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Ken Mehlman's journey

Give Ken Mehlman a break! There, I said it.

Many gays and lesbians are flipped out enraged over the former Republican National Committee chairman’s coming out of the closet. And I totally understand why. As the 2004 reelection campaign manager for President George W. Bush, Mehlman was a key part of a machine that denigrated the families and relationships of gay men and lesbians across the country. He was there when the GOP used the same-sex marriage issue to whip up the conservative base and conservative votes to keep Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) out of the White House. Mehlman stood by while our rights and dignity -- his rights and dignity, too, it turns out -- were being abridged.

The predictable refrain has been “Where were you when we needed you?” Or “He should have quit instead of being the face and architect of the policy!” Indeed, Mehlman’s voice inside that small, fetid, reactionary tent would have been welcome. He recognizes this. As Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic notes in the story announcing Mehlman’s coming out, “He said that he ‘really wished’ he had come to terms with his sexual orientation earlier, ‘so I could have worked against [the Federal Marriage Amendment]’ and ‘reached out to the gay community in the way I reached out to African Americans.’” Mehlman will have to live with the personal consequences that come with the compromises in character he made during that time. But Mehlman said something else that struck a chord with me.

"I can't change the fact that I wasn't in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally." He asks of those who doubt his sincerity: "If they can't offer support, at least offer understanding."....

"I wish I was where I am today 20 years ago. The process of not being able to say who I am in public life was very difficult. No one else knew this except me. My family didn't know. My friends didn't know. Anyone who watched me knew I was a guy who was clearly uncomfortable with the topic," he said.

The journey out of the closet is never easy and rarely comfortable. It’s duration is different for each man and woman who takes it. As are the circumstances that allow or force them to come to terms with who they are. Not everyone can have the experience a friend of mine had when he told his mother he was gay. “Let’s go shopping,” she exclaimed! For that intensely personal journey, respect is owed.

Now that Mehlman has made his journey, I am happy that he has already started down the road of redemption. As Ambinder reports, Mehlman has been a de facto strategist for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. That’s the group behind the landmark lawsuit against California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. He must keep at it if he is to overcome the deep resentment and distrust that now greets his coming out. It’s possible. Just look at George Wallace and David Brock.

Wallace, the legendary Alabama politician, was a progressive who became a rabid segregationist in the 1960s. The dude was way on the wrong side of the civil rights movement at many of its pivotal moments. But when he ran for a final term as governor in 1982 he won with 90 percent of the African American vote. Wallace garnered that vote by spending years making amends -- real and symbolic -- and asking forgiveness. Brock also reconciled his antagonistic past. After being a significant cog in the “vast right wing conspiracy,” he wrote a 2002 biography that exposed his hidden homosexuality and his role in said conspiracy to take down the Clintons. Part of his redemption was creating in 2004 Media Matters the indispensable progressive website that now monitors the right wing misinformation machine he helped create.

Mehlman is the highest-ranking Republican to come out of the closet. (Move over, Mary Cheney.) If he maintains his high-powered efforts to bring his party to the fight for marriage equality, gay men and lesbians will thank Mehlman for his help when same-sex marriage is legal in the United States. It’s not going to happen with Democrats alone, folks.

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 27, 2010; 6:59 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

This comment is for the honest, "dishonest" way the Washington Post reports the news. This newspaper fails to emphasize the economy is GROWING despite the negative predictions. Because it has not met some perceived budget requirement of 2.4 per cent, why not emphasize the fact that it is GROWING albeit slowing. Would you say that just because a child has "only" grown 1 inch, that child is doomed? Of course not. You really need to get your collective heads out of the 60s, 70, 80, and definitely out og the 90s, and get on board with uplifting this great nation. Nothing you can say can change the facts og January 21, 2009, so just celebrate, and not constantly belittle and berate what we are trying to accomplish, and HAVE (the troops are coming home, as President Obama predicted)accomplished. This type of harping journalism does no one any good, and further promotes polarity between the citizens of our nation, so stop it!

