Which comes first: politics or principle? In Ken Mehlman’s case, it’s impossible to know.
Once a loyal foot soldier in George W. Bush’s intensely homophobic 2004 re-election campaign, the former chair of the Republican National Committee finally came out and became a vocal advocate for marriage equality. So much so, in fact, that Mehlman is about to sign onto his second Supreme Court brief arguing for the cause.
At the same time, Mehlman is squiring Jeb Bush around and introducing him to fat cat donors. Yes, the same Jeb Bush who proclaimed himself “a supporter of traditional marriage” the last time the Supreme Court weighed in on the issue. And just last week, as a reminder of where he stands.
Mehlman’s connection with Bush is taken as a sign that the former Florida governor is evolving on gay issues. This would be an evolution on the scale of the development of primordial ooze into Homo sapiens, without the intervening millions of years.
Mehlman isn’t the only openly gay Bush supporter. Bush has hired Tim Miller, who is currently running an opposition research PAC, as his key communications person. Last time out, Miller supported Jon Huntsman, who was the only pro-gay major GOP presidential candidate and whose campaign evaporated quicker than a dew drop on a klieg light. Bush is also surrounding himself with pro-marriage staffers and supporters.
Now, having a major Republican candidate come out in favor of gay rights, let alone gay marriage, would be a huge step forward into the 21st century. There are only two problems with it:
- Embracing marriage equality guarantees that the ultra-conservative base will revolt, making it nigh on impossible to win the nomination.
- Bush has been so antigay up until now that any shift in his stand is going to seem motivated by the cash that the establishment donors, who know the party must change, are lavishing on him.
As you might imagine, the very idea of Bush showing anything like support for gay people, let alone gay marriage, drives religious conservatives ’round the bend. Iowa radio host Steve Deace, whose support will be crucial in the 2016 presidential campaign, said that by hiring Miller, Bush was giving conservatives “a middle finger.”
He’s also extending a hand to homophobes. Bush just met with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the same Tony Perkins who has made a living attacking anything gay and who said marriage equality would lead to civil war.
What we’re seeing is a cute little game that Republicans are very good at playing, in which the media is fed a line from insiders meant to convey the “real” candidate. Bush wants to appeal to Republican establishment donors, who know the party has to move on marriage equality. At the same time, he doesn’t want to go out of his way to alienate the wingnuts that constitute the party base any more than he has to.
So we get the public Bush and the private Bush, and we’re supposed to believe that the private Bush is the one we’ll see when he’s safely ensconced in the White House. He’s not nearly as conservative as you might think. The media has bought this hook, line and sinker–and shame on them, having done the same thing with Jeb’s brother. Those bothersome little issues like reiterating support for traditional marriage and meeting with one of the top homophobes in America–well, those don’t fit the narrative, so you won’t be hearing about them so much.
So how does Mehlman fit into this cozy picture? He certainly provides Bush with the cover he needs for the private image he’s cultivating in the media. Maybe Mehlman truly believes that Jeb Bush will change and accept LGBT rights. But you have to have a pretty high tolerance for, shall we say, contradiction to throw your support behind someone who has said that the religious liberty (aka, the right to discriminate at will) deserves the same protection as your rights.
It wasn’t that long ago that Mehlman was full in on W’s manipulation of antigay sentiment in swing states to get reelected. In fact, he was one of the architects of it. Now he’s back to playing with fire again. Once burned, apparently he’s not averse to getting too close to the flame again. Or maybe principle comes ahead of politics only when its convenient.
And until Bush actually comes out with an unequivocally supportive statement, don’t buy the evolution theory. It’s more a creationist myth.
And the answer is: HE CAN’T!!!
The old….what I do for a living doesn’t define me, cause I can separate morals and it’s just a job, or I’m working inside the system BS….may fly if you are gay working your second job if the day cleaning a church that doesn’t support marriage equality at night cause you are putting your kids through college…but not here. Here he and any other gay person who thinks they can stand for both are just talking out their a@@.
As much as I dislike Hillary, electing a Republican (just about any of them) would be disastrous for the LGBT community. It makes me want to flee to New Zealand.
