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As Marc Ambinder reported Wednesday, Ken Mehlman is the most powerful Republican in history to identify himself as gay.  Like many other gays and lesbians, Mehlman found it necessary to lie about his orientation. Had he told the truth he would never have been chairman of the Republican National Committee or George W. Bush's campaign manager in 2004. He is now vice president at KKR, a private-equity firm.

Because his tenure as RNC chairman and his time at the center of the Bush political machine coincided with the Republican Party's attempts to exploit anti-gay prejudices and cement the allegiance of social conservatives, his declaration to the world is at once a personal act and an act of political speech.

"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. ...

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 is aware that his attempts to justify his past silence will not be adequate for many people. He and his friends say that he is aware that he will no longer control the story about his identity -- which will simultaneously expose old wounds, invite Schadenfruede, and legitimize anger among gay rights activists in both parties who did not hide their sexual orientations.

He now says he will campaign for gay rights inside the Republican Party.

indiemcemopants had this to say about Mehlman:

In spite of the terror his philosophies inflicted on LGBT citizens and in spite of the decades long scare-fest of anti-gay hatred, gay-baiting and discriminatory laws foisted on us, Ken Mehlman wants us to know that his coming out experience has been just peachy. No apology for all the suicides his party’s stances inevitably brought on. No apology for hate crimes. No apology for the election campaign involving some of the worst anti-gay hatred anyone has ever witnessed. No apology for the terror LGB military people have had to endure. No apology for the forced rapes female soldiers went through to "prove" they are straight.

He just wants us to know that he’s been through a whole, whole lot and that he’s a very happy and well-adjusted person. Well Ken, fuck you.

Ken says, "What I do regret, and think a lot about, is that one of the things I talked a lot about in politics was how I tried to expand the party into neighborhoods where the message wasn’t always heard. I didn’t do this in the gay community at all."

He can’t be that divorced from reality. It’s not a matter of outreach to the gay community, it’s your whole philosophy, guy. You were and are part of the problem. You’ve created this closet for people and now you want sympathy when you’ve finally come out of it. You’ve hurt too many people. Think of how many hate crimes you caused in 2004 when you were too scared to speak up for anyone. It is your fault. It is conservatives’ fault. You can reach out all you like but your very philosophy promotes bigotry. Stop it.

Arrow. Zing. Bullseye.

Addendum: Joe.My.God has several posts about this. h/t to Clarknt67.
• • • • •

At Daily Kos on this date in 2007:

Proving that it really is all just politics, the Pentagon is setting up a campaign style war room to campaign for the war.

For the Pentagon, getting out Iraq information will now include a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week Iraq Communications Desk that will pump out data from Baghdad _ serving as what could be considered a campaign war room.

According to a memo circulated Thursday and obtained by The Associated Press, Dorrance Smith, assistant defense secretary for public affairs, is looking for personnel for what he called the high-priority effort to distribute Defense Department information on Iraq....

The Pentagon dismissed suggestions that the communications desk will be a message machine or propaganda tool, and instead said it is being set up to gather and distribute information from eight time zones away in a more efficient and timely manner.

Right, it's not "propaganda" they're foisting off on us, it's "information." And the Petraeus White House report will tell us the truth about progress in Iraq.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 08:55 PM PDT.

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