Posted by: Heidi451 | August 27, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

We should know that the real purpose of Ken Mehlman"s coming out NOW is that the GOP wants to demonized American Muslims as a "threat to the Gay community" in the fashion that Dutch politician and global hate-monger Geert Wilders uses.

This is part of a large GOP promotion of Islamophobia and hate of Muslims to deflect from discussion of Republican ideas (or lack there of) about the economy and jobs.

This abuse of Islamophobia will only diss the fundamental Christian base of the GOP and Americans are already waking up to the promotion of Islamophobia and hate by various Republican figures, like Newt Gingrich

The Gay community should not fall for this nonsense of hate against any other group of Americans - and there is NO threat from American Muslims, who just want to raise their kids, work and contribute to American society too.

Posted by: eslaporte | August 27, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

While I appreciate your thoughts, what I can't get out of my head is the post that Roger Ebert wrote about the Mehlman mess. Link below.

In 2004, according to most people quoted, the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, and their Campaign Manager all thought that 'going after the gays' was the wrong thing to do.

What we had was the two most Powerful People on the Planet, kowtowing to whom? Karl Rove? Tony Perkins?

Are we going to hear next that Bush and Cheney and Rummy were really against the Iraq war? Wolfowitz did it!

While we all have our personal journeys out of the closet, I hope that fewer people engage in figurative drive-by shootings before they do.

Ebert Link :: "If that's the way Bush, Cheney, Mehlman thought, why was anti-gay agenda being pushed?" Ebert's Journal http://ow.ly/2vHuU

Posted by: WiltonManorsSteve | August 27, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

If all the gays and lesbians were somehow removed from all positions within the Republican party, the party could no longer function. I also suspect that more than one US senator would have to be kicked out. Self loathing can lead to very destructive behavior

Posted by: lelliot4 | August 27, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

When Mehlman starts naming names, he can begin the process of rehabilitation. List the dirty tricks, the cynical exploitation, the hyped-up distractions. Go beyond the homophobic base, reveal the damage done by your phony economics, the corporate kow-tow, and the "Dems hate God, Freedom and America" drumbeat. Come on Mr. Mehlman, show us you really understand how evil your role on the "Fear, Hatred, Distortion, Distraction and Division" team was.

Until then, you're nothing but a despicable hypocrite.

Posted by: thebobbob | August 27, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I cannot know the fear of coming out that paralyzes some gays into silence about who they are. Mehlman was a high ranking operative in the Bush administration that used anti-gay rhetoric to win elections and he was part of fomenting that strategy. Demonizing a faction of society with whose secual orientation he shares is something he has to live with. Mehlan's GOPness is still at hand though when he uses his occasion of "coming out" to further demonize another group -- Muslims. Hasn't he learned ANYTHING about the politics of hate other than unfortunately all too often it works by hurting people?

Posted by: Sandydayl | August 27, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

KEN MEHLMAN SHOULD BE THROWN BACK INTO A CROWD OF DRUNKEN BASEBALL BATS-WIELDING TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS!!!

He deserves no less - for the horrors he willfully (as an adult) put gay fellow Americans through.

Mehlman pathetic "I have seen the light" is no more honest than those top Nazis who wilfully participated in Hitler's horrors only to cry "I was coopted" when soldiers of the Allied Powers showed up

Posted by: Whispers | August 27, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh please - spare us another "The road out of the closet is long and torturous" piece of drivel. Most gays and lesbians manage to make it out of the closet without defecating all over members of their own community. If you don't understand what all the fuss is about, Mr Capehart, you have no business being a journalist.

Posted by: gmcduluth | August 27, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

This column makes me think that its author knows the personal pains of the journey. It seems to be written from the heart.

(Note that W received praise for his support from Ken Melhman.)

Posted by: dmcdonald6446verizonnet | August 27, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It's one of the unfortunate consequences of our still-homophobic society that some gay people feel driven to try to "fix" themselves by turning to very homophobic philosophies, both religious and secular.

If not admirable, at least this kind of response is within the realm of normal human behavior, and I'm sure it is not limited to gay people, either. So we should accord it at least some understanding and sympathy.