I just can’t believe someone is pushing that idiot Jeb Bush… We have had enough of the Bush family. Would be a disaster for this while country. The Republican party is a train wreck. Even with their majority in Congress they were defeated on spending for Homeland security a few days ago. They wanted to include provisions against Obama’s immigration orders and failed.
The Republicans are weak and incompetent. Yet even a couple of posters on here cheer these assholes.
Urm has anyone forgotten this guy was and still is a sell out?
Mehlman hasn’t changed at all. He remains a disgrace.
Why is he doing this? Easy, because his business plan of “NOW that I don’t have a job with George W anymore, I’ll come out of the closet and “The Gays” will shower me with money and tell me what a great guy I am, and I will get a cushy job at some place like HRC for a million a year.
That didn’t happen, so now he is shilling for Jeb Bush, and they are playing the “Log Cabin” game. In other words Jeb is saying “I don’t like “The Gays” and I am for “Traditional Marriage” but I’m only going to say that in private meetings with my conservative donors, and the press will talk about the gay guy I hired.”
And Mehlman has always only cared about his wallet. If tony Perkins or NOM was hiring and could meet his asking price he would probably go work for them.
Am I wrong to despise him? Just for fun I’m going to imagine Aaron Shrock pounding the daylights out of Ken Mehlman. You know what I mean. ‘Teach you to be an out gay…’ POUND POUND POUND
The man was the RNC Chair in the most homophobic Presidential campaign in US history. If his boss had gotten his way, gay marriage would have been banned in the US Constitution for longer than any of us would be alive.
Now he is out and proud, and signs up with a man who says he opposes gay marriage. He is a toad who cares more about his career than your rights as a fellow gay man.
Mehlman is a disgusting man. A pox on his house.
No candidate is defined by one issue and most voters don’t vote on only one issue. (And not all gay people are one-issue gay marriage voters.) I have voted for many candidates who I don’t agree with 100%, but who I believe to be the best available candidate. So Mehlman can support Bush because he thinks he’s the best candidate even if they don’t agree on everything. The Log Cabin Republicans don’t have any trouble supporting anti-gay Republicans because their selfish economic interests trump their concern for gay rights. So that’s “How Ken Mehlman Can Support Jeb Bush And Marriage Equality At The Same Time.” Not so difficult.
Log cabin republicans often say they vote with their checkbook. But even if that was the case, why are republican presidencies always bad for the economy? One can look at the facts… the last two republican presidents had their terms end in recessions. Reagan was a disaster too… and his economic policies ruined this country. That man is a hero for the republican party… to me he’s a fking criminal.
The problem is, you can’t lump civil rights in as a simple disagreement on policies. There is a huge difference between a party with him you disagree on gas milage regulations, and a party that says you do not have the right to exist as a legal person, can’t enter in to legal contracts with somebody of your own sex, that just by living your life you get arrested.
Those aren’t simple differences of opinions. As for the Log Cabiners, they claim to vote with their wallet, and yet funny enough can never point out exactly which GOP policies are supposed to be good for the wallet since they have harmed the economy each time they’ve been in charge.
…as an older gay man of 54yrs old, married 4, together 14…I say it’s FUCKING TIME to SHUN ALL GOP GAYS!!!! SHUN THEM…….the time for compromise is LONG OVER……..SHUN the F’N shit out of these MF’s!
I wouldn’t support Jeb. But in fairness, I am sure I’ve never once voted for a candidate with whom I agreed with on every issue. Sometimes I’ve voted for candidates I’ve had differences with on very substantial issues.
And again, regulations governing whether imported fish from Asia can be labeled as “Catfish” and the civil rights of an entire group of people being able to live their lives and not be arrested for it are not a difference in “issues”.
One is an issue, one is a party telling you that you really don’t have the right to exist.
@Cam: I agree with you ideologically, but I think you have your facts wrong. If you look at these questions through Republican eyes, gay rights is just another issue. And rich white people have benefited very much from conservative economic policies. It’s the rest of the country that’s been hurt.
