My hope (and prayer) right now for Ken Mehlman is that he can count on his friends and family for the next few days until the hullabaloo about his coming out has passed. It’s never easy to have your private life become public information.
To be sure, as a public face for the Bush Administration and the GOP, he’s used by now to the bile of the left, so he should be prepared to face their taunts and attacks. But, I wonder if he’s thinking, “If I could just show them I’m not the demon they believe me to be, maybe then, by golly, they’ll like me, they’ll really like me.”
No, Ken, no, they won’t. We’ve all thought that. Or at least most of us on the gay right have. We’ve all wondered what we could do to end the animosity coming at us from certain segments of the left. To be sure, some (many, perhaps) gay liberals will surprise you and will treat you with decency and dignity despite disagreeing with you on matters political.
All that said, unless you do a full David Brock, you won’t end the bile coming from the gay left. And to do the full Brock, you not only have to toe the line on gay issues, but also publicly, prolifically and regularly repudiate the right.
Remember, most straight conservatives won’t treat you any differently once you’ve come out as gay. We don’t expect ideological rigidity from our allies nor demand social conformity from our friends.
Meanwhile, many gays on the left of the political spectrum are showing no sympathy for Mehlman’s journey and tossing out terms that one reserves for one’s bitterest enemies — and tosses out when throwing a temper tantrum. They’re not interested in Ken as a person; they just need someone on whom to project their own animosities.
Meanwhile, take a look at just two reactions on the right:
I’m digressing a bit here, but the overall point is that, in response to Mehlman’s announcement that he’s gay, you’re going to see the “tolerant” left treat him like red meat, which the MSM will dutifully ignore, while the “intolerant” right’s response will be a lot more measured … which the MSM will also dutifully ignore via confining their “the GOP reax” segments to the Pat Robertsons of America who haven’t “spoken” for conservatives in decades.
But my sense is that it’ll be a lot less of a big deal to conservatives than it might be to liberals like (just to choose one name at random) Frank Rich, for whom the political is also the personal. While it’s something that runs counter to the stereotype, most of the conservatives I know are largely to completely indifferent to a person’s sexual orientation.