Posted by: Itzajob | August 27, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

All this hand wringing about the difficult "personal journey" of coming out is a bit much in the case of someone who is only 43 years old! I came out as gay in the early 1970's. It was THEN a somewhat big deal. But Mehlman could have come out 20 years ago and his friends wouldn't have even flinched. For god's sakes, teenagers have been taking their same-sex partners to high school proms for almost that long. Mehlman needs to pull up his big-girl pants and get over himself.

Posted by: billyfla | August 27, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

All this hand wringing about the difficult "personal journey" of coming out is a bit much in the case of someone who is only 43 years old! I came out as gay in the early 1970's. It was THEN a somewhat big deal. But Mehlman could have come out 20 years ago and his friends wouldn't have even flinched. For god's sakes, teenagers have been taking their same-sex partners to high school proms for almost that long. Mehlman needs to pull up his big-girl pants and get over himself.

Posted by: billyfla | August 27, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Mehlman has to live with himself; I wouldn't want to be him. He knows what he is and what so many people will think of him. I am not gay so I can't judge. But I can judge this. The Republicans have shown us over and over what hypocrites they on the gay issue. Are people going to continue to fall for thier hypocracy. They are against it except when they are sneaking around practicing it.

Posted by: withersb | August 27, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

OK, I know there're a lot of hard feelings on Ken Mehlman helping push the campaign to demonize gays and lesbians to get George W. Bush re-elected, but I think we should give the guy a break. Good thing about going back and forth in the pool is that it gives you a lot of time to think and I agree with Jonathan Capehart, he has the opportunity to become something akin to George Wallace.

Mr. Mehlman, however, has a long journey ahead, as it was partially through his efforts that the political landscape on the issue of marriage equality for gays and lesbians is currently so dire. His efforts in getting the California amendment banned is a down payment, but he must be constant in his efforts.

In the meantime, welcome to the club Mr. Mehlman. I'm glad you've made peace with yourself and I hope the best for you and that you can help undo the ill you have done to our community. You have a chance to be a redeemed figure like Wallace or another one of the "Republican hypocrites" like Larry Craig et al. The choice is his.

Posted by: Kruhn1 | August 27, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If I had only realized that Bush had thrown 6 million gay men into concentration camps and had them executed earlier I would have come around to a righteous hatred of Ken Mehlman earlier. Thanks to all of you posters for pointing this out. How did the media miss this?

Posted by: yzermaneely | August 27, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse


If this doesn't expose the hypocrisy of the the Republican Party once and for all I don't know what will. Maybe this fiasco will even serve to enlighten at least a few of those far-right conservative dopes who have yet to catch on to the Republicans.

Posted by: jrw1 | August 27, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

He reached 43 without knowing his sexuality? Was he a 43-year-old virgin? Did he have sex with other men but tell himself it wasn't really gay? That seems to be commmon with conservative men. I don't see why that would be any more forgiveable than working to oppress gays while "knowing" (admitting to yourself) that you're gay.

Posted by: kenonwenu | August 27, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

thebobb had it right in:

"When Mehlman starts naming names, he can begin the process of rehabilitation. List the dirty tricks, the cynical exploitation, the hyped-up distractions. Go beyond the homophobic base, reveal the damage done by your phony economics, the corporate kow-tow, and the "Dems hate God, Freedom and America" drumbeat. Come on Mr. Mehlman, show us you really understand how evil your role on the "Fear, Hatred, Distortion, Distraction and Division" team was.

Until then, you're nothing but a despicable hypocrite."

Posted by: gkam | August 27, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

For some reason in this country we frown on resignation as a form of protest. That is nonsense. I am tired of people in office who, after they resign with a good severance of sorts, come 'clean' about their many objections about this or that.

That is nonsense. If they object, they should resign and make it very public why they are resigning.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | August 27, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Capehart gives gay whiners a bad name.

