Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Ken Mehlman Self-Outing

We discussed this in the entire last hour of the show yesterday as the news broke and we'll be focusing on it much on today's show. At least from our calls and from statements I've been reading from LGBT leaders and bloggers, there's lots of anger over former RNC chair and Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman's ugly and cruel work against LGBT rights and his seemingly unrepentant desire to now move on. And there's also the pragmatic understanding among some that Mehlman can now be very helpful and certainly it puts more pressure on President Obama and the Democrats. Mehlman has not really taken responsibility for his involvement in horrendous antigay campaigns in the few interviews I've read, including with The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld, either claiming he tried to temper the attack or just wasn't emotionally equipped yet to deal with them, something that seems hard to believe.

What is outrageous about the media coverage right now is the whitewash of history and the downplaying of Mehlman's role in making laws against us. The media covered up Mehlman's hypocrisy for years -- while they had no problem outing Judge Walker as gay -- and now have a vested interest in making it seem like he wasn't so involved in antigay efforts. The New York Times even claims he "personally" avoided social issues (they actually added the word "personally" last night) which is just ridiculous. This man, as RNC chair and as campaign manager for George W. Bush in 2004, okayed all of the antigay ads that ran in states across the country, as Mike Rogers points out in detail.

Mehlman's coming out may be good thing -- it splits Republicans further, isolates the homophobes even more at a time when other prominent conservatives are jumping from the antigay ship and, as I said, puts pressure on the Democrats and President Obama. But it's important that history not be obscured, no matter what Mehlman's motives are and whether or not he intends to now do much good working for the cause. And there must be accountability for the actions of people who do the kind of work that harmed gay people -- perhaps even caused young LGBT people to commit suicide, believing all the hate and bile that was spewed in these campaigns -- and so far, Mehlman hasn't been the least bit apologetic or contrite, while the media and some gay leaders are giving him a pass.

We'll get into all of the issues on the today's show and take calls.