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Ken Mehlman: “I Apologize To Them And Tell Them I’m Sorry”

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2012

In a conversation with Salon’s Thomas Schaller, former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman apologized for the first time for the harm that was done to gays while campaign manager for President Bush in 2004. That was the race in marriage amendment propositions were placed on ballots in key states drive social conservatives to the polls. That campaign also saw aggressively anti-gay flyers being mailed out in West Virginia and other states which said that electing Sen. John Kerry president would result in gay marriages and a ban on the Bible.

In reflecting on his role in the Republican party’s use of anti-gay themes in 2004, Mehlman told Schaller:

“At a personal level, I wish I had spoken out against the effort,” he says. “As I’ve been involved in the fight for marriage equality, one of the things I’ve learned is how many people were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved. I apologize to them and tell them I am sorry. While there have been recent victories, this could still be a long struggle in which there will be setbacks, and I’ll do my part to be helpful.”

When Mehlman came out in 2010, he acknowledged that if he had not been closeted while working in the 2004 and 2006 campaigns, he might have fought to keep the party from deploying an anti-gay agenda during those campaigns. Since then, he has worked actively in lobbying for marriage equality in New York and elsewhere, and he lobbied Republican U.S. Senators in the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”



March 2nd, 2012 | LINK


Ben in Oakland
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

And Yet, he just did or will do a fundraiser forthe Orange Man, who has committed 1.5 million and counting to defend the otherwise indefensible.

Quisling is not a bad word.

March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Ok, Ken, how about you meet with some widowers whose finances have been destroyed because their would-have-been spouses were denied the opportunity to sign onto the other would-have-been spouse’s health care? Or a widower who lost his home because he couldn’t afford to pay tax on it after his would-have-been spouse died?

Maybe you can cram that multi million dollar chelsea condo of yours up your ass instead?

This is a first step in mehlman’s atonement but I for one am *nowhere* ready to forgive his sickening profiteering at the expense of his fellow Americans.

March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Yeah – Mehlman is in a difficult position that is largely of his own making. I have real problems with his active fund-raising for Boehner. On the other hand, I have to think his social conservative/christianist former allies refer to him as a quisling, a judas and all their other terms of endearment.

Lindoro Almaviva
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

baby steps, Melboy, baby steps.

March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Maybe after sackcloth and ashes and a vow of poverty–or at least to use his ill-gotten gains to help those he hurt…

But it is a step…

March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

If your epiphany has occurred and your behavior stays unchanged (Boehner? Really?), then nothing you say is ever the truth.

March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

I believe in repentance and conversion, and change in people’s lives. I want to see Mr. Mehlman get on FOX News, though, and lay into what Christianists have done to destroy gays in this country. Then, get back to me.

Jay Jonson
March 3rd, 2012 | LINK

How can he reconcile his supposed remorse for his anti-gay actions in 2004, while he contributes money to anti-gay candidates in 2012.

March 3rd, 2012 | LINK

It is always the sideliners, like Melman, Cindy McCain, Laura Bush and Daughter, who are making “supportive” statements about LGBT’s, not actual GOP Legislators, as elections come around.

I am not fooled into voting for them though.

March 4th, 2012 | LINK

He’ll be forgiven when I see that he gives equal time and energy to repairing the damage he’s done. I like the idea that he should give up some significant amount of money to the widows and widowers whose finances have been ruined, or the bi-national couples whose lives have been disrupted.

I want to see a meaningful apology. Not a self-serving epiphany.

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