Family Research Council Blames Mehlman's Sexuality For GOP Failures

August 27, 2010 4:31 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Earlier this week, former Bush campaign manager and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman revealed that he is gay.  As The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder noted, "Mehlman's leadership positions in the GOP came at a time when the party was stepping up its anti-gay activities" to court social conservatives.  However, Mehlman pledges to be an advocate for marriage equality going forward.     

The reaction from conservative leaders to Mehlman's announcement is indicative of the split within the GOP.  While current party chairman Michael Steele welcomed the news, the Family Research Council was not so understanding.  In an email to supporters yesterday, FRC suggested that Mehlman's sexuality had something to do with the GOP's electoral losses in 2006 and 2008:

This unfortunate confirmation helps explain the scandalous failure of many in the Republican establishment to vigorously uphold the values and policy positions expressed in the party's platform in 2004 and 2008, particularly the need to protect the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman nationwide.  While grassroots activists succeeded in passing marriage amendments in dozens of states across the country, they received little support and even outright resistance from Party officials at the national level, which contributed to the GOP's electoral failures in 2006 and 2008.  Now we know one of the major reasons why. 

Got that? Republicans were defeated in 2006 and 2008, according to the Family Research Council, because Ken Mehlman is gay and therefore failed to put enough emphasis on wedge issues like gay marriage.   

Back in reality, public support for gay marriage is on the rise, but FRC seems to have the impression that the entire country shares its burning desire to insert government into people's personal lives.  And, of course, the group's electoral analysis is nothing short of absurd.  The economy was obviously the top issue in 2008.  Meanwhile, here's a rundown of voter priorities in the summer of 2006: