the A few weeks ago, I saw a newspaper photo of Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman that almost implicitly branded them as gay lovers: they were in such close proximity to themselves one could have been butt fucking the other one; they were arms 'round shoulders each, and they were sharing some sort of private moment that left no doubt their secret was a private glee over something or other. Knowing Rove had marital problems, I entertained for a moment the thought that perhaps they were both gay. And then I recalled Mehlman's role in the spread of DOMA legislation and Rove's notorious campaign dirty tricks while engineering George W. Bush's rise to power first as governor of Texas, then as a presidential candidate.
In Texas, Rove would "leak" information about rival candidates to the effect that they'd had secret gay relationships and were hiding their homosexuality from the press and public. This is just about the most cynical, deceitful, cruel, and bigoted act we might imagine. So what in the world were Karl and Mehlman acting like butt buddies? Actually, Mehlman has long been rumored to be a closet queen, but anyone at that level of the Republican Party either stays in the closet or, like David Brock, is quickly made to feel a persona non grata in a party whose base includes the radical religious right: people like the Rev. James Dodson and Tony (the PAC man, not the actor) Perkins: people who so despise gays they seem at times on the verge of advocating their stoning (a la Leviticus) at worst and voluntary reorientation therapy (a la the "Exodus" program) at best.
It did not particularly surprise me when Mehlman came out gay in the last couple of days: he'd been baited constantly by bloggers, and as he himself said, it took him the better part of forty years just to admit to himself that he was himself. What surprises me is that he already has his apologists, people who claim he acted bravely in going public with details of his essential nature. Considering what happened to Brock, author of the coming out GOP gay tell all book, "Blinded by the Right," Mehlman had a tough decision. He now must learn that the party he represented so faithfully throughout the Bush years -- and even now as Rove's partner in a behind the scenes GOP fundraising group -- has as little use for the sexual minorities as it does for President Obama.
Others, like gay blogger Mike Rogers, feel as I do, that Mehlman's going public, while laudable, is too little, too late. That is because Mehlman simply cannot apologize for the pain he has caused untold numbers of people, especially (and this makes me weep) adolescent and teenaged Americans who get called queer, faggot, cocksucker and worse at school, and who've been shown four times more likely to become teenage suicides, so difficult it is to navigate what is already a dangerous time in the life of any man or woman. Mehlman can apologize for being the vocal bigot he was (though he's shown no willingness to do so), but there are some things you cannot apologize for. Not that he is the only GOP activist who is gay: Matt Drudge was outed by Brock, who said the man actually made passes at him, and so is Andrew Breitbart, the Acorn-blaster and Shirley Sherrod video editor.
Still, the whole point of gay-bashing by party spokespersons was to curry the favor of the hysterical evangelical movement. Why are these particular people so anti-gay? I am reminded of the Sunday school song we had to learn and sing, "The Bible Tells Me So," which has that ridiculous line -- so blatantly circular in its logic -- that goes, "Yes, Jesus loves me/The Bible tells me so." Bible fundamentalists as all of us justify all of their conservative social positions on scripture. They point to Leviticus's condemnation of those who lie with their own kind as "abominations unto the Lord." In fact, the Booble, as much as patriotism, turns out to be the last refuge of the scoundrel. In fact, it is also the first. While I am glad Mr. Mehlman finally got around to telling us the truth about himself, he needn't apologize. It won't do him any good at this point. If he had done it when it really mattered, he would have gotten the boot. Now, it is simply meaningless. What a coward!