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Ken Mehlman comes out.
August 25, 2010 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Ken Mehlman, the former Republican Party chairman who ran George W. Bush's gay-bashing 2004 presidential campaign, has come out of the closet. He does not apologize, but says he will now work to legalize gay marriage.
posted by CunningLinguist (233 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a link to an Onion story, isn't it?

COME ON THIS CANNOT BE REAL.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:04 PM on August 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad

Seriously?
posted by brundlefly at 4:05 PM on August 25, 2010 [11 favorites]


> He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad...

Yeah, the Onion pretty much nailed this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:06 PM on August 25, 2010 [12 favorites]


Mehlman was outed on the Larry King show by Bill Maher in 2006, though the segment was edited for later broadcasts. He announced the next day he wouldn't seek another term as RNC chairman.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:07 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


"It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life... It's something I wish I had done years ago."

Yeah, I think we all wish that.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:07 PM on August 25, 2010 [78 favorites]


He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad

Seriously?


Once again I find myself a member of the MeFi groupthink. That too was my reaction - that gays would somehow look past the beating they were getting locally to help their Muslim brother-in-arms overseas.
posted by GuyZero at 4:09 PM on August 25, 2010


Dan Savage has said that the harder someone fights against gay rights, the harder we should look in their closet...and once again he's right. In any case, I'm glad another one has come out. I hope he fights as hard for equality as he did against it.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 4:10 PM on August 25, 2010 [13 favorites]


He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad, which he called "the greatest anti-gay force in the world right now."

He wondered this while working for the greatest anti-gay force in the United States? I can't imagine the cognitive dissonance required to think that.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 4:11 PM on August 25, 2010 [12 favorites]


"I'm just saying, we can't afford to lose in Iraq."

"Hey, are you cruising me?"

posted by benzenedream at 4:12 PM on August 25, 2010 [28 favorites]


This is kindof insane, but I'd guess most of what's behind it is a magnified version of the very common conflict between personal ethics and professional practice that goes on every day. I've turned up my nose at some web work that just wasn't OK for me, but heaven knows I've also worked on a few things that didn't fit my personal values.

And that's just as a coder. Politics seems inherently dirtier. I'm not sure you can run a successful national campaign without making points if not planks of things you don't believe in.
posted by namespan at 4:15 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mehlman acknowledges that if he had publicly declared his sexuality sooner, he might have played a role in keeping the party from pushing an anti-gay agenda.

...while adding that he far more likely would have had no role to play in the party at all, hence waiting until "private" life to find his principles.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:15 PM on August 25, 2010 [13 favorites]


Mr. Mehlman has a knack for making amends for bigotry long after the damage has been done:
Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman apologized to one of the nation's largest black civil rights groups Thursday, saying Republicans had not done enough to court blacks in the past and had exploited racial strife to court white voters, particularly in the South.

"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," Mehlman said at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

Mehlman's apology to the NAACP at the group's convention in Milwaukee marked the first time a top Republican Party leader has denounced the so-called Southern Strategy employed by Richard Nixon and other Republicans to peel away white voters in what was then the heavily Democratic South. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Republicans encouraged disaffected Southern white voters to vote Republican by blaming pro-civil rights Democrats for racial unrest and other racial problems.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:16 PM on August 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


Presumably he's going to roll back on that now racism is their official strategy and gay bashing has been put to one side.
posted by Artw at 4:17 PM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad, which he called "the greatest anti-gay force in the world right now."

Perhaps it has something to do with the "Islamic jihad" not making state or federal laws, nor being a group of individuals one can vote into or out of office...

Not to mention that common causes based on hate work best when you're not a hate target yourself...
posted by yeloson at 4:20 PM on August 25, 2010 [17 favorites]


I guess it counts as progress that a prominent Republican outs himself without having been arrested in a men's bathroom for snorting cocaine out of a male prostitute's rectum.
posted by Kattullus at 4:20 PM on August 25, 2010 [63 favorites]


Next: Ann Coulter! "Coulter has been engaged several times, but never married." On second thought, please, NO!
posted by Carol Anne at 4:20 PM on August 25, 2010


My understanding is that the Southern Strategy actually began with McKinley in Thomasville, GA.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:21 PM on August 25, 2010


There's the old unfortunate stereotype about the "self-hating jew" who goes to great efforts to act as non-jewish as possible (the movie Focus is awesome, btw). These self-hating/hiding gay Republicans make me consider the psychology behind their actions more carefully along the same lines. I don't dislike them for it, more like pity.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 4:23 PM on August 25, 2010


Mike Rogers, BlogActive:
“So, how can Ken Mehlman redeem himself? I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for being the architect of the 2004 Bush reelection campaign. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for his role in developing strategy that resulted in George W. Bush threatening to veto ENDA or any bill containing hate crimes laws. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for the pressing of two Federal Marriage Amendments as political tools. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for developing the 72-hour strategy, using homophobic churches to become political arms of the GOP before Election Day.

And those state marriage amendments. I want to hear him apologize for every one of those, too.

And then there is one other little thing. You see, while you and I had the horrible feelings of being treated so poorly by our President, while teens were receiving the messaging 'gay is bad' giving them 'permission' to gay bash, while our rights were being stripped state by state, Ken was out there laughing all the way to the bank. So, if Ken is really sorry, and he very well may be, then all he needs to do is sell his condo and donate the funds to the causes he worked against so hard for all those years. He's done a lot of damage to a lot of organizations, while making a lot of money. A LOT of money. It's time to put his money where his mouth is. Ken Mehlman is sitting in a $3,770,000.00 (that's $3.77 million) condo in Chelsea while we have lost our right to marry in almost 40 states.

THEN, and only then, should Mehlman be welcomed into our community.”
posted by ericb at 4:24 PM on August 25, 2010 [56 favorites]


He asks of those who doubt his sincerity: "If they can't offer support, at least offer understanding."

I understand you still haven't apologized for your actions that have hurt millions of GLBT Americans. I understand that much, you criminal so-and-so.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:25 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


These self-hating/hiding gay Republicans make me consider the psychology behind their actions more carefully along the same lines.

I always just figured Republicans looked at gay sex the same way they look at money- if you let everyone have it, there won't be enough to go around- therefore, they should have it all to themselves.
posted by yeloson at 4:26 PM on August 25, 2010 [14 favorites]


For years Mehlman denied being gay.

"I’m not gay. But, those stories did a number on my dating life for six months."

In 2006 Bill Maher outed Mehlman on 'Larry King Live'.

CNN edited the West Coast feed and cut out Bill Maher's comments outing Mehlman. CNN also had YouTube pull down the video.

Many news outlets commented on the editing, such as the New York Times.
posted by ericb at 4:28 PM on August 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


Or, what CunningLinguist said!
posted by ericb at 4:30 PM on August 25, 2010


For those who like schadenfreude, the freepers aren't very amused.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ken Mehlman, the former Republican Party chairman who ran George W. Bush's gay-bashing 2004 presidential campaign quisling.
posted by blueberry at 4:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Who's next?

We're looking at you Charlie Crist!
posted by ericb at 4:34 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wonder if all those years, he told himself his own situation was proof that homosexuality was a "choice"--that everyone must struggle with the same sexual attraction towards the same gender that he was experiencing, but only the weak/amoral/sick give in.
posted by availablelight at 4:34 PM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


What a jerk. I'm glad he's apologizing - and boy does he have a lot to apologize for - but he's never, ever getting an invite to our Giant Queer What-Do-You-Mean-You-Have-Nowhere-To-Go-For-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner.

"It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life," said Mehlman, now an executive vice-president with the New York City-based private equity firm, KKR. "Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I've told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they've been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that's made me a happier and better person. It's something I wish I had done years ago."

And you know what? Cry me a fucking river. Yeah yeah everyone has their own path, but the vast majority of us don't go out of our way to deliberately make that path as difficult and hateful as possible for other people. And tons of us manage to find or make that path despite not having the privileges of being white, male, well-educated, and politically and socially incredibly well-connected; we find or make it knowing that we might get kicked out of the house or beaten up or put to death by our government.

But mostly, we make or find the path without putting a huge razor-wire fence around the forest so that nobody else can find theirs either. Christ, what an asshole.
posted by rtha at 4:34 PM on August 25, 2010 [88 favorites]


CunningLinguist: "For those who like schadenfreude, the freepers aren't very amused."

Let me guess... he's a stealth liberal?
posted by brundlefly at 4:35 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This surprises exactly no one, I think. I am guessing Lindsey Graham will be next.
posted by empath at 4:36 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


What struck me was that he *didn't* apologize. He just talked some mealy nonsense about having "regrets."
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:36 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of LGB (not sure about T) people in politics. When I worked on a GOP campaign it was explained to me this way: gay people are ideal political operatives - tend to have lots of free time (not likely to have a family if you are gay and Republican, since chances are 99% you're in the closet), be willing to move/travel, and tend to be smarter and more motivated; when getting married is lower priority to somebody than lowering the marginal tax rate a few points, you know this person is gung ho.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 4:36 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let me guess... he's a stealth liberal?

Yeah, that, and "the perverts are taking over" and what do you expect from the "Gay Old Party." Like that.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:37 PM on August 25, 2010


Huh. this is one of the more nakedly cynical things I've seen recently.
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


CNN edited the West Coast feed and cut out Bill Maher's comments outing Mehlman. CNN also had YouTube pull down the video.

Huh. There's a copy of the unedited video here.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 4:41 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


He owes an apology to millions. Bastard. I hope he works 10x as hard to make same sex marriage the law of the land now.
posted by zarq at 4:44 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


"None of us are going to have sex with you, Ken Mehlman. Best of luck. Regards, Gays."
- Choire Sicha
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:46 PM on August 25, 2010 [30 favorites]


It's one of the things that I don't understand - why the Democrats don't rub the Republicans noses into this repeated pattern every time they talk about gay rights.

"You have to ask yourself - why are these guys so interested in gays? I'm happily married - I simply never think about homosexuality in my day-to-day life - what is it about homosexuality that so fascinates these guys? If you're a straight man or woman, aren't you much more worried about your job, about America's security? Look at all these men - Foley, Haggard, Craig, Melman - all obsessed with oppressing gay people, and each one as queer as a three dollar bill. Really makes you wonder about the rest of them, doesn't it?"
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:51 PM on August 25, 2010 [41 favorites]


This surprises exactly no one, I think. I am guessing Lindsey Graham will be next.

Science has yet to invent a material transparent and flimsy enough to describe Graham's "closet."

Also, obligatory.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:55 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


To be fair, it's seems pretty apparent that Ken Mehlman (and probably Larry Craig and many others) aren't primarily homosexuals. They are moneysexuals, which is to say Republicans.
posted by DU at 4:57 PM on August 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


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.

Guys guys, its ok! He was totally like "GUYS GUYS C'MON LAY OFF LOL!! " off the record!
posted by tittergrrl at 4:57 PM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


He does not apologize, but says he will now work to legalize gay marriage.

Well, good fucking luck finding a husband, bub.
posted by jonmc at 5:08 PM on August 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


I just discovered something interesting while I was searching based on this article.

There is a man named Michael Payte - he's a very high investment banker into heavy S&M who in the late 90s started to go way too far, doing non-consensual things like locking someone in his dungeon and disappearing for a few days. After a lot of soul-searching, as he continued to escalate the S&M community took matters into their own hands and outed him as "Dangerous Top", posting fliers around Wall Street and making sure that he was well-known in the community.

This was a big deal at the time - the Village Voice had a lead article on it and that sort of thing.

So this has basically vanished from the 'net. I can't find a copy of the Village Voice article that isn't behind a paywall. There's no Wikipedia entry. I don't see anything on the S&M forums. There's a reference to a previous Metafilter discussion, some other references from old vintage 90s sites.

