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Ken Mehlman's gay? Say it ain't so!

Apparently Ken Mehlman, former head of the Bush/Cheney reelection campaign and RNC national chair, is gay.

Say it ain’t so, Ken!

All those years I slept with a poster of Ken Mehlman in my bedroom, right between my pictures of Elton John, Harvey Milk and Oscar Wilde. I bought a Ken doll because I thought it would resemble Ken Mehlman. It did, a little, but only when I nestled it next to my RNC barbie. "What a stud that Ken is!" I would murmur to myself as I tucked a slice of wedding cake under my pillow. "I can’t wait until he opens up his eyes and see the truth about himself that everyone else sees: I’m perfect for him!"

This is almost as devastating as when I found out that James Buchanan might have been gay! Or when they came out with that biography of Abraham Lincoln that described what it would have been like if the biographer had been able to discover any evidence that Abraham Lincoln was gay. That was already too close!

It’s not that I don’t have gaydar. Sometimes, in the middle of meetings, I get distracted by the sense that someone in the building might be gay. It’s like having a spider-sense, except that instead of swinging from buildings to rescue the guy in question, I spend the next several months attempting to date him.

But Ken! He had that winsome smile, and that winsome tendency to discuss important, weighty things like ballot referenda and Dick Cheney.

Sure, it’s great that he’s being true to himself after 43 years. But couldn’t he have broken it to me more gently? He could have done something to hint at his orientation, like sneaking into a Pride parade or becoming the outspoken head of a national anti-gay organization. But Ken always seemed so moderate.

I guess it’s true what they say. All the good men are gay -- and/or Republican.

By Alexandra Petri  | August 26, 2010; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  Petri  | Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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Comments

Mr. Mehlman's announcement would be ironic if it were not moronic.

As a physician, I have numerous colleagues, patients, friends and family members who are gay and lesbian.

I care not in the least about his sexual persuasion, only about his hypocrisy.

Mr. Mehlman has previously acted in a manner destructive to the best interests of other gay men. Although I am not gay, I find this enormously offensive.

Permit me to add that I fully support marriage between any two consenting adults in the civic arena, but Halacha (Rabbinic Law) prevents me from supporting religious marriage between religiously ‘inappropriate’ partners. If others find my viewpoint hypocritical, I apologize.

Posted by: bloommarko4 | August 26, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

What a useless piece of mud. If you were trying to be funny, it isn't.

Posted by: LeesburgResident | August 26, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

5-10% of men are gay. scientific fact. 5-10% of Republican men are gay too. No surprise there.

The surprise is that they fight so hard to stir up anti-gay hatred for political ends. That makes them, not only gay, but despicable, self-serving hypocrites.

Posted by: thebobbob | August 26, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure he *did* do something to hint at his orientation: it's called him having sex with men.

Posted by: mikhastur | August 26, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure he *did* do something to hint at his orientation: it's called him having sex with men.

Posted by: mikhastur | August 26, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

bloommarko4,

If same-sex marriage is found to be Constitutionally protected (likely via the 5th and 14th Amendments), your synagogue can still refuse to perform, recognize, or sanctify the weddings. Their freedoms do not encroach on your freedoms.

Your religious beliefs have no bearing on other people's Constitutional protections.

Posted by: ncooty | August 26, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Respect is a rare commodity in politics.

Self-respect even more so - still non-existent in the Republican Party.

Is pity to replace fear now, as their motivational force?

The man is pathetic, but maintains the philosophy and 'spiritual principles' of his chosen party. Pathetic and hollow.

Posted by: ldfrmc | August 26, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Ken - I know you're reading this, so let me say thank you for letting the rest of us work for gay rights while you take the easy way out and create YEARS of turmoil through spreading an anti-gay agenda. And now that there are no political ramifications and you've made all your money, it's time for you to want to live life out in the open. Convenient, for someone so entirely worthless where it really counts. Why don't you join Larry Craig and the rest of the self-haters in the pos hall of fame. Worthless and spineless.