Posted by: gmuhokie2009 | August 27, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Ken Mehlman is a worthless piece of human debris. Do we really need him? He created an environment of persecution for gay people all over this country. He did it in pursuit of personal gain and power. And he succeded. Now, living in his multimillion dollar condo in Chelsea, he may have found a boy he wants to marry, so he wants same sex marriage to be legal so he can have the benefits of marriage. He burned our house down for his personal gain back in 2004, and now he wants to build it up, also for his own personal gain. We dont need this worthless individual. We have made many significant gains without him and we will triumph also without him. This man is morally bankrupt, a moral pygmy if you will, whose only priority is himself. Are we not going to hold him accountable for his crimes agains humanity? What is bitterly disappointing to me are the voices of support from the gay community. These voices, including the HRC and the Advocate, are showing the moral fortitude of a bowl of cereal. We don't need despicable uncle tom gays like Ken Mehlman. Please crawl back under the rock of self-servitude and betrayal where you lied for most of your life as the insect that you are, Mr Mehlman. You are odious and worthless.

Posted by: stevenjosephrotolo | August 27, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Mehlman's coming-out is not hard since everyone from Bush on down knew he was gay all along. His confession and work on behalf of gay marriage is a transparent sham, trying to show Republicans are good-hearted people when all they have done is switched from anti-gay hysteria to win votes from bigots to anti-muslim hysteria to win votes from bigots. It's a disgusting strategy but it's all the GOP has left to offer.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | August 27, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Like all conservatives, Mehlman is just disgusting sleaze who will do anything as long as it works out for him. He reminds me of the hidden gays in the Reagan Administration who joked about AIDS being "God's revenge", for sin.

Real cute. I wonder how many millions of folk died while Reagan and Mehlman were laughing.

I have a question for Mehlman: How many Family Values Conservatives can you fit into a public toilet stall?


Posted by: gkam | August 27, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Mehlman's no gay hero. Just another privileged rich white guy who uses whatever's to his advantage -- again and again.

Maybe he can earn redemption by becoming an activist (for more than just rich white gay men).

Otherwise he'll always be a spineless coward in my book.

.

Posted by: flacan | August 27, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh let it go. I really REALLY don't care
with whom or how Melman has sex. Are more important things going on.

Grow up.

Posted by: mftill | August 27, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh let it go. I really REALLY don't care
with whom or how Melman has sex. Are more important things going on.

Grow up.

Posted by: mftill | August 27, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Mehlman is missing the point entirely. It's easy to decide you're now going to defend the rights of minorities when you discover you are one. It takes no moral courage to do so.

What takes moral courage is defending the rights of a minority when you AREN'T one. In that respect, the scope of Ken's personal moral failure is something he has yet to come to grips with.

Posted by: Buddydog | August 27, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey POST folks...I don't wait a few hours before posting about this or that WAPO story.
"Too frequent"? Huh? I should wait a coupla hours? Pretty stupid.

Posted by: mftill | August 27, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey POST folks...I don't wait a few hours before posting about this or that WAPO story.
"Too frequent"? Huh? I should wait a coupla hours? Pretty stupid.

Posted by: mftill | August 27, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

This is so sad...

When you are pressured to deny who you are..what can be worse?

I am glad Mehlman has come out for his own sake and no one elses.

What he did with his support of the "anti gay" agenda of the Republicans is a shame and he really does need to make amends.

Posted by: celested91 | August 27, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Mehlman is lying. His sexual orientation was an open secret in Washington during the Bush years. Rather than admitting he helped Karl Rove gin up hatred for gays to get conservative votes despite being gay himself, he lies and claims that he "hadn't come to terms with" his sexual orientation at that time.

Mehlman's "coming out" at this time doesn't reflect any change in his own understanding of his sexuality, but a change in his job situation. Now that he's no longer dependent on the gay bashers in the Republican Party for career advancement, it's safe for him to admit what he has known for many years. He is truly contemptible.