I'm amazed, frankly. I'd have sworn that money couldn't remove such a record as that from the 'net - but I guess it can.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:09 PM on August 25, 2010 [21 favorites]


He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad
Because they both -- threaten isn't the right word -- challenge the conservative view of Christianity. Pretty straight forward.
Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman apologized to one of the nation's largest black civil rights groups Thursday, saying Republicans had not done enough to court blacks in the past and had exploited racial strife to court white voters, particularly in the South.

"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," Mehlman said at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."
Yet, when Michael Steel, who has the same job as Mehlman said the same thing he was bashed everywhere. I wonder what could have caused the divergent reactions...
This surprises exactly no one, I think. I am guessing Lindsey Graham will be next.
Not as long as he needs to keep getting elected.
posted by delmoi at 5:22 PM on August 25, 2010


Do you think he knew Jeff Gannon?
posted by drezdn at 5:22 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that Mehlman, now that he's come out out of the closet, continues to embrace the conservative ideology he promoted as a Republican operative. But he's comfortable taking part in a fundraiser to support gay marriage, which he apparently doesn't see as incompatible with his consistent conservative values. Interesting, too, that the representatives of the American Foundation for Equal Rights can't find enough nice things to say about a guy who helped sell the lie that embroiled America in the Iraq war now that he's out and proud in support of same sex weddings. Mehlman and AFER deserve each other.
posted by layceepee at 5:27 PM on August 25, 2010


Do you think he knew Jeff Gannon?

In the Biblical sense?
posted by jonmc at 5:33 PM on August 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ah Ken, Ken, Ken.

You wouldn't be right smack-dab in the middle of your 40s, would you now, Ken? You ain't fooling no one.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:02 PM on August 25, 2010


I wonder, journalists on Metafilter, what your personal opinion is on how far you're willing to go with someone who's advocating a political position that is obviously at odds with what they say "privately, in off-the-record" conversations. Obviously that frustration boiled over in Bill Maher's case. I guess Ambinder was OK with it.

I always get Ambinder and Douthat confused, but it was Douthat who said he opposed gay marriage but wouldn't defend his position in public. Interesting that it came up in a question framed about Mehlman. Maybe Douthat knew Ken was gay and that contributed to his bumbling answer.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:13 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


A self-hating gay republican? Well, hell, it must be a day that ends in "y."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:13 PM on August 25, 2010 [17 favorites]


When I saw the headline, I thought Rove came out?
posted by R. Mutt at 6:14 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's one of the things that I don't understand - why the Democrats don't rub the Republicans noses into this repeated pattern every time they talk about gay rights.

That would be too much like fighting back.
posted by vibrotronica at 6:15 PM on August 25, 2010 [18 favorites]


ericb: "In 2006 Bill Maher outed Mehlman on 'Larry King Live'. "

Stay classy, Bill Maher. Stay classy.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:17 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Up next: Aaron Schock?
posted by schmod at 6:19 PM on August 25, 2010


The best part?

He's really into holoprosencephalitics.
posted by felix betachat at 6:20 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


No one is going to accuse Maher of being classy, but I can appreciate having this reaction to bald-faced hypocrisy. At some you become a human and not a policy wonk.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:20 PM on August 25, 2010


Previously.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:22 PM on August 25, 2010


These Premises Are Alarmed: "No one is going to accuse Maher of being classy, but I can appreciate having this reaction to bald-faced hypocrisy. At some you become a human and not a policy wonk."

The moment you play "Outing people against their will isn't cool unless they play for the other team" is both the moment where you lose the moral high ground and the moment where you deserve to.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:26 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's one of the things that I don't understand - why the Democrats don't rub the Republicans noses into this repeated pattern every time they talk about gay rights.

That would be too much like fighting back.


If fighting back means casting aspersions on people by accusing them of being gay, as if that were a bad thing, I think the message has been lost somewhere.
posted by cj_ at 6:34 PM on August 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Mehlman always had this Creepy Youth Minister vibe about him.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:38 PM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Again, I don't think anyone is going to put Maher on the moral high ground, or call him classy. At least in his case, as nothing more than a guy who listens to Real Time while running every now and then, I don't think he considers the republicans the 'other team', he doesn't seem to have much fondness for Democrats either.

Moving beyond attempting to defend Maher's actions (which I've already agreed are classly and morally swampy), I think it's more than "plays for the other team" going on here. At least if I'm interpreting 'teams' as political parties. The guy was simply lying in public, and it seems like Ambinder, at least, knew it. Is there never a point a journalist should reveal a public figure is lying, even if it requires outing them?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:41 PM on August 25, 2010


Fuck Ken Mehlman. He can shove his apology up his ass.
posted by mediareport at 6:42 PM on August 25, 2010


Err. Meant "non-apology."
posted by mediareport at 6:42 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mostly, I think this is the Republicans scrambling to gain ground with future gay-friendly voters (since they seem ready to write off future Islamic or Hispanic voters). For that matter, I also think that neither GWB nor Obama actually oppose gay marriage, they simply advocate that position for political reasons.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:43 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


After a lot of soul-searching, as he continued to escalate the S&M community took matters into their own hands and outed him as "Dangerous Top", posting fliers around Wall Street and making sure that he was well-known in the community.

This was a big deal at the time - the Village Voice had a lead article on it and that sort of thing.

So this has basically vanished from the 'net.


It was in 1996, and the Voice archives only go back to 1997. There are some subtle references here and there...
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:44 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The moment you play "Outing people against their will isn't cool unless they play for the other team" is both the moment where you lose the moral high ground and the moment where you deserve to.

Are we going to have this discussion again? If you're actively working in the public political arena to deny fellow lgbt citizens equal protection under the law while simultaneously sneaking around sucking dick, anyone outing you deserves a medal. And not only has moral high ground, but a moral *responsibility* to out you.
posted by mediareport at 6:45 PM on August 25, 2010 [41 favorites]


In case you missed it the documentary Outrage from last year was really good.
posted by The Straightener at 6:56 PM on August 25, 2010


I'm in favor of legalizing gay marriage as long as it does not extend to Ken Mehlman. He can just piss off.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:58 PM on August 25, 2010


mediareport, the explictatives you're using in this thread are particularly offensive given the context. Please stop.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:01 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The moment you play "Outing people against their will isn't cool unless they play for the other team" is both the moment where you lose the moral high ground and the moment where you deserve to.

Oh, fuck that noise. The outing is incidental - this is simply pointing out hypocrisy. It's no different from pointing out Gingrich's divorces or Bill Bennett's gambling. Neither of those would be relevant or interesting but for their public positions and corresponding hypocrisy.

On preview, mediareport is exactly right.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:01 PM on August 25, 2010 [14 favorites]


If fighting back means casting aspersions on people by accusing them of being gay, as if that were a bad thing, I think the message has been lost somewhere.

Guess you're right. Legalizing gay marriage isn't as important as being polite to your attackers. Wouldn't want to cast any aspersions on anyone, would we?
posted by vibrotronica at 7:01 PM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


the explictatives you're using in this thread are particularly offensive given the context

When one gay guy tells another gay guy that he can shove his apology up his ass, it doesn't mean anything different than it would with straight guys.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:05 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


Guess you're right. Legalizing gay marriage isn't as important as being polite to your attackers. Wouldn't want to cast any aspersions on anyone, would we?

I didn't say anything about being polite, and pointing out hypocrisy is fine. I'm responding to lupus_yonderboys quote, which ends with, "Really makes you wonder about the rest of them, doesn't it?" This is different to me for being an accusation which can carry the implication that it's something bad in the first place, depending on how you read it. I doubt every homophobe is in the closet, so it's sort of baseless anyway.
posted by cj_ at 7:13 PM on August 25, 2010


The lack of the grovelling apology that so many deserve from this jerk gives me the right so say something that I've always wanted to say on mefi:

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:13 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I see Ken Mehlman's name, the first image that comes to mind is Melman in Madagascar. Consequently, I'm thinking about a gay giraffe with the voice of David Schwimmer holding an outrageous cartoon trophy that says "World's #1 Hypocrite" in Comic Sans.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:19 PM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh for Chrissakes, Ken Mehlman's no homosexual.

A homosexual is someone who, in 15 years of trying, can't get a pissant anti-discrimination bill through City Council. They are men who know nobody, and who nobody knows. Now, does that sound like Ken Mehlman?
posted by orthogonality at 7:20 PM on August 25, 2010 [22 favorites]


Heh.
posted by The Straightener at 7:23 PM on August 25, 2010


Mea culpa on my previous comment - once you know this guy's name and are prepared to spell it properly (oops) he's pretty easy to find. Thanks for the notes!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:26 PM on August 25, 2010


the explictatives you're using in this thread are particularly offensive given the context.

This makes no sense at all. What "explictatives"? Why are they particularly offensive in this context and why doesn't mediareport have a right to be angry?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:26 PM on August 25, 2010


I don't think classy enters into it, people's human rights trump politeness. I am really tempted to pull a Godwin here, but I will leave it as an exercise for the reader.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:28 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are we going to have this discussion again? If you're actively working in the public political arena to deny fellow lgbt citizens equal protection under the law while simultaneously sneaking around sucking dick, anyone outing you deserves a medal. And not only has moral high ground, but a moral *responsibility* to out you.

Nope, not the moral high ground or a moral responsibility. But it clearly brings out the self-righteous moralizing on Metafilter.
posted by jejune at 7:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, if you don't like having people "tell tales" about you, live your life openly and with honor. Only people with secrets can have them told. If you're living on the public stage, it's not like it's a new thing that someone's private life is fair game for political gamesmanship.

(I'm actually not sure how much I believe this, but I do find myself applauding when hypocrisy is exposed, a la Ted Haggard. I'm just impressed that Ken Mehlman actually came out and wasn't found with a rent boy carrying his luggage or doing meth in a hotel room with a male hooker.)
posted by hippybear at 7:39 PM on August 25, 2010


These Premises Are Alarmed I wonder, journalists on Metafilter, what your personal opinion is on how far you're willing to go with someone who's advocating a political position that is obviously at odds with what they say "privately, in off-the-record" conversations.

I see mediareport has already commented, but I really liked his explanation from our 2006 discussion of Ken Mehlman.
posted by mlis at 7:44 PM on August 25, 2010


Anyone hear Terry Gross interview that journalist who's written about Uganda's antigay laws in Harper's recently? The thing that was super weird to me is to hear that those in Uganda who support it see homosexuality as a Western import, a symbol of neoimperialism.

And there's all these bizarro money ties to conservative evangelicals in the U.S. -- and how many of those crazies are in the closet and therefore would be sentenced to death in Uganda.
posted by angrycat at 7:45 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This sucks.
posted by Mister_A at 7:46 PM on August 25, 2010


Is anybody keeping track of the hardcore conservatives who use everything in their powers to quash equal rights and omg-can-you-believe-it-HE'S-GAY-TOO!? It's becoming too long for me to keep stored in my brain.
posted by contessa at 7:50 PM on August 25, 2010


Orthogonality! You angel!
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:50 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


way to use that door knob ken
fyi
clav not gay
clav not longer a republican.
posted by clavdivs at 7:50 PM on August 25, 2010


Legalizing gay marriage isn't as important as being polite to your attackers. Wouldn't want to cast any aspersions on anyone, would we?

You're misunderstanding.

It's great to cast aspersions by (accurately) calling their attacks hypocritical, bigoted, foolish, naive, cruel, tyrannical, incorrect, ignorant, egotistical, hateful, irrational, evil, biased, prejudiced, narrow-minded, simplistic, impractical, greedy, mendacious, etc. It's great if you can do so politely, because that makes your arguments more mature and potentially more effective, but rudeness is okay when it's been earned. It's even okay to cast aspersions on the people who earned it by calling them hypocrites, bigots, fools, etc. That's more counterproductive, since it makes it psychologically harder for your attackers and their sympathizers to change their minds, but it's understandable.