Posted by: floofy | August 26, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

As I gay man myself, I am puzzled by all the bashing of Mr. Mehlman. Isn't the gay rights movement about equality for all and convincing those who support inequality to reconsider? When someone who used to oppose equality comes around and supports it, isn't that a good thing? It is beyond dispute that he was wrong and hypocritical on this issue in the past, but is he not on the right side now? Exactly how does bashing a new convert to gay rights promote the agenda of equality? I just don't get it.

Posted by: exrep | August 26, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

It *is* funny, Alexandra. If anyone doesn't get it, it's their hard luck. If I ever lost my sense of humor it would be time to go.

Posted by: kbockl | August 26, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

It is just not right. How does a gay man look at himself in the mirror and call himself a Republican? Why would anyone be part of a group which insults and reviles them?
I am not gay, but have gay friends who I love dearly and could not fathom working for a cause which denigrates them.
The question is, how could you? And for so long?

Posted by: vrob125 | August 26, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Ken caused many a great deal of pain. Day by day listening to pols talk about taking away rights we still do not have. Forgive him? perhaps in another life but all gay citizens know that 2000 to 2008 were the "lost years" and this, none of us will ever get back.
Some day this nation, like most civilized nations in the world, will look back at actions like Ken's in shame.

Now he has changed his ways?
How special.
He worked hard to RUIN people's lives.
Perhaps if we could make it illegal for "formerly heterosexuals" to marry, or deny a few key rights to these folks it would be justice.
And if Junior one day apologizes for the hateful climate he fostered, he can stick it where the sun doesnt shine, as can Ken.

Some of you go ahead and forgive, I will not forget and these hateful Bushies deserve no forgiveness, and no respect.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 26, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@LeesburgResident, you fail at grammar AND sense of humor. See me after class.

Posted by: purpledrank | August 26, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Exrep. You dont get it? I guess not.

You will also probably thank your fellow countrymen when someday they grant you equal rights. Not me. After a national apology maybe. Of course that will come long after I am dead.

You see, I think respect is earned and disrespect as well.

Ken deserves nothing but disdain until he has done anything to help correct the wrongs he hoisted on his, now, peers.

I'm not so willing to welcome a hypocrite to our ranks, gay or straight. He tarnishes our image now as he tarnished the image of the Bushies....if that's possible.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 26, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I suppose this is our generation's version of a Profile in Courage. If only Mr. Mehlman had had the strength of his convictions when his coming out story could have made a real difference.

Posted by: NewYorkLaw | August 26, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Courage?

Let's see.
He rode a homophobic horse because it suited his purposes.

Seems likely his coming out has nothing to do with courage and everything to do with some sort of self serving purpose.

Maybe not but that's his history.
Perhaps a book, speaking fees?

You'd have us believe a gutless wonder then is now some sort of hero with courage.

Color me skeptical.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 26, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

It just proves what I've said all along, that there are two kinds of Republicans: Gay ones and secretly gay ones.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | August 26, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I was a gay Republican.
But then the party went wacko with Junior.
The party of fiscal restraint starting spending like a drunken (straight) sailor and went to bed with evangelical extremists.

Now it's the party of Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. Bunch of screwy wing-nuts, rednecks, facists, and Christian Extremists.

Secretly gay Republicans are the worst. So ashamed of who they are that they go to bed with those who would have gay citizens marginalized even more than they already are. How messed up in the head is it for someone like Ken (a gay man) to be in lock step with the likes of Junior and Rove?

As I say, has to be for the coin and this coming out has to have a similar benefit or he'd be likely to continue the hypocrisy. Guys like that give all gay men a bad reputation.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 26, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Petri, your attempt at humor and or sarcasm, was totally lame. That off of my chest, is Mehlman's revelations timed to make the Repubican Party look less intolerent before the November elections? My God, they are already on record in the pubic's mind as hating blacks, Hispanics and Muslims. If we want the Grand Old White Party Of Bigots and Ignorance in complete power again, we don't have to look farther than our own back door now do we?

