The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Former Republican party leader admits homosexuality

Should the party rethink the true meaning of republicanism?

Ken Mehlman has left the closet.

Last week, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee told a blogger for The Atlantic that he’s gay. And the sun came up the next morning, and the world kept right on turning.Mehlman’s announcement wouldn’t really be all that big of a deal except for the fact that he managed George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, which used the fear of gay marriage to rally social conservatives to the polls.

Now, the man who once headed that campaign is working to advance the cause of equal rights.

Mehlman isn’t the only Bush insider to come forward in the fight for gay marriage.

Theodore B. Olson made a name for himself in 2000 when he convinced a majority of the Supreme Court to make Bush president. As thanks, Bush named Olson solicitor general.

More recently, Olson made a splash by successfully arguing that Califonia’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.Joining him in that courtroom was David Boies, his one-time adversary in Bush v. Gore.

I’m heartened to see these prominent Republicans take up so noble a cause. I hope more will join them.

Conservatives shouldn’t oppose the right of same-sex couples to marry; they should embrace it. At its best, conservatism champions equality before the law, limited government intrusion into individuals’ private lives and respect for the family. Allowing gay men and women to marry would further all three aims.

Over the past few decades, and especially during the Bush years, conservatism has lost its way. It’s become about massive government and arrogant overreaching.


Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman once wrote inspiringly about the limits of even the most well-intentioned government programs and the wisdom of leaving private decisions to private individuals. They would be appalled to see what has become of their conservative legacy.

Today, we need conservatives more than ever.

The Obama administration has continued the Bush tradition of expanding the federal government and driving up the national debt. Although some Republicans, like South Carolina’s Jim DeMint and Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, continue to fight the good fight, their party leaders refuse to take them seriously.

At a time when voters have become increasingly vocal about their worries about the size of the national government, both major parties have refused to listen.

Imagine what might happen if tomorrow the Republican leadership said something along these lines:

“We messed up. We forgot what it means to be Republicans. We were supposed to be fighting for the right of individuals to live their lives free from government dictate. Instead, we tried to interfere in personal matters in which we had no business interfering. We were wrong. But we’re going to fix it. As of this moment, the Republican Party supports the full legal equality of our gay brothers and sisters.”

A statement like that would be good politics. It would also be the right thing to do.

Nathaniel French is a senior theater major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].


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