What is wrong is casting aspersions on people by calling them gay. At that point you're conceding that "gay" is a pejorative, the very idea you'd hope to oppose! Long-term progress for gay rights is not going to come about because Democrats figure out how to recapture some of the bigot vote by acting like bigots themselves; it's going to come about because we make bigotry socially unacceptable.
posted by roystgnr at 7:52 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Legalizing gay marriage isn't as important as being polite to your attackers.

Have you considered that being polite -- or, not being indecent -- might actually help legalize gay marriage?
posted by jejune at 7:53 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


actively working in the public political arena

Not cool to say about anyone, no matter how reprehensible they are. We have standards here!
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:55 PM on August 25, 2010


So ... he went from the top to the bottom?

Sorry.
posted by bwg at 7:55 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or recall that old joke, "I'd call him an idiot, but that would be an insult to idiots everywhere!"

In this case it's not a joke: the main reason not to call bigots homosexual isn't because you don't want to insult bigots, it's because you don't want to insult homosexuals.
posted by roystgnr at 7:59 PM on August 25, 2010


NYT said he stated he had just come to realize he was gay. Really? It was the fucking talk of the damn town here in 2004 when he was running the campaign of the guy pushing the anti-gay campaign.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:03 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm straight, but I've had a number of friends outed in awful ways, and it's not something I wish on anybody.

That said, I feel that the privilege of having one's homosexuality be secret is a privilege of the GBLT community, borne of the simple fact that society as yet is not accepting of homosexuality. So, to me, if one is working towards keeping society unnaccepting of gays and lesbians, they have given up the privileges of that community.

Also, hypocrisy among the powerful and all that. I don't like having people drug addictions be outed either, but when it's Rush Limbaugh crying for harsher sentences for drug addicts or whatever, context is key.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:20 PM on August 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


From an interview in December 2004:

Q: Was the gay marriage amendment that the President endorsed in February not an indication that values were, or social issues were, where you were most concerned?

M: No.

Q: No?

M: It wasn't like we were out there saying, let's endorse an amendment -- let's look for a way to talk about this issue. The President endorsed it, reluctantly, after there were, in San Francisco and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and other places, elected officials who were ignoring laws of the states based on a decision by the Supreme Court in Massachusetts. That's why he did it.


I watched that speech the night Bush made it. There seemed nothing reluctant that night about his backing efforts to stop same-sex marriage dead in its tracks. Bush has said or done nothing since to indicate that his position on same-sex marriage is anything other than what it was the night he made that speech. That speech marginalized and terrified me and, I'm willing to bet, a whole lot of other gay people -- I watched it with my jaw on the floor. The President was actually on national TV advocating a wholesale effort to deny rights to American citizens. He said, "After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization." There's no indication that he was reluctant or hesitant about expressing that statement. There's no indication that he's had any change of heart about making that speech or any of the other remarks in the public record that he made against same-sex marriage and gay people.

Ken Mehlman helped construct the cynical strategy that spawned that speech. Ken Mehlman worked to pass amendments against same-sex marriage in 11 states, including one of the most draconian -- in Ohio. Ken Mehlman rode that strategy to a victory in the November election, then denied that the strategy was in any way responsible for Bush's victory. Ken Mehlman is a cowardly, mendacious, hypocritical son of a bitch. His publicly coming out does not change any of that.
posted by blucevalo at 8:21 PM on August 25, 2010 [19 favorites]


If you're actively working in the public political arena to deny fellow lgbt citizens equal protection under the law while simultaneously sneaking around sucking dick, anyone outing you deserves a medal. And not only has moral high ground, but a moral *responsibility* to out you.

Is that because hypocrisy is the worst of all sins? If a politician's positions on the war, or capital punishment, or the drug war, or environmental regulation don't justify outing him, why do his positions on ENDA or Don't Ask Don't Tell or hate crimes?
posted by layceepee at 8:25 PM on August 25, 2010


being an accusation which can carry the implication that it's something bad in the first place

How on earth is simply pointing out that a vehemently anti-gay politician is gay implying that being gay is "something bad in the first place"?

Seriously. How are you making that leap. Because it's total shallow bullshit that completely fails to get the dynamic behind outing vehemently anti-gay closet cases.
posted by mediareport at 8:27 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


mediareport: I agree that that's not the real dynamic at play. However, there are other good reasons not to out people. It's counterproductive and hypocritical. It's a way for supporters of gay rights to get energized about how awful the other side is, without really doing any good.
posted by jejune at 8:30 PM on August 25, 2010


It's counterproductive and hypocritical.

It eliminates completely and immediately a force for anti-gay bigotry. They shut up their spew instantly. How is that counterproductive again? Not only that, but jesus, the closet cases almost always end up *admitting* they felt a huge sense of relief more than anything else Duh.

As to your second accusation, please explain how outing is hypocritical. That's one I haven't heard before. If you're making the tired garbage argument that announcing to the world "Hey! I saw that anti-gay asshole sucking cock in the back room of a gay bar last night" is somehow the same as saying "Being gay is bad!" well, you're so obviously wrong it's hard to find more words to explain why. come on, those two things aren't even *close* to being the same. But if there's some other "hypocrisy" you see in making that announcement, I'd love to hear it.
posted by mediareport at 8:43 PM on August 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


jesus i'm obviously typing too fast and furious. time for bed.
posted by mediareport at 8:46 PM on August 25, 2010


Is that because hypocrisy is the worst of all sins? If a politician's positions on the war, or capital punishment, or the drug war, or environmental regulation don't justify outing him, why do his positions on ENDA or Don't Ask Don't Tell or hate crimes?

Well, I think that's because at this point, we realize that homosexuality is inborn and immutable. And it's a very interesting kind of minority to have in the population, because unlike most other minorities, it's one where individuals can easily submerge and "hide" in the population, pretending they aren't gay or lesbian. This was and is even still encouraged in our culture to a large extent.

So, if you're a homosexual and in politics and are actively working to keep homosexuals in second-class citizen status, then you're propagating an evil which continues to drive men and women away from their true self-expression as full members of society enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and yet you are seeking to be part of the rule-makers of the system which claims that those are inherent rights of all who live.

While it often isn't fully realized, we do like to believe that our politicians at least pretend to believe what they are seeking to uphold through their political machinations. And there is nothing inherently important about someone's sexuality when it comes to matters involving war or capital punishment or the drug war or environmental regulation. Many people of many different backgrounds hold widely varying views on those topics, and it's really not a matter of which gender of person you are attracted to.. I cannot imagine how a politician could be actively "in the closet" about any of these issues. But just as we would be shocked to see Michael Steele seeking to reinstate Jim Crow laws, he wouldn't be able to do it while masquerading as a white person.

Yet these people who speak out and work against gay issues are masquerading as the opposite of what they are. And they do that masquerading largely because society STILL thinks that the homosexual should remain invisible and they fear losing their power if they should be honest about who they are. The mounting number of them who rail against Teh Gayz and then turn out to be gay themselves are pointing toward it actually being a smokescreen to protect their power and position, the very things they are using to keep others like themselves in second-class status. Just as we would be shocked to see Michael Steele seeking to reinstate Jim Crow laws, he wouldn't be able to do it while masquerading as a white person.

Perhaps what you are saying here is that someone's closeted sexuality should be used agains them no matter what the issue is that you feel they have problematic views about, in order to remove them from office and hopefully replace them with someone who has more amenable views. But I think that only reinforces the homophobia endemic in our culture, stating that the simple fact of being gay is something which can be used to drive someone from political power. That's 1950s thinking, not 2010 thinking. Hypocrisy, I think, is far game in these matters. Believing that revealing someone's homosexuality can be used to clean house... that's another matter entirely.

The truly brave thing is to be honest about one's self in the face of possible loss of power. I was struck at the number of politicians and people in power who were listed in the Independent's 2010 Pink List, and commented at the time that I couldn't imagine seeing such a similar showing of gay and lesbian movers and shakers on the national US scene lauded in a national newspaper. I think that speaks volumes about how far we have to go with our cultural acceptance, and how effective the hypocrites have been with their self-hating schemes and power grabbing.
posted by hippybear at 9:05 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I need a Barney Is Frank pin or something.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


How on earth is simply pointing out that a vehemently anti-gay politician is gay implying that being gay is "something bad in the first place"?

Seriously. How are you making that leap. Because it's total shallow bullshit that completely fails to get the dynamic behind outing vehemently anti-gay closet cases.
Did you even read my comment? I am specifically objecting to lupus_yonderboy's hypothetical counter-rhetoric:
You have to ask yourself - why are these guys so interested in gays? I'm happily married - I simply never think about homosexuality in my day-to-day life - what is it about homosexuality that so fascinates these guys? If you're a straight man or woman, aren't you much more worried about your job, about America's security? Look at all these men - Foley, Haggard, Craig, Melman - all obsessed with oppressing gay people, and each one as queer as a three dollar bill. Really makes you wonder about the rest of them, doesn't it?" [emphasis mine]
I'm not sure I see how it's all that controversial to find this a problematic way to pursue gay civil rights. As roystgnr says, it comes across (to me) as conceding that being gay is the bad thing. Not so much the outing, but the accusing. It's also just plain nasty in tone.

How about we argue for civil rights because it's the right fucking thing to do? Were anti-miscegenation laws overturned with "he's totally banging a black chick, amirite" bullshit? I don't think so. I don't see any evidence at all that this sort of dirty politics is all that effective at winning people's hearts and minds, really. It's great at riling people up, but ultimately you aren't changing anyone's mind, just making them dig in.

As a straight male, I don't have any strong or informed opinion on whether outing someone is right or wrong, but I don't think there's any problem with pointing out hypocrisy when it is blatant. However, I really wonder what people hope to achieve with this besides enjoying some schadenfreude. Conservatives invested in this culture war issue are not going to change their mind because one anti-gay politician turns out to be gay. They consider homosexuality to be a lifestyle choice, and would argue that though this particular anti-gay crusader was weak of character, he had the right message. It is all about the message. They are very good at staying on message and disseminating it far and wide. And when you respond by accusing people of being gay, it is reinforcing that this is a bad thing, when what you should be arguing is that basic civil rights and equality under the law is fundamental to the American way of life.
posted by cj_ at 9:17 PM on August 25, 2010


(Which is what people are doing, and it seems to be working pretty well.)
posted by cj_ at 9:19 PM on August 25, 2010


"It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life," said Mehlman, now an executive vice-president with the New York City-based private equity firm, KKR.

Yeah, I can imagine he'd be comfortable revealing he was gay and against the Republicans' anti-gay platform once he had secured his high-paid sinecure at KKR, and not a moment before then.

People get kicked out of their homes and are cut off from their families for revealing they're gay. They're a heckuva lot braver than Mehlman ever was.

Enjoy the money. Are you being paid in silver coins?
posted by deanc at 9:22 PM on August 25, 2010 [14 favorites]


Mehlman always had this Creepy Youth Minister vibe about him.

Are you equating homosexuality and being a child molestor? Because that's how this reads to me, and if that's so, I think you need to be educated as to the not remotely trivial difference between the two.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:26 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


And if I've read that comment wrong, please let me know. That's not a derail I want to start.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:27 PM on August 25, 2010


Enjoy the money. Are you being paid in silver coins?

But he will enjoy the money. Because for Ken, being "gay" is subordinate to being "Republican" -- and being Republican is all about "I got mine, fuck you!"

"I got my money, fuck you, I got my health care, fuck yours, I got my rights, fuck you."