Posted by: continental46@aol.com | August 27, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

a. It seems to me that Jim Kolbe was by far the "highest ranking Republican to come out of the closet."

b. Ken Mehlman, a Romney-like Republican opportunist, has made it clear that as a dedicated Republican the only part of equality that he is willing to support is the only part that is likely to affect him or anyone who is prepared to care for him. With respect to equality in employment, repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, etc., he continues to be as sociopathic as any other Republican.

c. If Ken Mehlman is really serious about repenting for his very serious efforts to damage the lives of people who don't have his advantages, he should not be contributing money in 2010 to Republicans like Kerry Ayotte who have made attacks on equality in marriage major parts of their campaigns.

d. I am sure that Mehlman's repentance will mean a lot to gay Ugandans who are under threat of judicial murder in large part due to of the efforts of the sexual predator Christianists in the C Street house whom Mehlman got elected and re-elected.

e. Given the environment that he lived in, George Wallace had reasons (not good reasons, but reasons anyhow) for being a racist. It wasn't until after he was the victim of an assassination attempt that he realized that his life and his attitudes needed changing. In a real sense, George Wallace didn't know any better. Ken Mehlman has had no such excuse.

There is no effort at "redemption." There is simply a minor effort at rehabilitation as part of a broader Republican effort to mangle the lives and livelihoods of people who don't make six- or seven-figure incomes.

Of course it's better that he has stated publicly that he no longer intends to ruin one aspect of the lives of people who want what he wants than if he continued the entirety of his public and private career of promoting divisiveness. But this hardly merits brownie points, let alone praise or adulation.

Posted by: edallan | August 27, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

That Mehlman received generous financial compensation over the years to maintain and rise within the Republican organization is telltale of exactly how disingenuous his recent revelation of his sexual orientation actually is.

Posted by: vicsoir1 | August 27, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Mehlman can go to hell.

Posted by: dottydont | August 27, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

If you really want to be inspired by a gay politician, check out Christine Quinn. She lives honestly and openly, and supports her community as well was many others!
http://ourscenetv.com/main/show/id/431

Posted by: abbygirl2010 | August 27, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I am very happy for Mr. Mehlman that he is finally able and willing to come to terms with himself -- that is a good thing wherever and whenever and to whomever it occurs. But being previously unable to come to terms with his own sexual identity in no way excuses the reprehensible policies Mr. Mehlman so fiercely advocated when he was in the closet. Nothing about being in the closet required him to do that. Millions of people live part, or even all, of their lives in the closet without becoming mouthpieces for the forces that would seek to deny civil rights to folks who are just like themselves, only more honest. It was Mr. Mehlman's self-serving and selfish choice to become such a mouthpiece. I'm sorry, I'll save my "understanding" for those who don't choose to use their public positions as a blind from which to take shots at others of their own kind.

Posted by: markpkessinger | August 27, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I am very happy for Mr. Mehlman that he is finally able and willing to come to terms with himself -- that is a good thing wherever and whenever and to whomever it occurs. But being previously unable to come to terms with his own sexual identity in no way excuses the reprehensible policies Mr. Mehlman so fiercely advocated when he was in the closet. Nothing about being in the closet required him to do that. Millions of people live part, or even all, of their lives in the closet without becoming mouthpieces for the forces that would seek to deny civil rights to folks who are just like themselves, only more honest. It was Mr. Mehlman's self-serving and selfish choice to become such a mouthpiece. I'm sorry, I'll save my "understanding" for those who don't choose to use their public positions as a blind from which to take shots at others of their own kind.

Posted by: markpkessinger | August 27, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

having a hard time swallowing this stuff about him completing his journey. Cruising me in the hallway of a Federal building, he looked like he completed his journey around 2005. Didn't Bill Maher out him on Larry King in 2006? too little, too late.

Posted by: rufkd | August 27, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Ken Mehlman is a self-serving coward. It's all well and good to "come out" after you've established yourself in your profession and reaped the financial rewards. Now he can enjoy those freedoms that true gay and lesbian heros have fought for while Kenny was still hiding in the closet AND working against equality for all. Ken, we don't want you.

Sadly, any number of gay and lesbian rights organizations are going to latch onto his "honesty" (ha!) for their own fund raising and public relations efforts. I wouldn't be surprised if the HRC would be giving him some sort of award at their next over-priced dinner.

Ken Mehlman is just like that phoney Rosie O'Donnell... you know, the one who was "so very in love with Tom Cruise!!" when she was television's Queen of Nice... and then become a foul-mouthed, over-sized lesbian and thought she was the ultimate spokesperson for that is gay and lesbian in America.

Buncha' phonies.

