WaPo's Capehart Lauds Ken Mehlman By Comparing Him to a Recovered Segregationist

August 30th, 2010 8:41 AM

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman's declaration that he is homosexual caused gay-left Washington Post editorialist Jonathan Capehart to embrace Mehlman...and compare him to the most hardline segregationist.

Once again, in Sunday's newspaper, racism and opposition to the sin of homosexuality were shamelessly equated on Mehlman's "road to redemption" -- but the Sunday edit left out Capehart's praise for ex-conservative David Brock:

Now that Mehlman has made his journey, I am happy that he has already started down the road of redemption. As Ambinder reports, Mehlman has been a de facto strategist for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. That’s the group behind the landmark lawsuit against California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. He must keep at it if he is to overcome the deep resentment and distrust that now greets his coming out. It’s possible. Just look at George Wallace and David Brock.

Wallace, the legendary Alabama politician, was a progressive who became a rabid segregationist in the 1960s. The dude was way on the wrong side of the civil rights movement at many of its pivotal moments. But when he ran for a final term as governor in 1982 he won with 90 percent of the African American vote. Wallace garnered that vote by spending years making amends -- real and symbolic -- and asking forgiveness.

Brock also reconciled his antagonistic past. After being a significant cog in the “vast right wing conspiracy,” he wrote a 2002 biography that exposed his hidden homosexuality and his role in said conspiracy to take down the Clintons. Part of his redemption was creating in 2004 Media Matters the indispensable progressive website that now monitors the right wing misinformation machine he helped create.

Mehlman is the highest-ranking Republican to come out of the closet. (Move over, Mary Cheney.) If he maintains his high-powered efforts to bring his party to the fight for marriage equality, gay men and lesbians will thank Mehlman for his help when same-sex marriage is legal in the United States. It’s not going to happen with Democrats alone, folks.