Now Ken wants the right to marry whom he wants. It's not so much a matter of general rights, it' a matter of Ken's rights. So it really doesn't matter that Ken built a career out of fucking away your right to marry whom you chose. What matters now is that there's something Ken wants. He doesn't have time for guilt or apologies or regret or introspection. He needs to concentrate on getting his. Oh, and fuck you.
posted by orthogonality at 9:34 PM on August 25, 2010 [23 favorites]


*grumble* Please ignore one instance of the repeated sentence in my comment above. I was editing, and evidently hit copy instead of cut.
posted by hippybear at 9:37 PM on August 25, 2010


People can out me if they want. I'm not gay, but I wouldn't mind if people mistakenly thought me fabulous.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:44 PM on August 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Fuck you, Mehlman.
posted by canadia at 9:47 PM on August 25, 2010


AZ: you are fabulous, and it's not a mistaken thought.

Actually, you're FAAAABulous!
posted by hippybear at 9:50 PM on August 25, 2010


I wouldn't mind if people mistakenly thought me fabulous.

I don't believe that would be a mistake.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:56 PM on August 25, 2010


A homosexual is someone who, in 15 years of trying, can't get a pissant anti-discrimination bill through City Council. They are men who know nobody, and who nobody knows.

'Angels in America'
Henry: Roy Cohn, you are … You have had sex with men. Many, many times Roy. And one of those men, or any number of them, has made you very sick. You have AIDS.

Roy Cohn : AIDS. [Shakes head] You know, your problem, Henry, is that you are hung up on words. On labels. That you believe that they mean what they seem to mean. AIDS. Homosexual. Gay. Lesbian. You think these are names that tell you who someone sleeps with. They don’t tell you that.

H: No?

RC: No. Like all labels, they tell you one thing and one thing only. WHERE does an individual so identified fit in the food chain? In the pecking order? Not ideology or sexual taste, but something much simpler. Clout. Not who I fuck, or who fucks me, but who will pick up the phone when I call. Who owes me favours. This is what a label refers to. Now to someone who does not understand this, ‘homosexual’ is what I am because I have sex with men. But, really, this is wrong. Homosexuals are not men who sleep with other men. Homosexuals are men, who in 15 years of trying cannot pass a pissant anti-discrimination bill through city council. Homosexuals are men who know nobody. And who nobody knows. Who have zero clout! Does this sound like me Henry? … And what is my diagnosis Henry?

H: You have AIDS, Roy.

RC: No. AIDS is what homosexuals have. I have liver cancer.
posted by ericb at 10:02 PM on August 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


I am guessing Lindsey Graham will be next.

Oh, he's already out. The MSM is just polite enough to not report it. It's pretty common knowledge in SC.
posted by mek at 10:32 PM on August 25, 2010


Yeah, that's what bugs me the most about this oh-so-pious opposition to the "outing" business - in many cases, the fact of the politician's queerness is widely known in legislative and journalist circles, but that fact is deemed too sensitive for the great unwashed to know about. Thus, journalists and political commentators engage in all sorts of ridiculous contortions to keep from sharing what they themselves *know* to be the case.

It's difficult to imagine a more hypocritical situation than that.

(can't sleep clowns will take away my civil rights)
posted by mediareport at 10:39 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that's what bugs me the most about this oh-so-pious opposition to the "outing" business - in many cases, the fact of the politician's queerness is widely known in legislative and journalist circles, but that fact is deemed too sensitive for the great unwashed to know about. Thus, journalists and political commentators engage in all sorts of ridiculous contortions to keep from sharing what they themselves *know* to be the case.

Now that's a good argument, unlike most of the arguments in favor of outing gay Republicans.
posted by jejune at 10:57 PM on August 25, 2010


And again, I'd like to point out the ridiculousness of the argument being made here:

What is wrong is casting aspersions on people by calling them gay. At that point you're conceding that "gay" is a pejorative, the very idea you'd hope to oppose!

It's astonishing to me that ostensibly liberal people can actually make this argument seriously. Notice how the person *assumes* that calling someone gay is "casting aspersions," and then goes on to blame *other folks* for conceding that gayness is perjorative.

Again, it's an astonishing argument to throw at gay folks requesting honesty in discussions of gay politicians.
posted by mediareport at 10:57 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hypocrites should always be outed.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:58 PM on August 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


This refusal to out people is typical Village behaviour and understood as a mandatory aspect of participating in mainstream journalism culture: you do not out someone unless they acknowledge it themselves in a public venue. It's just one face of the total corruption and obedience of the American media.
posted by mek at 10:58 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hypocrites should always be outed.

See, this is exactly what I think is so wrong. No, hypocrites should not always be outed.

Hypocrisy is often not a very big deal. Everyone is a hypocrite. And people have a right to have private lives.

In fact, the idea that it's so important to out people goes against what I thought was supposed to be one of the driving beliefs of the gay rights movement: that it's none of your business what someone else chooses to do in their private life. If someone chooses to be gay and not let people know about this deeply personal fact, that's their business.

People are being all, "But gay marriage is so much more important!!!" Well, if I thought we could have same-sex marriage through violating a few people's privacy, I would agree, the tradeoff would be worth it. But I fail to see how that's going to happen -- I could easily imagine it being counterproductive.
posted by jejune at 11:07 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


(To be clear, I was not trying to imply that people "choose to be gay," only that it's a choice to be secretly gay.)
posted by jejune at 11:19 PM on August 25, 2010


Something I'd like to know, for those who are vehemently in favor of outing: where would you draw the line? I see tabloids blaring rumors that Obama's gay. Do you think this claim should be thoroughly investigated, and if it turns out to be true, do you think he should be outed? What if it turns out that his marriage is perfectly sincere, but he's bisexual? Should he be outed for that? (I hope it goes without saying that Obama's public positions on gay rights are less than ideal.)
posted by jejune at 11:23 PM on August 25, 2010


layceepee: If a politician's positions on the war, or capital punishment, or the drug war, or environmental regulation don't justify outing him, why do his positions on ENDA or Don't Ask Don't Tell or hate crimes?

Half your objections don't even make sense. How would a politician who publicly opposes capital punishment secretly betray that position in his/her private life? Are you thinking of some Capitol Hill version of Dexter? I'm having trouble even imagining what the converse would be. As for environmental regs—what? Someone in the pocket of ADM secretly grows heirloom tomatoes? A "green" legislator has a clandestine second career as a cropduster AND pours used motor oil in the gutter?

The war? Assuming you mean the Iraq invasion, plenty of people pointed out the hypocrisy of Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney, et al., as well as their media cheerleaders. (Google "101st Chairborne") And if any NY legislator enjoys the occasional bowl and still campaigns in favor of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, of course they should be "outed." Preferably on the front page of the NYPost, with a jeering pun in the headline. (Bonus points for an unflattering perp-walk pic; double for a badly photoshopped photo-illustration featuring a bong and/or a weasel.)

But you seem to be missing the basic point. Betraying our positions and beliefs isn't admirable and, depending on the circumstances, it may even be deplorable. It's also very, very human and I know I've done it many times.

That's not what Mehlman did. He not only denied an essential aspect of who he is (which is his personal tragedy) but he actively worked to make life worse for those who not only shared that aspect but accepted it, knew it, lived it.

That? That's fucked up.
posted by dogrose at 11:29 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


And if any NY legislator enjoys the occasional bowl and still campaigns in favor of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, of course they should be "outed."

That analogy doesn't work. Crimes are not private -- they're a matter of public record. So, if you support marijuana being illegal, you're taking the position that your use of marijuana is something for which you can be arrested and prosecuted. Those would be public facts that everyone would agree can be reported in the news. But there's no law against being gay (which would be impossible) or against having gay sex (which would be unconstitutional). In general, facts about which type of person someone's attracted to, or what kind of sex someone has, are private -- they're not news stories.
posted by jejune at 11:40 PM on August 25, 2010


But there's no law against being gay (which would be impossible)

There are plenty of laws denying equal rights to homosexuals. And there existed laws criminalizing homosexual acts until the 90s, so I don't think those "impossible". As long as such laws can exist, and closeted legislators support them, I support outing those legislators. They are a threat to my well-being and I am simply fighting for my rights. They are denied nothing but their ability to deceive and manipulate the public. Individuals such as Mehlman and Graham must be held accountable for their political positions, and if they fail to adhere to their doctrine that is all the less reason for the public to support it.
posted by mek at 11:50 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


What if it turns out that his marriage is perfectly sincere, but he's bisexual? Should he be outed for that?

He has voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage, so if he's hypothetically bisexual or gay and married, sincere or otherwise, that's hypocritical and he should be outed, yes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:52 PM on August 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think the analogy holds up fine. Not all laws are criminal statutes. Mehlman ran the party that advocated passing a constitutional amendment relegating the kind of sexual relationship he preferred to second-class status. That hypocrisy has a very similar flavor to the hypothetical NY legislator's.

Also, when he worked on that campaign, laws against having gay sex had been unconstitutional for less than a year.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:55 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


But there's no law against being gay (which would be impossible) or against having gay sex (which would be unconstitutional).

Well, there were such laws, upheld by the Supreme Court in 1986 in Bowers, and only overturned by the 6-3 decision in Lawrence in 2003.

That is, being gay or having gay sex was illegal in some states as recently as seven years ago. Seven years ago, that's when Ken Mehlman was working in the White House, and before that, Ken Mehlman was working in Texas. Which is once of the states that criminalized, and punished, homosexuality.

Ken was working directly to elect and then re-elect a conservative Republican president. A president who had pledged to appoint more conservative justices, like the three who in dissenting in Lawrence thus agreed that there was no Constitutional impediment to Texas or any other state depriving people of their liberty, putting people in jail, for doing exactly what Ken Mehlman was presumably doing, had presumbaly done in Texas where it was illegal.

Of course Ken didn't spend a night in a Houston jail. John Lawrence and Tyron Garner did spend a night in jail, and were convicted of a crime, and thus had criminal records with all the practical problems those incur.

Ironically, the Lawrence decision not only decriminalized Ken's (gay) lifestyle, it also enhanced his (Republican) lifestyle: backlash against the decision was a deciding factor in getting Bush re-elected, as an anti-gay rights referendum brought a lot of conservative (and hateful) voters to the polls in the deciding swing state of Ohio in 2004.

Ken, who was presumably committing the same crime as Lawrence and Garner, had access and power and money -- all of that gained because he was willingly complicit in doing his best to keep "homosexual sodomy" illegal. Not because he thought it was wrong, but because keeping a certain class of people criminals also served to keep another class -- Republicans -- in power.

And now -- after using gay hate to get power -- Ken has enough power to admit he's gay. And now that he's officially out, well damn it, now he wants the right to marry. Never worked for it when other people needed it, but now that Ken needs it, he's all for it. Now he's going to be a "pioneer"!

How convenient to be Ken Mehlman. How convenient to forget about gay rights when Ken was sitting in the White House and Lawrence and Garner were sitting in jail.
posted by orthogonality at 1:22 AM on August 26, 2010 [29 favorites]


I've gone back and forth on the issue of closeted gay politicians who are publically anti-gay. For the most part I've come down on the side of "let their private lives be": we should judge their arguments on their (non-existent) merits and leave it at that.

But lately I've come down more on the side of... these people are making personal and political hay out of the personal lives of other people. That their personal lives become public seems only fair.

I'm pretty conflicted on this, all around.

I'm also concerned (is that the word?) that some conservatives (Coulter, Beck, etc.) are realizing which way the wind is blowing and are backing off from the heavy anti-gay stance. That isn't a bad thing, of course, but I could see conservatives co-opting the gay rights movement down the line, the same way they've tried to do with the civil rights movement. "We think the blacks and gays are fine, and we support them in whatever they do. At least they're not Muslims/Atheists/BLAH!