Posted by: Active_Reader | August 27, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is figuring out that gay-baiting way too transparently exposes them as the Taliban Party of the United States. So they've moved on to Muslim-baiting as the new way for the Wall Streeters to get the easily-duped Fox viewers into their camp on election day. So it's safe for Mehlman to come out now. There's a new boogeyman to get the Faux idiots lathered up about. The Gay Menace is so 2004.

In the depths of the Great Depression, FDR famously said, "we have nothing to fear but fear itself". Here in 2010, the GOP has updated that great American's motto to "we have nothing to OFFER but fear itself".

It's sad that so many people are so easily manipulated by the GOP fearmongering machine. In the future, as America grows up and its people become a little less naive, it will be harder for hate groups like the Republican Party to take hold. In the meantime, we have to make sure we do not go fully the way of early-30s Germany, where a diminutive house painter pulled exactly this same crap to gain power - to disastrous results for that country as the rest of the world rose up to smash it to bits.

Good luck America. Grow up soon.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 27, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"It’s duration is different for each man and woman who takes it." should correctly read, "Its duration is different for each man and woman who takes it." without the extraneous apostrophe. Shame on you!

Posted by: quadpharma | August 27, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Let him come clean about everything, not just what is important to him. Maybe that will be his penetance.

He shouldn't worry, the WAPO will always accept someone like him. Any paper that carries a hack like Krauthammer, who is just an arm of the GOP, will always have a place in their heart for someone like Mehlman.

I'm not sure how he is much better than a German Jew whol helped the Nazis.

Posted by: stone11777 | August 27, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The whole premise of Capehart's column is wrong.

He writes: "Many gays and lesbians are flipped out enraged over the former Republican National Committee chairman’s coming out of the closet."

Not so. They are enraged by what he did BEFORE he came out of the closet, by the disingenuousness of his explanation, and by his utter failure either to recognize the consequences of his behavior or to apologize for them.

That's why we're enraged, and why we want no part of him.

And we are unsympathetic because ALL of us had our "personal journeys," some quite painful, and yet we managed not to do what he did.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 27, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Well, sorry if I'm cynical, but I don't see real remorse here. The repellent comment suggesting that gays vote Republican to protect themselves from Islamic extremists shows that he hasn't changed at all. Instead, I see a person who's addicted to the limelight, who must be in the Inner Circle. He spent years kissing the butts of the Republican power elite, and now he's kissing the butts of the gay power elite. Why doesn't he just try to be an actual human being for a change?

Posted by: busterbobby | August 27, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Mehlmann admitting that he's gay is not really news. Bill Maher on Larry King Live outed him. I was watching a documentary (I don't recall the name) on HBO about gay rights and they showed where Bill Maher said Mehlmann was gay. Then they showed that when the show was reran, they cut Maher's statement.

No one knows why the statement was cut when the show was reran, but there it was.

I always thought that the gay-marriage issue was a bit desperate; it also never seemed to be a issue until the Bush administration made it an issue. I never thought of it or the topic until Bush et al. brought it to the fore.

This is certainly an ironic turn of events.

Posted by: AlexandriaMan | August 27, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I, and a lot of others, knew (yes, KNEW) that Ken Mehlman was gay in 2004 if not before. Consequently, Mehlman's hypocrisy makes me angry. What was it that someone said about in America everyone gets a second act? Hey, Ken, your second act is no more convincing than your first one was to most gay Americans. Unfortunately, we in the gay community have seen this "performance" too many times to count--Larry Craig, Roy Ashburn, Mark Foley, Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy, Jr.,ad infinitum. But one poster said it better than I could when he wrote: "Oh please - spare us another 'The road out of the closet is long and torturous' piece of drivel. Most gays and lesbians manage to make it out of the closet without defecating all over members of their own community. If you don't understand what all the fuss is about, Mr Capehart, you have no business being a journalist."

