Ken Mehlman, President Bush’s campaign manager in 2004 and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, made a shocking confession today in an interview with The Atlantic s Marc Ambinger :
Privately, in off-the-record conversations with this reporter over the years, Mehlman voiced support for tax increases and told of how, in private discussions with senior Republican officials, he beat back efforts to support the Bush tax cuts.
The reaction by conservative pundits and leaders was praise for Mehlman following his conscience and being true to himself.
Okay, not really. Maybe in an alternate universe that would happen, but in D.C. it played out much differently. After admitting that he is gay (which is not really newsworthy) Mehlman confessed to undermining the partys traditional marriage platform:
Privately, in off-the-record conversations with this reporter over the years, Mehlman voiced support for civil unions and told of how, in private discussions with senior Republican officials, he beat back efforts to attack same-sex marriage.
[ . . . ]
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.”
[ . . . ]
He said that he plans to be an advocate for gay rights within the GOP, that he remains proud to be a Republican, and that his political identity is not defined by any one issue.
So while social conservatives were giving money to the RNC to support the cause of traditional marriage, the chairman was working in secret to undermine the effort. As I asked in my On the Square column today, why do we continue to financially support institutions that actively work to undermine our values? How long will we let the minority within the conservative movement treat the majority like chumps before we say, “No more”?
I dont suspect that more than a handful of prominent conservatives will chastise Mehlman for his duplicity, but I hope Im wrong. If you notice any please point them out in the comments and Ill update this post with that information.
#1 - Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review , one of the most important conservative publications in history, weighs in :
[Mehlman’s] a good friend of mine going back about 15 years. His conservative credentials are impeccable and he was an exemplary chairman of the RNC. I wish him all the best and know he will make his case to conservatives on gay marriage without rancor or name-calling.
Translation: Mehlman’s credentials as an economic conservativethe only ones that matterare impeccable. If he wants to try to convince conservatives to support one of the most radical institutional changes in human history, well, what’s that to us? As long as he does it with a smile we should support him.