Sorry for the rambling. A bit tipsy.
posted by brundlefly at 1:29 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


damn id love to met a gay tipsy muslim republican
posted by clavdivs at 1:35 AM on August 26, 2010


I could see conservatives co-opting the gay rights movement down the line, the same way they've tried to do with the civil rights movement.

How did they co-opt the civil rights movement? By adding a few black people to the party 40 years after this battle was fought and won? I'm not seeing it or feeling it. 95% of black voters pulled the Democratic lever in 2008. The conservative talking point is that they are racists that only voted for Obama because he is a black man. This is ripe considering > 50% of whites voted for McCain+Palin, a ticket that no person acting rationally could support.

Given the GOPs "anything to win" strategy, I think they would run a black candidate to capitalize on this if they believed it at all. They do not. The reality is that the GOP represents a specific demographic: White, Christian, and deeply invested in a culture war that is becoming increasingly irrelevant. I have no doubt that conservatism will always be with us. But the agenda the current crop of conservatives are pushing is completely bust. They have co-opted nothing but the level of discourse which, to my dismay, many progressives want to meet them halfway on.
posted by cj_ at 2:17 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll stay out of closeted politicians' love lives when they stay out of mine.

Seriously. I mean just that. They don't want to make what I do in bed illegal? Then I don't care if they're gay or straight or neither. They want to make what I do in bed illegal? To make the police -- that is to say, the law enforcement wing of the government -- check up on what I do in bed? Then they'd better be prepared for the populace to take a good long look at their own love lives.

And that applies perfectly well to other situations -- Marijuana use. Patronizing prostitutes. Or whatever, playing chess in public. Those are three things I think should be legal. Someone in governments thinks they should be or stay illegal? They're entitled to their opinion. They also deserve to be exposed if they're hypocrites.

If they want the police to watch us, then I want us to be watching them.
posted by kyrademon at 3:11 AM on August 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


Half your objections don't even make sense. How would a politician who publicly opposes capital punishment secretly betray that position in his/her private life?

I guess I wasn't clear on the question I was posing. The proposition was that if a closeted politician were taking a public anti-gay stance, there was a moral duty to out them as homosexual. I understood that to mean one should release information about their sexual orientation, both to punish them for their hypocrisy and damage their ability to succeed politically. Outing is most powerful when it takes advantage of homophobia and uses the revelation of someone's sexual orientation to cast them in an unfavorable light.

My question was whether the politician's stance on gay rights justified outing them because being anti-gay itself was immoral or only because hypocrisy is immoral. If it's the former, we out closeted politicians who are anti-gay because the exposure is a convenient tool that interferes with their ability to succeed in an immoral act, the perpetuation of discrimination against gays.

If that's the case, why not use the exposure as a convenient tool that interferes with their ability to succeed in other immoral acts--the perpetuation of an unjust war, sanctioning state murder, ravaging the environment or any of a number of other things?

I wasn't asking whether you should out someone who supports the war on drugs as a drug user. I was asking whether closeted homosexual who supports the war on drugs should be outed as a homosexual if you think that were likely to diminish their ability to support the immoral war on drugs.
posted by layceepee at 5:01 AM on August 26, 2010


The hypocrisy isn't about being gay, it's about using your political power to create a cushy closet for yourself while demonizing others. The scandal isn't that these folks are gay, the scandal is the lengths these people will go to in order to protect themselves from being publicly outed as gay.

And as a comparison, NPR refused to name any of the politicians outed by the movie Outrage on the grounds that it's a private matter in the same news cycle that Edwards' extramarital relationship got heavy coverage. Something is off here.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:01 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


layceepee: I was asking whether closeted homosexual who supports the war on drugs should be outed as a homosexual if you think that were likely to diminish their ability to support the immoral war on drugs.

I don't think so, and I don't think that most advocates of outing in regards to sexual orientation would agree that this should be the case.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:06 AM on August 26, 2010


The amount of schadenfreude and meanspiritedness in this thread is astounding, even for the liberal echo chamber that is Metafilter. Repeatedly throughout this thread I see "But gay marriage is so much more important!" Has the point been lost on you that this is a man who is now fighting for gay marriage? And yet he is demonized.

If "gay marriage is so much more important" than his privacy, then maybe you should consider that "gay marriage is so much more important" than your vindictive retributionist barbarism.
posted by thesmophoron at 5:29 AM on August 26, 2010


In fact, the idea that it's so important to out people goes against what I thought was supposed to be one of the driving beliefs of the gay rights movement: that it's none of your business what someone else chooses to do in their private life. If someone chooses to be gay and not let people know about this deeply personal fact, that's their business.

Actually my understanding of the goal of the gay rights movement was to enable people to live their lives openly, free from persecution, as first class citizens. I wasn't aware the movement was trying to shove us all back in the closet.

Also I'm with the Dan Savage theory of handling closeted bigots, as a community minimally we need to Not Fuck Them. Now not everyone is super politically informed so how we handle this is we put Anti-Wanted poster's up that just have a picture of the top 10 most vehemently outspoken anti-gay bigots that say DO NOT FUCK THIS PERSON put up in EVERY gay bar across America. If you legislate against the community you lose access to your sexlife.
posted by edbles at 5:33 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama actually oppose gay marriage, they simply advocate that position for political reasons.

As much as I respect Obama (which is a lot), he does oppose gay marriage. He's come out and said it. Many times. He's very upfront about being in favor of "equal rights" but not marriage due to his religious beliefs. I personally think that it's weaksauce and I'm not a fan of this position at all, but it's the stance he's taken and he's pretty damn clear about it.
posted by sonika at 5:52 AM on August 26, 2010


jejune: In fact, the idea that it's so important to out people goes against what I thought was supposed to be one of the driving beliefs of the gay rights movement: that it's none of your business what someone else chooses to do in their private life. If someone chooses to be gay and not let people know about this deeply personal fact, that's their business. (emphasis added)

That's really the problem here. It stops being about your private life when you use campaign funds to carry on your affairs, private and governmental security to help you stay on the down low, parade a wife/husband on national TV to deflect suspicion, and use your influence with news media to hush up rumors. These guys are using privileges to keep their lives private that they openly deny to people like Dan Choi.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:54 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually my understanding of the goal of the gay rights movement was to enable people to live their lives openly, free from persecution, as first class citizens. I wasn't aware the movement was trying to shove us all back in the closet.

Who said anything about shoving anyone back in the closet?

I maintain that it's your choice what to reveal about your sexual orientation. Are you saying it's consistent with the gay rights movement to force everyone to go public with their sexual orientation? Does this include people who are publicly straight (or publicly gay) but privately bisexual? This sounds scarily like a thought crime.

I would love it if no gays were in the closet. But freedom includes freedom to do things you'd rather people didn't do.
posted by jejune at 5:54 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If a politician is accepting money from a lobbying organization then you want to know that, right? Why do you want to know that? Because it calls into question their motivation for pushing legislation related to that issue. Now conceivably they could believe that the legislation they are pushing is a good and right and they also like having money to spend on campaign ads. But it’s much more likely that they are proposing that legislation for cynical financial reasons.

Knowing someone’s sexual orientation when it comes to gay rights issues is like knowing who contributed to their campaign fund. It helps you examine at their motivations. If you have a closeted gay man proposing legislation that advocates second class citizenship for gays it calls into question whether he’s doing that because he legitimately thinks the gay lifestyle will cause the nation to implode or whether he’s just doing that to accrue power and influence, to be utilized on other issues.

As several people upthread have said, context matters. Knowing someone’s sexual orientation doesn’t affect any of the other areas mentioned, marijuana legalization, war, whatever and so is not relevant and outing someone to weaken their power over these decisions and influences would not be taking the moral high ground. But I do think there’s a moral imperative to expose people when they have ulterior motives that affect their decision making process when it comes to legislation and policy.
posted by edbles at 5:56 AM on August 26, 2010


jejune: Are you saying it's consistent with the gay rights movement to force everyone to go public with their sexual orientation?

Straw man.

Does this include people who are publicly straight (or publicly gay) but privately bisexual?

If those people are using the power and privilege of their political roles to protect themselves from discrimination while insisting on discrimination against others, yes.

I would love it if no gays were in the closet. But freedom includes freedom to do things you'd rather people didn't do.

But not freedom from criticism and comment.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:58 AM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


It stops being about your private life when you use campaign funds to carry on your affairs, private and governmental security to help you stay on the down low, parade a wife/husband on national TV to deflect suspicion, and use your influence with news media to hush up rumors.

That's the standard argument people always use to justify making a public issue out of politicians' affairs, too. Are you in favor of the Republican witch hunt against Bill Clinton from 1992 to 1998? Don't you think that was also a waste of resources?

I understanding your debating point that politicians might use public resources in the ways you've described. But that's missing my real concern: how inherently unseemly it is to out people. This is not primarily about how sorry I feel for big-shot gay Republican politicos. Aside from issues of gay rights, those people have very comfortable lives anyway, so they're not going to be high on my list of people to be sorry for. What's at stake is the shared public norm that everyone has a private life that you don't get to intrude into.
posted by jejune at 6:01 AM on August 26, 2010


jejune: Are you saying it's consistent with the gay rights movement to force everyone to go public with their sexual orientation?

Straw man.


What? How can asking someone to clarify their comment be a "straw man"? I'm genuinely surprised at edbles's comment and wondering how far she'd extend it.
posted by jejune at 6:02 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you equating homosexuality and being a child molestor? ... if I've read that comment wrong, please let me know.

A) Oh, hell no and B) Yes, besides having, apparently, no acquaintance with a particular kind of southern Church employee, you are reading the intent of my remark very, very wrongly, so wrongly that I can't even imagine how wrongly you're reading my remark.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:02 AM on August 26, 2010


He has voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage, so if he's hypothetically bisexual or gay and married, sincere or otherwise, that's hypocritical and he should be outed, yes.

Wow, I admire your consistency.

I most certainly would not want that to happen to our country.
posted by jejune at 6:04 AM on August 26, 2010


I would love it if no gays were in the closet. But freedom includes freedom to do things you'd rather people didn't do.

But not freedom from criticism and comment.


They're not free from criticism at all. No one's suggesting they are.
posted by jejune at 6:06 AM on August 26, 2010


Are you in favor of the Republican witch hunt against Bill Clinton from 1992 to 1998? Don't you think that was also a waste of resources?

This is one of the most jejune comparisons I've ever encountered.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:07 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


They want to make what I do in bed illegal? To make the police -- that is to say, the law enforcement wing of the government -- check up on what I do in bed?

Again, that's a moot point since any such laws would be unconstitutional. And as detestable as those laws were, they were very rarely enforced when they were on the books.

Folks, sodomy laws are not an issue in the United States. That is not what gay rights is about anymore.
posted by jejune at 6:08 AM on August 26, 2010


What? How can asking someone to clarify their comment be a "straw man"? I'm genuinely surprised at edbles's comment and wondering how far she'd extend it.

Yeah, but the point is I wouldn't extend it beyond people who are legislating on gay rights issues whose policies are therefore influenced by their closeted or uncloseted status.
posted by edbles at 6:11 AM on August 26, 2010


Are you in favor of the Republican witch hunt against Bill Clinton from 1992 to 1998? Don't you think that was also a waste of resources?

This is one of the most jejune comparisons I've ever encountered.


If it's so boring, I'm surprised you were even interested enough to post a comment.
posted by jejune at 6:12 AM on August 26, 2010


octobersurprise: "Why are they particularly offensive in this context and why doesn't mediareport have a right to be angry?"

