Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ken Mehlman Outs How Republicans Used Hatred of Gays to Get Bush Reelected

     Ken Mehlman, former manager of the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign and former chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2006, has come out of the closet.  This is no big news.

     What's so tragic about Mehlman's news is that while he was in a position of Republican power, he lead the successful charge for anti-gay marriage rights amendments in eleven states.  He now admits that he and the Bush/Cheney campaign stoked homophobia and inspired hatred for gays as a strategy to bring out the conservative vote and get Bush reelected.  

     It's no wonder that Republicans are gathering in Washington DC today to reclaim the civil rights movement from minorities, protesting Muslim American's right to worship in Manhattan, and trying to remove Iowa's supreme court justices.  The midterm elections are months away.  Hate sells and it gets Republicans elected.  Dog bless America.

     The Advocate recently interviewed Mehlman about his role in anti-gay rights politics under Bush.  Here's a snippet:
     There’s a lot of gays and lesbians and other people who are still angry about the 2004 election and the fact that that those 11 amendments were on the ballot. Is there anything that you would like to say about that in particular?
     Look, I have a lot of friends who ask questions and who are angry about it. I understand that folks are angry, I don’t know that you can change the past. As I’ve said, one thing I regret a lot is the fact that I wasn’t in the position I am today where I was comfortable with this part of my life, where I was able to be an advocate against that [strategy] and able to be someone who argued against it. I can’t change that – it is something I wish I could and I can only try to be helpful in the future.
     Mehlman is an example of what is so tragic about the movement for LGBT civil rights: the shame and self-loathing of closeted gays, especially those in politics and religion, is often used as a motivation to attack honest LGBT persons, their families, and their civil rights.  I agree with Dan Savage (see the embedded video below).  Mehlman needs to do more than one gay-friendly fundraiser to make up for the damage of his past homophobia.  His hateful legacy lives on in eleven states and Bush's reelection.

     Here's Keith Olbermann's report on Mehlman's admission that Christian Republican's strategy in election time is to inspire hatred towards certain groups in order to bring out the conservative vote, including the winning of Ohio, and thus the presidency,  in 2004.

Glenn Beck's Tea Party Gathers for 8/28 in Hopes of Taking Back the Civil Rights Movement for Straight, White People of Hate and Tony La Russa

Anti-Gay Iowans Seek to Remove Iowa Supreme Court Justices in November Election

     Here's the latest in my home state, Iowa, where a conservative, anti-gay rights group called Iowa for Freedom is leading a political campaign to remove three of the Iowa Supreme Court judges who were part of the unanimous decision declaring Iowa's withholding of equal civil marriage rights to same sex couples.  

     Conservative activists are trying to oust three judges on the state Supreme Court whose unanimous ruling last year legalized same-sex unions. Their decision stunned opponents nationwide and delighted advocates who were eager for a victory in the heartland.  Now, conservatives are staging an unusual campaign that aims to defeat the judges in November.
     "We need to vote them off the bench to send a message across Iowa that we, the people, still have the power," said Bob Vander Plaats, a Republican politician who is spearheading the campaign. "Not only will it send a message here in Iowa, but it will send a message in California, in Arizona and across the country that the courts have really taken on too much power."
     The Iowa campaign is a new front in the fight over same-sex marriage...The effort in Iowa worries not only gay rights advocates but some legal experts who say it is wrong to punish judges for an unpopular decision. For critics of judicial elections, Iowa is offering a compelling example of the peril of subjecting judges to voters' whims...
     The controversy has drawn the attention of the Iowa Bar Association and legal experts around the country, including former U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is slated to address the matter at an event here next month. O'Connor for years has spoken out against the judicial elections, arguing that they create "politicians in robes."
     Three of the court's seven judges are on the ballot this year: Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Justice Michael Streit and Justice David Baker. They have not spoken out on behalf of themselves.
     Former Supreme Court justice Mark McCormick has been an ardent defender.  "I've used the word 'vengeance' before in describing what this campaign is about," said McCormick, now a lawyer in private practice. "I think it is a challenge to judicial independence. There's an effort being made to succeed in turning out of office these three good judges for an inappropriate reason."
     It's called separation of powers and the system of check and balances.