Posted by: Sandydayl | August 26, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

ncooty, where in the Constitution are heterosexual marriages protected? Where is marriage mentioned anywhere in the Constitution?

Posted by: mikel7 | August 26, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Shades of Roy Cohn. Good luck with the therapy, Mr.Mehlman. A listing of all the despicable dirty tricks carried out by the un-American, right-wing extremists that make up the Republican Party would help but, the fact is, you sided with evil and you'll pay for it.

Posted by: thebobbob | August 26, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

exrep - From a currentrep and religious conservative, I can only imagine why your opinion is the most reasonable one I've seen here. You, my friend, are a credit to any group you grace with your presence. May your reasoning spread far and wide.

=================================

"As I gay man myself, I am puzzled by all the bashing of Mr. Mehlman. Isn't the gay rights movement about equality for all and convincing those who support inequality to reconsider? When someone who used to oppose equality comes around and supports it, isn't that a good thing? It is beyond dispute that he was wrong and hypocritical on this issue in the past, but is he not on the right side now? Exactly how does bashing a new convert to gay rights promote the agenda of equality? I just don't get it.

"Posted by: exrep | August 26, 2010 3:22 PM"

Posted by: yzermaneely | August 26, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

This has been known or suspected for a while; I'd heard he was for a very long time and I'm no insider or gay person who had an encounter to prove it. Now if the air can be cleared on the Senator from one of the Carolinas that'd be some news because those same rumors have been swirling around a bit even more than Craig, the (R) boys and girls are really hip and edgy, too.

Posted by: whitneymuse | August 26, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

To all the gay politicians still hiding out there: "Come out, come out, wherever you are!" Dorothy would love to see you. She needs your help now.

Posted by: JPD4 | August 26, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

yzermaneely

I hope one day you can understand how much hurt and damage is done to millions of lives by hateful rhetoric of the type Ken spewed.

When that hatred comes from someone who is simply bigoted and stupid, one can cut some slack because perhaps the person was born dense and incapable of simple decency.

When that person is gay, and very capable of knowing better, it is, unforgivable.

Think about it, this is a man who was working with the powers of evil to actually write discrimination "into" the US constitution. The party of Lincoln!

Exrep suggests that the convert be welcomed. Ok first of all he isnt a convert. The big tent eh? Hypocrites welcome too? Maybe Ted Haggard too.

And if Hitler had relented, said he was "sorry", and promised to be a good boy?

Please understand, the hateful rhetoric of Ken and the Bushies "ruined" peoples lives and set back the cause of justice, true liberty, and equality at least 10 years.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 26, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"5-10% of Republican men are gay too"

Simple psychology says its higher, at least for the broad Republican leadership. Those who openly hate and fear others are usually expressing a passive-aggressive response to their own self-loathing.

Witness the finger-pointing, ranting, self-righteousl religious right leaders who, inevitably, are caught in their gay trysts. Or the ranters of the morality of marital fidelity caught in their affairs. Or those yelling about "national debt" while they lobby aggressively for earmarks. Or the...

Why we still give audience and credibility to these supposed "leaders" is what stymies me.

Posted by: josh13 | August 26, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

josh13

Good insights but.....

Junior, Rush, Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck, Jerry Falwell?
Gay? Please tell me it is not so!!

Nightmares tonight for sure.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 26, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Throwing the LGBT community under the bus during the Bush administration's (read Cheney administration) historically anti-gay Republican Party platform is almost unforgivable.

GREAT, you now wanna wave your rainbow flag and make up with the LGBT political organizations to you can be, "at peace" with yourself. Unfortunately, we're NOT ready to make up with you yet.

There's a portion of the 12 step recovery programs that basically says that you'll try to make amends with those you've harmed except when to do so would HARM them.

You're premature attempts to make amends aren't accepted by this gay man who has absolutely been harmed by your role in the GOP's gay hating agenda. I need to go to "Al-anon for Former Republicans, Preachers, Religions, and Legislators who used their positions to abuse you" for a few years.