He has a right to be angry. He doesn't have a right to call people he's angry at assfuckers and cocksuckers (as though those are inherently abhorrent / evil / dirty things to be or to do), and he particularly doesn't have that right in a thread about not being bigoted toward gay people, for reasons I hope are self evident.

I think this would be a far different conversation if Mehlman had led the charge against an adulterer while committing adultery (as Gingrich did) or laid claim to expansive moral authority while breaking his own moral code (like Bennett et al did). But, really, he didn't. He was a member of this country's political machine who was closeted for a long time. I don't find his membership in that machine particularly noble or worthy of praise, but there's literally thousands of people doing the exact same thing for the exact same reasons, they have exactly as much power as Mehlman did (relatively little), and I can't imagine many people of good will would be interested in outing all of them. When you start going after the pawns, your richeous crusade becomes a witch hunt.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:14 AM on August 26, 2010


If it's so boring ...

I didn't say it was boring, I said it was "jejune."

That is not what gay rights is about anymore.

Who put you in charge of The Gay Agenda?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:15 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not sure under what criteria "Chairman of the RNC" is a mere pawn.
posted by empath at 6:15 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Notice how the person *assumes* that calling someone gay is "casting aspersions,"

More misunderstanding. This is not my belief, much less my assumption. It's also an offensive misstatement of my beliefs; you should apologize.

First, an accurate statement of my belief. Calling someone gay in a context suggesting that you believe this to be a bad thing is an aspersion. That is not the same thing as the proposition that calling someone gay is always an aspersion. If you advise against voting for someone on the basis that they're insert group here, I must infer that you are insulting them and their group even though I don't believe that identifying membership in that group is inherently an insult!

And this is not an assumption, it's a logical conclusion based on the stated political ends of the strategy. If you call someone a gay bigot on the basis that this is a better insult than calling them a straight bigot (or just plain calling them a bigot), some people will conclude that you think being gay is itself worthy of insult, and thus all people should conclude that this is a bad idea unless you want to increase the apparent popularity of discrimination based on sexuality.
posted by roystgnr at 6:16 AM on August 26, 2010


IMO if you are a secret member of "Group X" while simultaneously targeting "Group X" with discriminatory legislation, then it is fair game to out you.

Feel free to substitute "Catholic", "Muslim", "Gay", "Black", "Transgender", "Word of Warcraft Player", "Gambler", or "Pot Smoker" for "Group X"
posted by empath at 6:18 AM on August 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sonika: I know Obama (and GWB) have stated that publicly, repeatedly. I think they're lying.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:20 AM on August 26, 2010


..Of course, it probably says more about me that I'd assume Obama (who I also support)is a liar rather than take him at his word that he opposes equal rights.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:21 AM on August 26, 2010


These Premises Are Alarmed: I guess it says an equal amount about me that I believe that at least Obama (I have no opinion on GWB) is being honest on this particular issue. I know enough people in my life who are all "Gays should have rights, but mawwiage is only for straight people because G-d said - only G-d never actually said, but I THINK he did!" to find it completely believable that this would be the stance of any number of politicians as well.
posted by sonika at 6:25 AM on August 26, 2010


Has the point been lost on you that this is a man who is now fighting for gay marriage? And yet he is demonized.

No, I get that point. Tough shit for him. If he wants to mea culpa his way into the good graces of the folks doing the benefit dinners etc. for gay marriage, well, great. But I don't owe him jack.

As for the outing thing....The arguments on any side of it haven't changed at all, as far as I can tell, since I started having them in the 80s. And I still haven't read or heard one that convinces me that it's fine to leave someone like Mehlman in a nice soft safe closet until he's ready to stop wrecking lives and cry about how sorry he is.
posted by rtha at 6:32 AM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


He doesn't have a right to call people he's angry at assfuckers and cocksuckers (as though those are inherently abhorrent / evil / dirty things to be or to do)

He didn't. In fact, he never called anyone anything, before you scolded him for using vulgar language. But, obviously, you're more incensed by vulgarities of language than by the vulgarities of powerful people, so I'll just concede that we have a very different sense of values and leave it at that.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:34 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


jejune: That's the standard argument people always use to justify making a public issue out of politicians' affairs, too. Are you in favor of the Republican witch hunt against Bill Clinton from 1992 to 1998? Don't you think that was also a waste of resources?

Actually, I do think that Clinton used his office to protect what appears to be a consistent problem of sexual harassment. Now granted, I don't think the Republican witch hunt was a good use of resources because it started as a fishing expedition from Whitewater and expanded to look for anything that might embarrass the president. But I do think it's reasonable to criticize Clinton for the disconnect between this claimed pro-feminism and his potential sexual harassment.

But it's not as if there's very much in the way of resources being spent outing politicians whose participation in the gay community is something of an open secret within the beltway. This isn't even news as far as the gay press is concerned because Mehlman's been repeatedly outed over a fair chunk of the last decade.

But that's missing my real concern: how inherently unseemly it is to out people.

The other side of the coin is that it strikes me as highly unseemly for politicians to insulate themselves with privilege while vocally denying civil rights towards others.

What's at stake is the shared public norm that everyone has a private life that you don't get to intrude into.

Well yes. But that's a right they secure for themselves with political privilege at the expense of people who need ENDA or an end to DADT. We're merely holding them to the standards they set for LGBT people.

What? How can asking someone to clarify their comment be a "straw man"?

It's not a reasonable or fair question in this discussion. It's a rhetorically exaggerated accusation that's set up to put people on the defensive. And since the answer is obviously, "no," there's no need to address it other than to point out what it really does.

They're not free from criticism at all.

Then you don't have a problem with them being outed.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:37 AM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


roystgnr: And this is not an assumption, it's a logical conclusion based on the stated political ends of the strategy. If you call someone a gay bigot on the basis that this is a better insult than calling them a straight bigot (or just plain calling them a bigot), some people will conclude that you think being gay is itself worthy of insult, and thus all people should conclude that this is a bad idea unless you want to increase the apparent popularity of discrimination based on sexuality.

Which would be a good point if the activists doing the outing were actually doing that. Outing doesn't say that a person is bad because he or she is gay. It's pointing out that the conservative movement appears to have a problem "do as I say, not as I do." It's the same thing as outing Andrew Sullivan's advertisement for bareback sex after he built his career as an editorial writer on scolding gay men for sexual irresponsibility, or asking what the heck was Rush Limbaugh doing in Haiti with a suitcase full of illegal prescription opiates and viagra. Or questioning what strings were pulled to get George W. Bush cushy military service.

This sort of thing happens all the time in political discourse. No one blinks when someone points out that free-market Bobby Jindal was quick to cry to Obama for help during the oil spill, or that small government and responsible spending doesn't appear to apply to pork.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:49 AM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hypocrisy is often not a very big deal. Everyone is a hypocrite. And people have a right to have private lives.

When their hypocrisy starts affecting my private life, though, they damn well ought to be outed as a hypocrite.

I can't believe you support hypocrites being allowed to maintain and abuse their power through deception while destroying other's lives. It's a nearly sociopathic mindset.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:24 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


To clarify, "outed as a hypocrite" is not necessarily "outed as homosexual."

If it's a rat bastard like Melman helping keep gays from marrying, yes, out him as the gay man he is.

If it's Melman burying dolphin bodies for BP, out him as an oil industry operative.

IOW, the outing has to be relevant to the harmful actions they are taking.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:31 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


edbles: Also I'm with the Dan Savage theory of handling closeted bigots, as a community minimally we need to Not Fuck Them. Now not everyone is super politically informed so how we handle this is we put Anti-Wanted poster's up that just have a picture of the top 10 most vehemently outspoken anti-gay bigots that say DO NOT FUCK THIS PERSON put up in EVERY gay bar across America. If you legislate against the community you lose access to your sexlife.

Actually, this is usually how outing works. Mehlman was outed during the 2004 election through LGBT media. The notion that gay activists are saying that homosexuality is bad for revealing that a politician is gay to a gay media that's ignored by the MSM strikes me as silly.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:40 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


In order for a Do Not Fuck list to work you'd have to get sex workers on board, ala Firefly with the Black List and Licensed Companions.

Yes I just used a Firefly example as a way to solve an issue you wanna fight about it?
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 AM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


People get kicked out of their homes and are cut off from their families for revealing they're gay. They're a heckuva lot braver than Mehlman ever was.

Case in point: Small Town Boy. (via)
posted by ericb at 8:19 AM on August 26, 2010


Yes I just used a Firefly example as a way to solve an issue you wanna fight about it?

Depends, would you believe my transport ship has guns on it?
posted by stet at 8:33 AM on August 26, 2010


I just think it's weird how The Whelk always drags us into an Alliance bar during Pride.
posted by edbles at 8:38 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


When a person in power is actively engaged in oppressing gay people, I see nothing wrong with outing them.

People like Arthur J. Finkelstein, the prominent Republican consultant who has directed a series of hard-edged political campaigns to elect conservatives in the United States on an anti-gay platform. For example,he was the architect of Jesse Helms campaigns. He urged him to focus on "gays" as a "wedge issue."

An October 1996 Boston Magazine article on Mr. Finkelstein outed him as living with his gay partner on the North Shore of Boston, where they share custody of two adopted children.

In the article ("The Secret Life of Arthur J. Finkelstein") journalist Stephen Rodrick reported: "He has become a millionaire by working for politicians whose policies attack a very important and intimate part of his life. Specifically, four of Finkelstein's clients in the Senate - Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Bob Smith of New Hampshire, Don Nickles of Oklahoma and North Carolina's Lauch Faircloth - form the core opposition to nearly all gay issues before Congress."

In response to the article Finklestein issued a statement: "I keep my private life separate from my business life-something my friends and clients understand, appreciate and respect."

Such hypocrisy! He married his male partner at his estate north of Boston in 2005.

Previously - on MeFi.
posted by ericb at 8:45 AM on August 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


Rather than argue about the legitimacy of outing someone as a valid tactic, I'm going to suggest something different. Next time someone bangs hard on the anti-gay pulpit, every one should just accuse them of being a hypocrite.

Never explaining why; never saying it even has anything to do with sexuality, just keep calling him a hypocrite.

People fill the silence with their own insecurities, and if he's gay, it'll cause him a crisis of conscience and make him wonder if he's caught, if he's not gay, well, he probably did something else hypocritical at some point, and the name will still fit.

No, it's not a nice thing to do, and those who use a tactic like this are bad people.

I might be a bad person.
posted by quin at 8:46 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


First, an accurate statement of my belief. Calling someone gay in a context suggesting that you believe this to be a bad thing is an aspersion. That is not the same thing as the proposition that calling someone gay is always an aspersion. If you advise against voting for someone on the basis that they're insert group here, I must infer that you are insulting them and their group even though I don't believe that identifying membership in that group is inherently an insult!

And this is not an assumption, it's a logical conclusion based on the stated political ends of the strategy. If you call someone a gay bigot on the basis that this is a better insult than calling them a straight bigot (or just plain calling them a bigot), some people will conclude that you think being gay is itself worthy of insult, and thus all people should conclude that this is a bad idea unless you want to increase the apparent popularity of discrimination based on sexuality.


No, it's an assumption. When I call someone gay, it's not a pejorative. If you hear it that way, that's your problem.

And to be clear, we're not talking about insulting anyone. My position is this: You're being attacked by demogouging, anti-gay bigots who will say anything and do anything to get power and deprive you of your rights because they hate you. This is not a hypothetical. This is happening now. I think an effective comeback is "Hey, isn't it funny how so many anti-gay crusaders, such as Ken Mehlman and Ted Haggard, turn out to be gay? I don't think it's bad for them to be gay. In fact, I don't care who is gay and who isn't gay. But they're out there hurting other people because of their personal hangups, and that's wrong. These people deserve our pity. Or they would, if they weren't being such jerks."

