NOM’s Brian Brown: ‘Mehlman abdicating core Republican beliefs’ – and more on the self-outing

I guess it’s all a matter of how you define “core,” Brian. He’s desperately trying to spin former RNC head and Bush campaign honcho Ken Mehlman’s coming out as both insignificant and minimizing the history of the GOP in fomenting anti-gay efforts in past political cycles. (The Advocate):

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, told The Advocate that Mehlman was “abdicating core Republican beliefs” in his support for AFER’s legal effort in challenging Prop. 8. “But it’s never been about the leaders. It’s always been about the people, based on an overwhelming majority of Republican voters — 85, 86 percent — who support marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” he said. “That a few folks within the Republican Party are questioning a party platform and have personal positions on same-sex marriage is a reality of political parties. [Mehlman] is no longer a major party leader, so I don’t know how influential he is, to be honest with you.”

Marriage equality advocates, Brown said, are using high-profile conservatives now supporting marriage equality — from Ted Olson to vice president Dick Cheney — in order to “create an impression that there is an inevitability to same-sex marriage. The facts strongly go against that idea.”

Brown asserted that the RNC played a limited role in rallying the anti-gay marriage vote during the 2004 presidential elections, when Mehlman served as Bush-Cheney campaign manager. Eleven states passed constitutional amendments banning marriage rights for same-sex couples that year, including Ohio, which gave Bush a margin of victory over Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

“These [amendments] were pushed by people on the state level,” Brown said. “The whole notion that it was some top-down, Machiavellian ploy by the Republican Party is a farce.”

Come on, Brian, you need Maggie to help you out with a better line of spin. As Mike Signorile pointed out to WorldNetDaily’s unraveling Joseph Farah on the air, those polls on marriage equality are basically 50/50 and moving in the wrong direction from the fundie POV, so using that as the fig leaf for continuing the “save marriage” movement isn’t going to last much longer.

And as Jesus’ General Tweeted to me this evening:

@msignorile, @Pam_Spaulding, I have a feeling NOM’s Brian Brown will be “abdicating core Republican beliefs” at some point.

BTW, whatever you think about Mehlman’s pain-inducing past, the fundraiser for AFER is drawing big buck in for equality in the present:

Indeed, Mehlman’s first act as an out gay man will be hosting an AFER fundraiser next month to help support the case, which likely carries a price tag in the millions of dollars (the group has declined to disclose exactly how much).

Although the invitations have yet to be mailed, Mehlman told The Advocate Wednesday evening that just through pre-selling the event, they had already helped to raise about 0,000.

***

Some additional thoughts on Mehlman’s little coming out party…

* What does this mean for those of you out there who are still gagging about Mehlman officially “now on the team?” We are now moving into unchartered political territory, where strange political bedfellows have to decide what is in each other’s best interest.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m a fan of GOProud’s positioning it needs to receive credit for making aggressive moves to point out the hypocrisy of the religious right and to take out the fakers and players like Joe Farah, who cannot stand up to real scrutiny. The fact is that LCR was working “on the inside” and never had a strong impact says more about the org than the GOP. Jimmy LaSalvia and GOProud put the org out there early and often to challenge the right wing bible beaters, and it brought on board prominent conservatives to take the lead to show you can be pro-equality and Republican.

Seeing how little the LCR accomplished when it was the only game in town and GOProud pushing in the door to break the logjam so quickly is good news for us all, despite the differences we may have on non-LGBT policy. To acknowledge that is to simply state the obvious – our rights shouldn’t be a partisan endeavor; we’ve only had to see it that way because only one party was even making an attempt to move in the right direction. We need both parties doing so

* Does this change how you view AFER? Its success is due precisely because it addressed Prop 8 as a non-partisan issue with a conservative case for marriage to be opened to gay and lesbian couples. It’s only natural that marriage equality supporters of all political stripes should be welcome to support its work.

* Accountability: Just holding a coming out PR event and raising cash for AFER does not let Mehlman off of the hook. As I mentioned in an earlier post, he has, in 2009/2010, not changed his donation pattern, still giving generously to anti-gay Republicans, ostensibly because he’s “not a single issue voter.”

There’s ,400 to Missouri Republican Roy Blunt, who has voted to add a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning gay marriage, as well as to ban gay adoption.

There’s ,400 to Sen. John McCain, who wants to keep gay servicemembers out of the military.

There’s ,000 to Ben Quayle, who is running for Congress in Arizona and who just labeled Barack Obama the worst President in history, and who just sent out a mailer to voters touting his opposition to marriage equality.

There’s ,400 to Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, who voted to keep “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in place (and who himself is subject to lots of rumors about his sexual orientation).

There’s ,400 to Utah Republican Sen. Robert Bennett, who tried to stop marriage equality from becoming a reality in Washington, D.C.

And the list goes on and on and includes Republicans like Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte, Bob Corker, Richard Shelby, and Johnny Isakson, all of whom have taken positions completely contrary to full equality for LGBT Americans.

WTF? That’s got to stop pronto, Ken. As we’ve learned with the Dems, the only thing they respond to is withholding the dough. But perhaps this will be a slow lesson for him to learn. Use your power to support and cajole  candidates who are not personally anti-equality but are not yet willing to step out from behind their curtain of anti-gay positions. That’s how you can be effective. Will you take that role?

* Where do you think Ken stands on ENDA? Will he be speaking out on other issues?

* How will groups like HRC, which has been tied to the Democrat booty call for years, adapt to a diversifying political landscape? What about the DNC? I’m no clairvoyant, but at some point in the not-so-distant political future, you may see a significant number of wealthy LGBT donors breaking off and going GOP if it goes socially libertarian fiscal conservative. We already have a class divide in the LGBT community that largely goes undiscussed because it’s a third rail topic, but it does profoundly affectss what issues are given priority and the literal complexion of the faces of leadership. What will this mean for the movement?

No answers here, of course, just random thoughts I had as news trickled in. What are your thoughts?
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—  John Wright