Posted by: dnealesq | August 27, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

How very telling… when Mehlman revealed his - umm - "desires", he chose to NOT SUBJECT HIMSELF TO THE RIGHT-WING, ANTI-GAY MACHINE THAT HE HIMSELF HELPED CREATE (at least not right away). Gee, how very smart. Tricky. Savvy. Coldly calculating. Good thing his job back then didn't require him to "knock-off" anyone. Ya kinda wonder if he woulda. You know, to protect his job… I mean, if he was able to get people to actually kill themSELVES over their own sexual orientation, then why not go all the way?? But thank gawd he's "joined us", he's "saved" now, and heaven bound! (ugh).

Posted by: LawsLuvr | August 27, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I don't care if Mr. Mehlman ever came out of the closet. His personal life is HIS personal life. What I care about is the fact that he played a major part in getting one of the most homophobic administrations re-elected since the days of Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn (also in the closet) running around destroying lives under the guise of chasing gays out of the State Department.

One has to wonder just how much "inside" knowledge Mr. Mehlman used to twist the arms of Republicans who thought they were safely in the closet or who are bi-sexual and would occasionally go looking for some on the "down-low" to get the agenda of Bush and Cheney passed.

I'm sure it took some soul searching for Mr. Mehlman to come out after all these years. I just hope that he pursues working to get LGBT causes passed just as hard as he worked to get anti-LGBT laws passed.

Posted by: mehrenst1 | August 27, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Let's give Mr. Mehlman a break after he apologizes for his role in helping the right-wing GOP demonize gays and deny them rights considered self-evident for heterosexuals.

Posted by: sembtex | August 29, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

NewsBusters: WaPo's Capehart Lauds Ken Mehlman By Comparing Him to a Recovered Segregationist
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2010/08/30/wapos-capehart-lauds-ken-mehlman-comparing-him-recovered-segregationist

Posted by: StewartIII | August 30, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The gay community would do well to learn from other minority communities who have dealt with this before them. There were a group of Jews called the Judenrat (or Kapo) who assisted the Nazis during WWII simply for expediency and to help their Jewish brothers cooperate in a more efficient manner. After the war and the discovery of the incineration chambers, the Jewish community chose to embrace these Kapo and 'understand' that they only wanted the best for everyone. African-Americans were in a similar situation with a group called 'Uncle Toms'. Some Blacks chose to live inside the slave masters mansion, obviously because it was much more comfortable. Black slaves 'understood' that this was on a common human desire and chose to welcome 'Uncle Toms' back into the fold.

Posted by: Mateo1970 | August 30, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The gay community would do well to learn from other minority communities who have dealt with this before them. There were a group of Jews called the Judenrat (or Kapo) who assisted the Nazis during WWII simply for expediency and to help their Jewish brothers cooperate in a more efficient manner. After the war and the discovery of the incineration chambers, the Jewish community chose to embrace these Kapo and 'understand' that they only wanted the best for everyone. African-Americans were in a similar situation with a group called 'Uncle Toms'. Some Blacks chose to live inside the slave masters mansion, obviously because it was much more comfortable. Black slaves 'understood' that this was on a common human desire and chose to welcome 'Uncle Toms' back into the fold.

Posted by: Mateo1970 | August 30, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The gay community would do well to learn from other minority communities who have dealt with this before them. There were a group of Jews called the Judenrat (or Kapo) who assisted the Nazis during WWII simply for expediency and to help their Jewish brothers cooperate in a more efficient manner. After the war and the discovery of the incineration chambers, the Jewish community chose to embrace these Kapo and 'understand' that they only wanted the best for everyone. African-Americans were in a similar situation with a group called 'Uncle Toms'. Some Blacks chose to live inside the slave masters mansion, obviously because it was much more comfortable. Black slaves 'understood' that this was on a common human desire and chose to welcome 'Uncle Toms' back into the fold.

Posted by: Mateo1970 | August 30, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

sociopath: a person whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

Sounds a lot like Mr. Mehlman, doesn't it? I don't believe for one second that he didn't know he was gay during his Bush association. It's been common knowledge for years that Ken is gay. He simply wanted to keep his precious job in politics -- at any cost. Of course, now that's he out of politics, and the immeasurable damage has been done, he's a completely enlightened person. Unfortunately for Ken, the gay community isn't that stupid... or forgiving.

Posted by: obtusegoose | August 31, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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