I'll let you know when I'm ready to talk.

Posted by: EVSDJoe | August 26, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Throwing the LGBT community under the bus during the Bush administration's (read Cheney administration) historically anti-gay Republican Party platform is almost unforgivable.

GREAT, you now wanna wave your rainbow flag and make up with the LGBT political organizations to you can be, "at peace" with yourself. Unfortunately, we're NOT ready to make up with you yet.

There's a portion of the 12 step recovery programs that basically says that you'll try to make amends with those you've harmed except when to do so would HARM them.

You're premature attempts to make amends aren't accepted by this gay man who has absolutely been harmed by your role in the GOP's gay hating agenda. I need to go to "Al-anon for Former Republicans, Preachers, Religions, and Legislators who used their positions to abuse you" for a few years.

I'll let you know when I'm ready to talk.

Posted by: EVSDJoe | August 26, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

And lets all take the pledge, not one dime for this guy's books or speeches or whatever else it is he plans in order to line his own pockets through his courageous (hurl) coming out. A few years flipping burgers at Mcdonalds would do him some good.

On TV today, some the gay thought leaders were cheering this because they think they can prevail upon him to use his connections to do good. What a joke.
First of all his connections are all to gay bashing bigots and evangelical extremists; and you know they'll run from him like Olympic sprinters.

Bet a months pay this is all about Ken making money on the "story".

Posted by: jra54449 | August 26, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Exrep
This post in another blog said it better.

His odious work led to broken families, gay teenagers commuting suicide, LGBT couples who were not able to marry, broken people joining silly "ex-gay" programs and individuals who lost their jobs or were hate crime victims. Mehlman should own up to his hideous mistake and offer a heartfelt apology. Yes, he will be forgiven, but first he must make amends. So far, his coming out has been all about himself, without acknowledging the extent of his toxic legacy.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 26, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

No, bloommarko4, your support of same-sex civil marriage while maintaining your opposition to religious same-sex marriage in your own faith tradition is not hypocritical. It represents an appropriate respect for the separation of church and state. It is others' insistence upon using secular law to force adherence to a condemnatory viewpoint that makes mutual respect and dialogue impossible. Once the state is made neutral on the subject, conversations about religious differences can proceed on a level playing field.

Posted by: uh_huhh | August 27, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm having a problem with the leval of inteligence or lack there of that Ms. Petri is conveying here. Just what is she saying, are gays penisless like Ken or was her Barbie horney? I find the entire article useless, was it supossed to be funny? Kinky..yes, funny not! Ms. Petri reminds me of the Ms. Lonely-Hearts...you know, old-maid type,no partner, hating on everybody. Does the "POST" pay for this? I think this article should have been filed under crap, and fluhed. I guess we know what Ms P. really thinks about people outing themselves..maybe she likes it kept in the closet along with her fantasies...(shiver)!!!

Posted by: KSSSSNbts | August 27, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

To jra54449 and others: No one has asked you to forgive him. No one has asked you to like him. My only question is, how does publicly bashing a convert to the cause of equality promote that cause? Not one of you has even attempted to answer that.

For eons we have been the victims of hatred of the far-right. Yes, Mr. Mehlman made common cause with them. But now he has changed, and there seem to be a number of people on our side who can't acknowledge that it's a good thing. They don't say why, but they appear to me to be more interested in hating Mehlman just because he's a Republican, even if he will now work to correct past wrongs. Doesn't sound all that different from those who hate us just because we're gay. Just sayin. . . . .

Posted by: exrep | August 27, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Log Cabin Republicans are the most pathetic in the whole world. They don't even get recognized by their beloved party as regular human beings with some imbalance in their body chemistry. I don't know why they put up with the belittling.