A very close (gay) friend is excited about the prospect of yet another Bush in the White House. This friend, who identifies as a Republican because he is a “fiscal conservative”, always seems to forget that he quadrupled his fortune (a multi-million dollar inheritance from his grandparents) during the Clinton years and lost nearly 70% of the entire amount (and took a $1.5M loss on a condo short sale) as a result of George W’s financial meltdown. So I look at Mehlman the same way I look at my friend, knowing that they aren’t going to change what they believe regardless of what it costs them (financially or otherwise). Mehlman’s career has been to sell whatever the political bosses put on his desk – he has no scruples as to those he might be hurting as long as he gets his paycheck (he’d actually do quite well on Wall Street if he were just a little more personable).
Loathsome, self-serving, cynical Quisling.
I think the bigger issue is who the hell are we going to get to replace Hilary Clinton now?
This email thing is going to be a huge anchor around her neck. She’ll be toast by June.
The House Benghazi committee just subpoenaed all of her “private” emails signaling that this is going to be a very, very long investigation to be dragged out for a while for maximum political damage effect.
My god- Warren? No way- she’s someone’s librarian running for President. O’Malley? That guy is the Maryland version of Mike Dukakis mixed with Tom Daschle- he looks like a wuss! White suburban voters will never go for him.
Rahm and the boys destroyed the Democratic party when they made it all about Obama and stopped carrying about the next generation having to be groomed. Wasserman-Schultz is an abject failure and should have been removed after being at the head of the largest Democratic loss in decades. Nope- she’s still in there!
My God- unless we can get our act together here, we’re all going to be looking at a President Bush before you know it (and a more conservative Supreme Court for decades to come.)
“Why vote? Nothing changes!” – Go suck on that now, non-voters.
Follow the money. If he is getting money from big GOP donors or organizations then the man is a flaming hypocrite with no moral compass, just like the rest of the GOP. Or he is like the log cabin republicans trying so hard to get daddy’s approval. An approval that never comes.
@mikeincleveland: In the wake of ISIS, if the GOP can find a reasonable military general to nominate, he may very well get elected. As for Hillary, I agree. Her baggage just keeps growing. I know the Hill-bots will scream loud and hard but, I think her window of opportunity is over. I like Gov. O’Malley. He’s a decent man but the country doesn’t know him. Sadly, I think the Repugs will prevail in 2016. We just have to hold our noses and get through it.
@Cam: Mebbe. From my own perspective, if there was a candidate that was going to launch an unjust war, abolish Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, eliminate the school lunch program, cut Pell Grants and weaken the Dodd-Frank Act but supported gay marriage, and then there was his opposing candidate who took the reverse positions, I reserve my right to make a tough choice according to my discernment.
@mikeincleveland: You have no proof for anything. Sorry. The email thing isn’t anything and she didn’t break any law. The House Benghazi committee is the ultimate bullshit committee that has nothing to back itself up. It has nothing that sticks. They have been trying to go after Clinton for years. Governor O’Malley is a good choice, but not viable in the long run. The repugs will not prevail in 2016 because they simply don’t have the ability to get the votes out anymore.
What republican is viable? Tell me which one?
Tell me guys, which republican is viable as a candidate in 2016? TELL ME. Which one?
If people think Hillary is toast for 2016, they are bullshitting themselves.
@Desert Boy: Well considering how shitty republicans are conducting themselves right now I doubt it. They couldn’t get provisions in the Homeland Security bill shuttering Obama’s immigration orders. And they have a huge majority. They have the worst approval ratings in Congressional history.
Oh please, not Hypocrite Ken again. His whole life is a cautionary tale. The basic point is this – we all live in a society where “acceptable lies” are more than acceptable – they’re expected. Hell, they’re INVITED! THAT is the crux of the problem. Ken Mehlman thinks he can live one way in one part of his life and essentially denounce everything he is and loves in another part of his life, because that’s what he’s been taught and the company line that he’s CHOSEN to buy. “It’s just business.” “It’s just politics.” “The end justifies the means.” Blah blah blah and then some.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road – how can we – ANY of us, gay, straight, right, left, whatever – live authentic, fulfilled lives when the prevailing morality of our culture is constantly whispering in our ears, “Do whatever you want in private, just lie about it everywhere else, and you’ll be fine”? We pretend to be aghast when we discover some far right “family values” guy likes to dress up in diapers, or some right wing homophobic long term senate leader (YOU know who you are!) has a secret fetish for delivery boys. The problem isn’t the fetish. The probilem lies in a culture that encourages and rewards these lies.