You're saying we should not take that tack, because some people might be potentially offended. You're fighting with one arm tied behind your back. They have no such restrictions. Our unwillingness and inability to call a liar a liar, a jerk a jerk, and a closeted homophobe a closeted homophobe is hurting us, and has been hurting us for decades.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:53 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Case in point: Small Town Boy

I think it's interesting to contrast this 2009 documentary with the 1984 song from which it gets its title: Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy".
posted by hippybear at 9:09 AM on August 26, 2010


even for the liberal echo chamber that is Metafilter.

Everybody, stop what you're doing! This guy has a critique of us!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:24 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


In the excellent linked-above documentary Outrage, there is some speculation by people who worked with closeted anti-gay politicians that the rules don't apply to them. Railing against people like them doesn't register cause they don't consider themselves subject to the laws they're behind. That's for little people, they're much too rich and important and powerful to be hemmed in by laws, and since it will never effect them, what's the point?

And that is just about the most un- democratic thing I can think of.
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 AM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


cj_: "How did they co-opt the civil rights movement?"

By praising the movement they once opposed, to the point of claiming that it was so successful that there is no racism any more. They claim that their own movement is the modern equivalent of the civil rights movement. Glenn Beck is having his shindigg on the anniversary of King's "I Have A Dream" speech. Here:
Since Beck first announced the event, much critical attention has been paid to the date. This Saturday is the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” a landmark event in the history of the civil rights movement that is also enshrined in the national mythology as one of the finest expressions of American ideals. Beck claims that the scheduling is mere coincidence. But he has eagerly claimed King’s legacy, and the meaning of Aug. 28, as his own. On the May 24 edition of his radio program, he described himself and his conservative-activist legions as “the inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement”; liberals, he claimed, “are perverting it.” He said he “wouldn’t be surprised if in our lifetime dogs and fire hoses are released or opened on us. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of us get a billy club to the head. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us go to jail — just like Martin Luther King did — on trumped-up charges. Tough times are coming.” Two days later, he reiterated his intent to “reclaim the civil rights movement,” since “we were the people that did it in the first place.” More recently, he has described the alleged scheduling coincidence as “divine providence”—as God’s way of telling Beck he walks in King’s footsteps.

Do they have a legitimate claim to it? No, of course not. The idea is absurd and anti-historical. But that doesn't stop them from using it in their rhetoric. I wonder if ~10 years from now we'll see gay rights being used in the same way.

"In our fight against the [INSERT ENEMY HERE], we're just like the gay folks who fought for equal rights." It's kind of what they do best.
posted by brundlefly at 9:49 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everybody, stop what you're doing! This guy has a critique of us!

I, for one, wholly support retributionist barbequeism, vindictive or otherwise.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:38 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everybody, stop what you're doing! This guy has a critique of us!

He's trolling and we would do better not to listen or respond to his silliness.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 AM on August 26, 2010


I most certainly would not want that to happen to our country.

Let's get away from your hypothetical and back to reality. The Mehlmans, Craigs, Foleys, Finkelsteins of this nation have worked tirelessly to make laws and enact policies that codify intolerance and make life miserable for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transexuals and other sexual minorities.

Worse, these individuals lived above the law, their personal relationships being accepted and privileged over our own, because their office or professional status afforded them the equality and rights they denied the rest of us. That is not democracy, that's making a joke of democracy.

If the mainstream media actually reported on people who treat the legal system as a joke, as Mehlman and his cadre have done and continue to do — no hypothetical Obama test required — it would be one of the best possible things to happen to this country in the last fifty years of media consolidation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:56 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Get comfortable? With which part: the utter hypocrisy, the inability for your left hand to know what your right hand is doing, the making other people pay for that?? I've got news for this dude: heterosexuality isn't all that comfy either.
posted by lphoenix at 11:28 AM on August 26, 2010


"Coulter has been engaged several times, but never married." On second thought, please, NO!
posted by Carol Anne


Oh. . .

So our tent is not quite big enough?
posted by Danf at 11:29 AM on August 26, 2010


Has the point been lost on you that this is a man who is now fighting for gay marriage?

Not at all, although so far his "fight" seems to consist of holding a fundraiser for AFER. It's worth taking a closer look at the list of people on that invite; it consists mostly of people who are former Republican elected officials and active political operatives.

And that's key to a lot of so-called GOP "activism" on behalf of marriage equality; the people who are speaking out are, for the most part (with the exception of oddballs like Ron Paul) those who never had or no longer have direct decision making power. All of the current out members of Congress are Democrats; the only two Republican members who were out during their service were Steve Gunderson, a moderate from Wisconsin who was the only GOP member to vote against DOMA (he was outed by the loathesome Bob Dornan for his courage), and Jim Kolbe, who came out only after being threatened with outing following his vote for DOMA.

You'll no doubt see the likes of Kolbe (who's active with the Log Cabin Republicans, of course, and barely skated away from his own scandal involving former pages) and Michael Huffington (also on the list for the above soiree, as is, for some reason, Elizabeth Wurtzel) trying to convince LGBTs that the GOP is their friend, now that there's a shrinking percentage in demonizing them to activate the fundie/homophobe base. But risk actively alienating that same base, or even risk losing a seat or three, by having active politicians support marriage equality, or the repeal of DOMA, or even coming out? Don't hold your breath.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:32 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


IMO if you are a secret member of "Group X" while simultaneously targeting "Group X" with discriminatory legislation, then it is fair game to out you.

But if you are a secret member of "Group" X while simultaneously targeting "Group Y" with discriminatory legislation, your privacy should be respected?
posted by layceepee at 3:57 PM on August 26, 2010


But if you are a secret member of "Group" X while simultaneously targeting "Group Y" with discriminatory legislation, your privacy should be respected?

Going back to my lengthy response to your previous comment of exactly the same idea...

What would be gained by someone being outed as gay if they are against skateboarders?

The only reason that would have any bearing on the argument about skateboarders would be if you somehow believe that being gay is somehow shameful. It's not. So outing them about being gay if they're legislating against skateboarding does nothing at all. Outing someone as being Tony Hawk if they are legislating against skateboarding does a great deal.
posted by hippybear at 4:12 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


But if you are a secret member of "Group" X while simultaneously targeting "Group Y" with discriminatory legislation, your privacy should be respected?

Sure, why not? It's irrelevant. There's no hypocrisy there.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:48 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know it's the same point hippybear, but I just don't get the logic. You are "fair game" for being outed if you are a hypocrite. I don't need to respect your privacy; you lose your right to privacy because you are doing something wrong, being hypocritical.

But if you are a bigot, you aren't fair game for being outed. You deserve your privacy, even though you are doing something wrong, being a bigot.

Why is being hypocritical the solitary thing that justifies invading someone's privacy? You said it pretty clearly: Hypocrisy, I think, is far game in these matters. Believing that revealing someone's homosexuality can be used to clean house... that's another matter entirely. Why is hypocrisy fair game but cleaning house of other bad things another matter entirely?
posted by layceepee at 5:16 PM on August 26, 2010


Because the implication of "cleaning house" as I mentioned in my comment earlier is that somehow the fact that someone is homosexual is something they should be ashamed of, and that the mere revelation of that fact will somehow ruin their political career. In fact, being gay, as a factoid about someone's life, is basically irrelevant.

It only becomes relevant when the person who is homosexual is actively pursuing an anti-gay legislative agenda from a position of power.

If that's not what you're actually saying there, then please clarify. Right now, it seems as though you think that outing someone as a homosexual for any reason is a way to manipulate them. Which is, as I stated before, a mindset straight from the 1950s, when closeted queers were often blackmailed by the fact of their orientation.
posted by hippybear at 5:57 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Calling someone gay in a context suggesting that you believe this to be a bad thing is an aspersion

I don't believe that calling someone gay is a bad thing. *You're* the one whose argument assumes that stating, "Hey! I saw that antigay politician with a dick in his mouth in a gay bar last night" somehow incorporates stating that being gay is bad.

Nowhere in the act of outing is there *anything* to suggest the person doing the outing believes that being gay is bad. Why you insist there is indeed something bad about pointing out that someone is gay is an interesting question you should probably spend a little time with.
posted by mediareport at 5:59 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you're not trying to hypocritically trying to get your bigotry made law, well, so what? I mean, I'm in favor of fighting bigotry, but battles must be picked. If some lawmaker is trying to get anti-skateboarder legislation passed even as he has an awesome secret halfpipe in his backyard, yeah, I'm going to tell people about his halfpipe.

If, on the other hand, he opposes the liquor license application of a restaurant on Main Street, then what relevance does his secret love for skateboarding have? None.

I'm really failing to see where the disconnect is for you.

If you, a legislator, are railing against divorce and introducing bills to outlaw it, should it be kept secret that you are divorcing your spouse?
posted by rtha at 6:02 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Basically, layceepee, what's being said is that the only *point* to outing someone is to expose their hypocrisy.

If you're a bigot but not a hypocrite, people can point out you're a bigot, but why would you "out" them for something? E.g.:

"Senator Feebly is a bigot for proposing legislation that says hairdressers should be lit on fire! Also, he plays water polo."

If you're a bigot AND a hypocrite, people can still point out that you're a bigot, but then it makes sense to expose you as a hypocrite as well, e.g.:

"Senator Feebly is not only proposing bigoted legislation that says hairdressers should be lit on fire, but he is secretly a hairdresser himself! Does he want the law to apply to everyone but him? Or is this simply a naked play for power by someone who appeals to the basest instincts in others while lacking any real convictions?"
posted by kyrademon at 6:05 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


In fact, being gay, as a factoid about someone's life, is basically irrelevant.

It only becomes relevant when the person who is homosexual is actively pursuing an anti-gay legislative agenda from a position of power.


What about a closeted homosexual who is actively pursuing a conservative agenda but just abstains publicly from issues involving homosexuality? Losing voters from his homophobic base would likely damage him about as much as a similar closeted homosexual whose conservative agenda included overt actions against equal rights for gays. I believe a significant motive for outing closeted anti-gay politicians is hurt them at the polls, and a closeted politician who avoided overt anti-gay action might be similarly hurt.

Right now, it seems as though you think that outing someone as a homosexual for any reason is a way to manipulate them. Which is, as I stated before, a mindset straight from the 1950s, when closeted queers were often blackmailed by the fact of their orientation.

I think that outing someone as a homosexual for any reason might be a way to manipulate them. It is true we are far less vulnerable to blackmail for being queer than gays in the 50s, but some closeted gay people would suffer social, political, or financial damage from being outed. Some closeted gay men have wives and children who they genuinely care for, and they could be manipulated through fear that exposure could those relationships.

I agree that the revelation of one's sexuality ought not to be blackmail fodder, and I'm glad that it's far more difficult to damage people by exposing their homosexuality. (And we have millions of people who came out of the closet to thank for that.) But it still seems to me that in a significant number of cases, a threat to out someone could be successfully used to manipulate them.

I'm certainly not arguing in favor of outing a politician as gay because he's a fan of the death penalty. I'm conflicted about outing in any circumstances, and lean toward the position that respects even the privacy of hypocrites. I'm saying that I can't figure out how you can justify outing in cases of hypocrisy while finding it unjustified in the broader application.
posted by layceepee at 6:46 PM on August 26, 2010


What about a closeted homosexual who is actively pursuing a conservative agenda but just abstains publicly from issues involving homosexuality?

That's a different issue entirely, so you're definitely moving the goalposts. That said, I don't think anyone would argue for outing a socially-liberal, fiscal-conservative politician simply to hurt them at the polls. It might happen, but it'd be dirty politics comparable to the Clinton years.
posted by mek at 7:19 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe a significant motive for outing closeted anti-gay politicians is hurt them at the polls, and a closeted politician who avoided overt anti-gay action might be similarly hurt.