Posted by: sarvenk63 | August 27, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Nobody under the age of 40 gives a crap if you are gay. You gay democrats need to get off your soapbox. You just sound annoying. The same percentage of republicans are gay as are democrats. You hurl insults at those guys as if they were traitors but in case you didn't notice the democrat party has done nothing for your so called gay causes either. They just had a supermajority in congress and you got nothing. Obama could overturn don't ask don't tell with the stroke of a pen and he doesn't.

Posted by: peterg73 | August 27, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that all this would not matter if we as a people, country, world, decided to accept others based on who that person is and not what they are. Everyone needs to "get over themselves". If you are gay, straight, black, white, yellow, green, tall, short, fat, thin, and on and on I could go, don't tell me I have to go out of my way to appease you. You are human, I am human, lets act like it.
If I offend you, I'm sorry, and let's discuss why. But if every time someone says something you are offened, go away.
We need to laugh at our differences, every person, race, religion, ect has some trait others find different and funny, heck even those in those groups may be laughing at it, so lets all laugh at it.

Posted by: steves5 | August 27, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Mehlman's a disgusting hypocrite. If polls showed anti-gay hatred to be a winner with right-wing voters, he'd still be working against gay marriage. Now the GOP has shifted to anti-muslim and anti-latino hatred, it's hoped Mehlman's false apostasy will lure wealthy gays to the Republican party.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | August 27, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who couldn't tell Mehlman was gay from the moment they saw/heard him has been living in denial land.

One thing he never was however, was courageous.

It remains to be seen whether he can become worthy of being out and whether he has any more positive impact now and in the future since he certainly did not in his shameful position as head of the RNC.

Coward. Yeah, that's the right title for Mehlman.


.

Posted by: flacan | August 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

So what! If all the married men who went into marriage because it was the thing to do came out it would overwelm the bigotted str8ts! The problem is they are mostly all bottoms. Would tip the balance too much.
Thats why you gals are all going to be spinsters in the future,,,,,

Posted by: gany1 | August 28, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Exrep

What good does it to to chastise the guy?
It sends a message to the rest of the closeted politicos that you can destroy people's lives and then come to your senses, hat in hand and expect all is forgiven.
The message should be, stop burning your own people for personal gain, prestige, influence, money or whatever other sick motivation stirs you.
As another said, first lets see some signs of reversing the damage he did.
He was a despicable evil little man who "hurt" people who did him no harm.
Forgiveness starts with no-spin on his evil deeds and acts of contrition. Without that, we dont need him and he should crawl back into the slime pit he came from.
As I said earlier, I do not see what good is served by welcoming proven life long hypocrites into our ranks; as if they will ever be anything else.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 28, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

One thing I do not get, that is said about my former party; that is that they are anti-Latino. Based on what?
I can only assume it is their stance for stronger border controls and no amnesty for illegal aliens.
Somewhere in our collective wisdom, we have forgotten that every country has the right to control their borders and enforce the law.
My partner and I have been working on his "legal" immigration for some time now and it's hard for me to understand why Americans want to bless our newest arrivals who came here "illegally" with some sort of legal status to stay.
In what society to "join" by breaking the law? And it has nothing to do with Latinos unless you ignore all the others who are here illegally like the Indians here on the H1 visa scam or the countless others who have scammed the system with green card marriages.
You break the law to immigrate, you are entitled to a "deportation hearing"...no more no less, Latino, Indian, or German.

Posted by: jra54449 | August 28, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm troubled by Mehlman. Here is a guy who helped to re-elcet the disaster named George Bush Jr - someone who his DAd must be on the floor every night praying for forgiveness that he didn't hear God's word - "Pull out now" before you loose a disaster on our nations.

And I have to wonder how many gay kids committed suicide, or ended up on drugs etc because of Mehlman and his party.

MAybe the only way he can make amends is to out all the secretly gay repubs who are so vocal against gay people. Once we break the back of that group, this country will change as Western europe has almost totally changed, Latin America is changing,a dn so many other countries around the world - granting equality and respect for the committment and love of gay families

Posted by: SJames6621 | August 31, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

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