Ken Mehlman is the big honking symptom, not the problem. I wouldn’t want to be Ken Mehlman, because the cognitive dissonance is already aging him beyond recognition. Seriously, the guy needs a facial. What’s the point of living a dishonest life, Ken? Where has it gotten you? A little 15 minute fame break? Some money for your country house? And what happens when you look in the mirror? How much does it cost to clean up what you see in there? And I’m not talking wrinkles.
why would any gay person identify with the GOP? If the rank and file of the GOP had their way they would throw gays back in the closet and lock the door. Just remember as recently as the Texas GOP Convention May 2014 and more recently with CPAC, the gay GOP groups were once again excluded…….
@woodin: One word: MONEY.
He’s a whore, darling.
The money excuse would work… but the GOP is such a disaster with the economy with the past four or five GOP Presidents. I don’t ever get a gay republican who says he votes republican because he’s concerned about the economy.
If you’re concerned about the economy, the GOP is the last party you should think about supporting.
He is doing the same thing liberals did in 2008. They voted for Obama when he was against gay marriage. They could have voted for Kucinich or Nader, but didn’t
@Giancarlo85: Lack of proof hasn’t stopped liberals from going after Christie for bridge gate
@brent: Brent, you’re back? Well lack of proof? Actually there are emails directly implicating Christie’s staff. But nice try.
@brent: As for Obama, the difference was, that party wasn’t pushing to outlaw and roll back already existing civil rights, so lets not create a false equivalency.
The problem that people have when the log cabiners come in here is that you aren’t honest, you constantly try to pretend that there is somehow no difference between the GOP and the Democrats on gays. If you gave up on that, your postings would not come off as disingenuous.
@brent: What lack of proof? Christie is not just in trouble for Bridgegate. And his own staff was implicated in that. Republicans are corrupt. While Hillary has her issues, she far more electable than any Republican out there period.
And Obama was never seeking a law against gay marriage. So I guess we have another right winger here… One who speaks in logical fallacy and lack of evidence.
@Cam: Yeah he sounds like a log cabin Republican. One who tries to make his crappy political party sound better and not as antigay as it is. I can’t stand these gay Republicans… They need to get a grip on reality.
Mehlman is utterly pathetic, but like so many conservagays. They work against LGBTQ people, support homophobic policies, and excuse their hypocrisy by talking about “economic” issues, but as soon as LGBTQ have won a new round in the battle for freedom and equality, conservagays like Mehlman, Mary Cheney, and all the rest jump on board and enjoy the benefits. Talk about freeloaders!
@Kangol: But the strange thing is republicans are so awful at the economy… the last three shitty republicans presidents speak for themselves lol. But then again the conservagays like to pretend Dubya never happened.
Beware Mehlman is a snake in the grass.
@jwtraveler: Not so difficult? It most certainly is, when you consider that we are talking about human and equal rights for all. This is no simple difference of opinion. Of course, we who have brains can stray from the usual “party line” from time to time in disagreement, instead of marching in lockstep with the party. But NOT when the opposition is intent on taking away our fundamental rights as human beings and fellow citizens! Sorry, but that’s no “difference of opinion”.
@Cam: I should have read your excellent comment before posting mine. You said it far more eloquently than I did.
@DCFarmboi: Agreed, but hardly a benign argument. Of course thoughtful voter would agree and act the same. But, looking at it objectively, there’s no way a Democratic candidate would be championing all those causes, but it wouldn’t be hard to find a Republican who would.
@Giancarlo85: I adore Hillary Clinton (almost) unreservedly) warts and all. Ditto her husband. But even I must admit that the Clintons have this uncanny ability to get into inexplicable trouble, innocent or innocuous or not), BUT NEVERTHELESS GIVE THE OPPOSITION CANNON FODOR GALORE (their warts). And, I don’t have a terrific amount of confidence in the ability of the American Voter to cut away the chaff from the wheat. e.g.: the election and re-election of Dubbya.
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