Mehlman didn't run for an elected office. Furthermore, outing him in 2004 didn't do much of anything, because it was a story that was ignored by the MSM. He's not being outed now, he's outing himself to a MSM that's acting surprised and a gay media that's known for several years.

I'm conflicted about outing in any circumstances, and lean toward the position that respects even the privacy of hypocrites. I'm saying that I can't figure out how you can justify outing in cases of hypocrisy while finding it unjustified in the broader application.

Let me put it in simple language.

If your closet is built on a foundation of causing real harm to other people, they have no reason to respect your privacy.

And as the architect of the most virulently anti-gay election season in United States history, Mehlman did cause real harm to LGBT people.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:42 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm saying that I can't figure out how you can justify outing in cases of hypocrisy while finding it unjustified in the broader application.

Well, if you don't understand the evil of public hypocrisy and the need for transparency in thwarting it, then there really is no common ground for conversation with you on this matter.
posted by hippybear at 11:20 PM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


Fox News Ignores Ken Mehlman’s Coming Out, Runs Zero Segments On Story.
posted by ericb at 5:57 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dan Savage and Olbermann on Ken Mehlman, GOP Hate.

Dan Savage:
"It is tragic and it is a particularly gay tragedy because we have the option of coming out or not coming out, living with integrity, or not living with integrity, selling our souls as Ken Mehlman did, or not selling our souls. And it's Ken Mehlman's personal tragedy but it's also the damage he inflicted, the role he played, it's inexcusable. He has a lot of amends to make. More than one fundraiser. Hopefully he is confronting not just his own conscience but people in his own political party, his so-called political allies about their homophobia, about the Republican party's homophobia."
posted by ericb at 6:02 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Mike Rogers and Stephanie Miller on Mehlman Coming Out.
posted by ericb at 6:05 AM on August 27, 2010


I'm shocked, shocked to discover the Giant Republican Douchebag is, in addition, a Huge Fucking Hypocrite.

Your huge fucking paychecks, Monsieur.

The cynicism and sellout of the Right cannot be overestimated.
posted by theora55 at 6:22 AM on August 27, 2010


...a similar closeted homosexual whose conservative agenda included overt actions against equal rights for gays.

Brings to mind Republican California State Senator Roy Ashburn who revealed he was gay this past March after he was cited for driving drunk while leaving a gay bar.
"The hypocrisy is true. I lived a double life. I had tremendous passion and drive to be in public life, to be elected, and I've had a remarkable political career...No one has really spoken to me about my votes and I've decided that I'm going to vote the truth. I am no longer going to vote against rights for people because they happen to be gay or bi or transgendered. I'm not going to do that."*

____________________

''My practice in my entire political career when it came to gay issues was to prevent any kind of spotlight from being shined my way, because I was in hiding. So casting any kind of vote might, could in some way, lead to my secret being revealed.... That was terrifying to me. It was paralyzing. So I cast some votes that have denied gay people of their basic, equal treatment under the law, and I'm not proud of it. I'm not going to do that again.''*

____________________

"I should begin with an apology. I am sincerely sorry for the votes I cast and the actions I took that harmed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Just as important to me, I am sorry for not stepping forward and speaking up as an elected official on behalf of equal treatment for all people. For nearly 26 years, the voters in my area of California trusted me as their elected representative. I look back now knowing there is so much more I could have done to inform the public about LGBT people and to fight for equal rights under the law. Regrettably and selfishly, I took another path in my life and political career—I chose to conceal who I truly am and to then actually vote against the best interests of people like me. All this was done because I was afraid–terrified, really–that somehow I would be revealed as gay.

My past actions harmed gay people. In fact, all people are harmed when there is unequal treatment of anyone under the constitution and laws of our country. I do not believe in discrimination, and yet my votes advanced unequal of treatment of gay people and promoted the suspicion and fear that limits people from being forthright and accepted in society.

Now, from what I have lived and learned, I want to do the best that I can to advance equality and freedom for all people. Given the shame and confusion that many feel over their sexual orientation, perhaps my situation can serve as an example of both the harm that can come from denial and fear, and the opportunity to try to make things right." *
posted by ericb at 6:28 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm conflicted about outing in any circumstances, and lean toward the position that respects even the privacy of hypocrites. I'm saying that I can't figure out how you can justify outing in cases of hypocrisy while finding it unjustified in the broader application.

You're really hung up on this slippery slope thing. Yes, conceivably someone somewhere out there could out a pro gay fiscal conservative Republican just to hurt or weaken their position. That would be dirty politics. No one is advocating that in this thread. Just because there are some cases where outing someone is immoral doesn't mean that all outings are immoral. Just because there's a case where outing would be moral doesn't mean that all outings are moral. There are gray areas.

Context matters. KirkJobSluder has been amazingly clear on this point.
posted by edbles at 7:09 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I also think the closet stops being a right and becomes something of a privilege the more you depend on the goodwill of others to maintain the illusion of your heterosexuality.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:47 AM on August 27, 2010


Signorile vs. Log Cabin Republican on Mehlman Coming Out

Signorile:
"Everybody has a journey but no matter where you are, there is right and wrong. The Republican Party at the time was pushing a virulently anti-gay campaign demonizing gay people in the states. He was the Republican National Committee chairman. He okayed all of the ads, ads that really turned gay people into monsters in many communities, and you know, a lot of people knew he was gay back then. It has been talked about and blogged about. I don't know how far along he was on his journey, but I think he was far enough that he knew right from wrong."
posted by ericb at 8:42 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


his so-called political allies about their homophobia, about the Republican party's homophobia.

Is this the part where the GOP then turns around and points to GLAAD and cries out, "No! It is you who are homophobic!" and then a mysteriously edited tape of one of their own folks shows up showing one of their members to be homosupremacist and gets them fired?

Because thus far, when it comes to Reason vs. Cracksmoking Hate Crazy, the latter seems to be in fine form the last decade or so...
posted by yeloson at 8:49 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


homosupremacist

Gay Supremacy Now! Manifesto (google cache because the original page breaks browsers). My torso wearing the shirt I wear every Pride weekend (ordered through gnarlene's website eons ago).

Relax people, it's a joke.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2010


Hrm. okay. warning about that Manifesto link. It made my Safari very unhappy, even in the google cache version. Sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused.
posted by hippybear at 10:20 AM on August 27, 2010


After looking at the history of all of the conservative Republicans that were actually gay all along, it's got me to thinking that there really is a "Gay Agenda" in politics. But it's nothing like the Prop 8 folks advertised, and is in fact quite the opposite.

I'm pretty sure there are enough of these out-of-the-closet-and-shamed Republican leaders to get together and start a new, and fairly legitimate, leadership faction of the Republican party.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:37 AM on August 27, 2010


Apparently, he's claiming to be a virgin. How does a lack of overt acts play into your hypocrisy wars?
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:34 AM on August 27, 2010


Oh come on, who does he think he's fooling.
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on August 27, 2010


Stories of "I had sex with Ken Mehlman" appearing in 5... 4... 3....
posted by hippybear at 11:44 AM on August 27, 2010


Can he just get it over with and fuck off to Christian brainwashing camp so he can pretend to be straight again?
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on August 27, 2010


Jon Stewart: Gay Old Party -- "Ken Mehlman shouldn't have been expected to fight for gay rights when he didn't know he was part of the group."
posted by ericb at 11:54 AM on August 27, 2010


There is something wrong when it takes 43 years to get comfortable with who you are. -- Freepers and I agree on this. On what those words mean, we probably don't agree.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:44 PM on August 27, 2010


Apparently, he's claiming to be a virgin. How does a lack of overt acts play into your hypocrisy wars?

I find that highly unlikely to be true. It's really hard to out someone without having behavior to point at. And he was outed, which is what started the hypocrisy discussion in the first place. Maybe, like Bill Clinton and many teens today, only penetration counts as sex for him.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:22 PM on August 27, 2010


To die a virgin
posted by The Whelk at 2:04 PM on August 27, 2010


New York Times: Gay Bush Aide? No Bombshell in Age of Fiscal Cares.
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on August 27, 2010


Apparently, he's claiming to be a virgin.

Technically, it's not Republican sex if he didn't pay for it. That's what the expense account is for.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:12 PM on August 27, 2010


Riiiiight. Ken Mehlman never had any kind of gay sex during the years he was chairman of one of the most powerful political organizations in the country, with tons of money at his disposal.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
posted by mediareport at 5:51 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


And another 'coming out': Conservative British PM Crispin Blunt Comes Out, Leaves Wife.
posted by ericb at 10:03 AM on August 28, 2010


Riiiiight. Ken Mehlman never had any kind of gay sex during the years he was chairman of one of the most powerful political organizations in the country, with tons of money at his disposal. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

I find that [his claim to being a [gay] virgin] highly unlikely to be true.

[In response to "Apparently, he's claiming to be a [gay] virgin."] Oh come on, who does he think he's fooling.

Some of the comments in this thread, in the absence of a single report of Mehlman having had sex with another man, walk dangerously close to reckless disregard for the truth; and the subject matter asymptotically approaches being defamatory per se. Your behavior might not actually constitute defamation, but it is certainly deserving of contempt. How DARE you impute sexual promiscuity to a person you know nothing about? Did you do the same to girls you knew in high school? For shame.
posted by thesmophoron at 1:20 PM on August 28, 2010


You probably get upset when people claim Hitler had only one ball, too.

Of all the things I'm going to care about, hateful assholes who cause immeasurable harm being accused of lying is not one of them.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:41 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would be good if sufficient facts eventually come out to use the line "He's not even a backdoor virgin" though.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on August 28, 2010


How DARE you impute sexual promiscuity to a person you know nothing about?

Wow. I didn't realize it was possible for the Victorian era to comment in MeFi threads dated 2010. When was that feature enabled?
posted by hippybear at 2:03 PM on August 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"The White House may continue to wear blinders on same-sex marriage, but the world is transforming around them as conservatives take up the mantle of equality."
posted by ericb at 2:11 PM on August 28, 2010


How DARE you impute sexual promiscuity to a person you know nothing about?

Wow, that's hilarious. How DARE you. I never said he was promiscuous, pal. I just said I think there's no way on earth he never found a way to have gay sex while he was in such an astonishingly powerful position of influence and wealth.
posted by mediareport at 3:32 PM on August 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and we know *plenty* about Ken Mehlman, thanks. He's revealed himself quite nicely over the years.
posted by mediareport at 3:35 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm adorable, but I'm not available.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on August 28, 2010


[comment removed - folks, at the point at which you're just hollering at people you need to take a walk or go to MetaTalk, quit poisoning MetaFilter.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Roy Ashburn on Ken Mehlman:
"I'm pleased for him, because knowing what I've been through in trying to keep a secret for so many years and in trying to hide my secret, doing things that were hurtful to gay people, coming to the realization that you can actually admit who you truly are, and to stop the hiding and the actions around that which are hurtful … I mean that's a big breakthrough and I'm happy for him."

Ashburn, who is nearing the end of his state senate seat, says he won't abandon his party and actually thinks that they could actually be the political party for gay rights.

“I would argue that the Republican party, because of the principles underlying Republicanism, really is the party that should be championing equal rights for gay people, for all people. For me this is very clear.”
posted by ericb at 10:21 AM on August 29, 2010


Who's next?

We're looking at you Charlie Crist!


Charlie Crist Flip Flops On Constitutional Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage.
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on August 30, 2010


Steve Schmidt, Former McCain Campaign Chief, On Mehlman Fundraiser: Same-Sex Marriage Becoming Conservative Cause.
posted by ericb at 12:49 PM on August 31, 2010


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