Frank Rich Tells Rachel Maddow Ballet Backers Should Support Gay Rights

New York magazine's Frank Rich on Monday stereotyped folks who back ballet as defacto supporters of gay rights.

This came during a lengthy segment on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show wherein the host absurdly told viewers that it's wrong for wealthy people who appear to be socially liberal to fund conservative candidates that don't completely support same sex marriage (video follows with transcript and commentary):

FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: And look, someone like Ken Mehlman is in a long tradition, I hate to say it, of Republicans who were closeted homosexuals, in power, actually enabled homophobic policies, in some periods really a demonization of gay people, and then as soon as they're away from it, as soon as Ken Mehlman, who had been head of the Republican Party under Bush when Bush had all these homophobic marriage amendments and ballot initiatives, he and Karl Rove, then he comes out and does the right thing, comes out as gay, but also comes out of those policies. But where was he when it really mattered within his own party?

In that sense, it's like Terry Dolan, Roy Cohn, all these people, Finkelstein, the consultant who worked for Jesse Helms, one of the most homophobic senators ever, he was in a gay marriage in Massachusetts after he stopped working for Jesse Helms.

So there's something -- there's a real sort of pathological disconnect. And they've really got to be called on it and they`ve got to be called on it by Democrats as well as people like us.

MADDOW: I will -- I think that Ken Mehlman though has sort of -- I think Ken Mehlman has done the right thing to the extent that you can't do back in time.

RICH: Right.

MADDOW: You can indict what he did in the past, but then once you come out, if you were complicit in politics that were not only hypocritical but that you had decided were very bad for the country, I think ethically the right thing to do is then work to change those politics. He's certainly doing that in his public life.

RICH: He's doing things like the Proposition 8 fight. But what is going on with the Republican Party?

MADDOW: That's the --

RICH: How is it every candidate, every single candidate with the arguable exception of Jon Huntsman who's long gone, has taken such anti-gay views in terms of policy and rhetoric? How have they remained silent when you have a gay soldier who's serving in Iraq ask a perfectly innocuous, pleasant question through YouTube at a Republican debate, and no one, including the then nine candidates on stage speaks up against it?

It's great that Ken Mehlman is involved with the raising money for AFER and to fight Proposition 8 and so on. But what about within that party?

Yes, and I'm not -- I don't mean to single him out, Paul Singer, these hedge fund guys, all the big bucks people who think of themselves as being enlightened about social issues. The Koch brothers. I mean, they sponsor things like the New York City ballet. Why are they remaining silent, the party that they support, the movements that they support in terms of Tea Party, is so homophobic.

I just don't get it. It's a disconnect, but also it`s something that actually does damage, not only do gay Americans, but to children who have gay parents. You know, anyone who has a friend or a relative who's gay.

I'd say the ignorance on display here was staggering, but nothing on MSNBC should surprise anyone anymore.

First off, there are many Republicans especially on the coasts that are fiscally conservative while being socially moderate or liberal. But such views have to be prioritized, and for many, fiscal matters are far more important when it comes to the candidates they support.

But liberals in the media don't seem to get that. In their view, social issues should be paramount. Latinos, for instance, should only care about a politician's position on immigration.

Also absurd was the contention that all of the Republican candidates are anti-gay rights. Most support civil unions.

Unfortunately, the liberal press think that unless you completely back same sex marriage, you're homophobic.

As for Rich's ballet assertion, was he stereotypically casting all supporters of the arts as socially liberal or just those that back the ballet?

I think he'd be surprised that there are even benefactors of the great San Francisco Ballet in my part of the country who are quite fiscally conservative and consider that far more important in their candidates than their views on same sex marriage.

That must be too intellectually dexterous for a New York City snob like Rich.

(H/T Ann Coulter)

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