Ken Mehlman is the former chairperson of the Republican National Committee. He was forced to resigned after the disastrous performance of Republican Congressional and Gubernatorial candidates in the 2006 midterm elections. He was replaced as RNC Chairperson by Melquiades Rafael Martinez.
Flip-Flop: From Extreme Partisanship to Calls for Bipartisanship
In a speech on August 4, 2006 Mehlman claimed that the Republicans were stronger on terrorism than Democrats: "America faces a critical question. Will we elect leaders who recognize we're at war and want to use every tool to win it, or politicians who would surrender important tools we need to win?" Source: Martiga Lohn. "GOP Chair Says Democrats Weak on Terror." Associated Press. August 4, 2006. This is rank nonsense of course. The most important accomplishment of the Republicans is to create an enormous new generation of Islamists willing to use terror in Iraq because of the failed Occupation.
Before the 2006 mid-term Congressional elections Mehlman accused the Democrats of weakness on foreign policy and national secruity. After his Republicans were trounced however, Melhman changed his tune. On January 19, 2007 Mehlman called for bipartisanship in a speech at Republican National Committee's winter meeting: "Let's work to put aside our differences on other issues and march together to defeat this common enemy, who threatens our common values - values that aren't red or blue, but red, white and blue." Source: n.a. "Ken Mehlman Calls for Bipartisanship." Associated Press. January 19, 2007. NewsMax.com
Republican Quagmire in Iraq
Democratic Chair Howard Dean issued an honest assessment of the Republican War in Iraq in an interview on WOIA-AM San Antonio, stating "I wish the president had paid more attention to the history of Iraq before he had gotten us in there. The idea that we're going to win this war is just plain wrong." Mehlman responded by saying that Dean's "outrageous prediction sends the wrong message to out troops, the enemy, and the Iraqi people just 10 days before historic elections." Mehlman apparently thinks that counter-insurgencies are won or lost primarily through the kind of political rhetoric one hears in American election campaigns! He also seems allergic to telling the unvarnished truth. A typical example of Republican factual relativism.
In a December 1, 2005 speech to the Republican Governors Convention Mehlman attempted to steer a middile path between Republican pols who want to make political appeals to populist xenophobia about Hispanic immigrants and those business interests who support immigration because it provides cheap, exploitable labor and lots of down market new consumers. The issue threatens to rip apart the otherwise highly disciplined party.
Evading Responsibility for Corruption
Avoiding electoral damage to the party in 2006 and 2008 because most of the names linked to conservative sleaze monkey Jack Abramoff are Republican is a major headache for Mehlman. One obvious tactic is to adopt the "you did too" spread the blame strategy. Example: "The public trust is more important than party," said Mehlman on January 20, 2006. "Which is why the first solution to the problem is rooting out those who have done wrong, without regard to party or ideology." The rhetoric of bipartisanship is thus reduced to the cheapest of pieties in an effort to evade the consequences of wrongdoing.
Admits to Republicans racism starting in the 1960s
In 2005 Mehlman conceded that Republicans, for decades, tried to “benefit politically from racial polarization.” Mehlman concluded, “I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”
- n.a. "Cuban-Born Senator to Serve as Republican Party Chairman." International Herald Tribune. November 14, 2006.
- n.a. "Dean Questions Iraq Strategy." Associated Press. December 5, 2005.
- Dan Baltz. "GOP Official Urges Caution on Immigrants." Washington Post. December 2, 2005.
- n.a. "Top Senate Democrat Apologizes to GOP." CBS News Janurary 20, 2006. news report.
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