – that I don’t always give news like this the attention it deserves.
Then, I saw this article in which blogger Mike Rogers suggested Mehlman might make amends to the gay community for the damage he’d done to gay rights by donating his, “fabulous $3 million condo … to the cause that he worked so hard against.”
Three mill seems a bit steep for a modern day Benedict Arnold. Being a hypocrite is a free perk that comes with the First Amendment. After all, the Constitution allows free speech, it doesn’t say anything about hypocritical speech.
The Pogrom of the Grand Old Paranoids
I’m not much for outing people against their will. I figure that’s no one else’s business, regardless of their sexual orientation. But then, Mehlman wasn’t your everyday closeted gay person either. He had a position of power which he exercised against himself and millions of others at the behest of the Grand Old Paranoids.
His overlords at the party knew of his orientation, but decided that a trusty attack dog was more important to the cause than being up front with their constituency. Anything’s fair in love and politics – well, maybe not in unnatural, scary gay love – but certainly in politics.
Commander Bunnypants apparently knew of the “problem” as did The Big Dick™ who is double damned for taking a hard line against gay marriage, which his own daughter might’ve otherwise enjoyed. Of course, Dick changed his tune (with caveats) after leaving the White House, which makes him double-damned and a flip-flopper.
The subterfuge isn’t particularly unusual, every few weeks there are similar stories. What is interesting, however, is how many Bushinistas used Mehlman’s reliably straight male injunctions as proof that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a sensible policy. Mehlman even said so himself and worked closely with Team Bush to craft that message.
Now that the administration’s discordant stance is a little better known, how many of the sanctimonious, anti-moral relativity crowd will react? Will they take to their soap boxes like Mr. Mission Accomplished climbed the mountain of World Trade Center rubble? Will they have megaphones in hand, ready to denounce their former leader or renounce their still shaky moral stance?
Ironically, Mehlman Can’t Join the Military Now
Here’s a case in which the Commander-in-Chief, vociferously opposed to gays in the military, didn’t follow his own logic when it came to his minions. Instead, he placed a known gay person in charge of explaining how gays were a national security danger. It’s not clear who asked or who told, but clearly the White House knew. Even though he wasn’t in the military, and ironically can’t join now, Mehlman was certainly a bigger cog in the national machine than a PFC choking on burning Afghan dust.
Suggesting one can be both for and against gays seems like a large contradiction for a policy usually defended on moral grounds. It’s a stance that tacitly says a soldier or administration policy advocate is somehow less gay if people don’t know the truth about them.
I’m confident that most of the DADT/Prop 8 crowd will stay as mute as humanly possible about Mehlman – these things are difficult to explain away. But, in the end it may not mean anything. The Bush administration will have to live with their actions, as will Mehlman. I can have some empathy for the man, but I suspect neither will lose much sleep over it. Their long-winded, anti-gay speeches notwithstanding, morality was always just a talking point for them anyway.
As I said, the First Amendment tolerates hypocritical speech, but valid claims to superior morality … not so much.
- Question time with Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic on Mehlman (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Wayne Besen: Ken Mehlman’s Difficult Path to Redemption (huffingtonpost.com)
- Ken Mehlman Reaps What He’s Sown (pinkbananaworld.com)
- New York Times Fascinated That Republicans Don’t Care That Ken Mehlman Is Gay (outsidethebeltway.com)
- The Most Powerful Gay Republican in History (gayrights.change.org)
- Open thread for night owls: Ken Mehlman (dailykos.com)
- “BREAKING: Former RNC chair Ken Mehlman comes out as gay man” and related posts (gay.americablog.com)
- Does Ken Mehlman Fail His Barmitvah Covenant? (lezgetreal.com)
- Thoughts on Ken Mehlman | Michael Tomasky (guardian.co.uk)