Ken Mehlman is gay? Most right-leaning political junkies probably responded by asking, ‘Who is Ken Mehlman?’ or ‘Yeah, but who cares?’
Conservative bloggers either ignored the topic or pointed out that conservatives aren’t necessarily surprised or outraged by the news.
“I had absolutely no idea Ken Mehlman was gay, or existed,” wrote the Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher in response to the New York Times piece that marveled at the “muted reaction” of Republicans to the announcement.
The former RNC chairman and President Bush’s 2004 campaign manager announced that he was gay to the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, and also announced his intentions to support the case for same-sex marriage.
As Washington media columnist Howard Kurtz noted, Mehlman’s sexuality was an “open secret” in Washington and the news failed to surprise many of the people who knew him.
Powerline’s John Hinderaker noted that it shouldn’t surprise the New York Times that conservatives were uninterested with the personal lifestyle of the former RNC chairman.
We didn’t care about Mehlman’s personal life then, and we don’t care now. I believe our attitude is characteristic of the vast majority of conservatives. We wish Mehlman well. But whether Ken Mehlman is or is not gay has no bearing on the public policy question of whether gay marriage is a good idea or a bad idea. . . What we see here is a reflection of an obsession of the left, not the right.
Hot Air’s Allahpundit was a bit more cynical, suggesting that Mehlman’s timing was strange, considering that rumors swirling his sexuality had gone on for years. “He’s doing this now, it seems, because he wants to drum up publicity for the cause of gay marriage and figures that ‘Republican whom everyone thought was gay actually is gay’ headlines will do the trick.” he wrote, and added, “I couldn’t care less either way. . .”
Since the announcement, The Upshot’s Michael Calderone notes that Mehlman is on a ‘mini media tour’ making stops at New York Times, Politico, and ABC News. Mehlman is also co-hosting a political fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights in New York next month.
Perhaps the strongest voice of support for Mehlman came from Rich Lowry, Editor of the National Review, who weighed in on the issue while away on vacation.
He’s a good friend of mine going back about 15 years. His conservative credentials are impeccable and he was an exemplary chairman of the RNC. I wish him all the best and know he will make his case to conservatives on gay marriage without rancor or name-calling.