Gay Romney Staffer Richard Grenell Driven from Campaign By Social Cons


The Wash Post's Jennifer Rubin reports that Richard Grenell, a foreign policy spokesman who's worked for such hard-core conservative figures such as John Bolton, has resigned from the Romney campaign due to sniping from social cons uncomfortable with Grenell's bedroom predilections. Grenell, says Rubin, was "recently hired to sharpen the foreign policy message of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign." Lots of luck with that mission now, Mittens!

Rubin excerpts a statement from Grenell:

I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama's foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.

What sort of pushback was Grenell getting from social cons? The Family Research Council noted its fears that Grenell would push for U.N. recognition of gay rights (read: the right not to be executed in various countries simply for being gay, being able to get married, and the like). Rubin excerpts a piece at National Review that unmasks the real issue that worries conservatives trembling over Al Qaeda's dead-but-still-with-us threat level:

In the National Review, Matthew J. Franck wrote late last week: "Suppose Barack Obama comes out — as Grenell wishes he would — in favor of same-sex marriage in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. How fast and how publicly will Richard Grenell decamp from Romney to Obama?"

And just imagine if Grenell and Ann Romney showed up at the annual J. Edgar Hoover Drag Ball and Good Times Revue wearing the same dress! Franck's response underscores that however much conservatives say they hate foreign Islamo-fascists, they probably hate domestic poufters more.

I don't share what I understand to be Grenell's positions on foreign policy—as noted above, he's a John Bolton loyalist (and Bolton was reportedly one of his biggest supporters for the Romney post), so I assume he's never met a country he doesn't want to bomb, invade, or occupy. And Grenell is also notorious for channeling his inner Mr. Blackwell and tweeting bitchy comments about high-profile ladies ranging from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow (would it kill her, he asked, "to take a breath and put on a necklace") and Calista Gingrich (he wondered if the hair "snapped on"). He also railed against folks like Wash Post/MSNBC staffer Jonathan Capeheart for failing to press Barack Obama on his refusal to support marriage equality. So in the best tradition of cop movies, Grenell seems to be a bit of a loose cannon who plays by his own rules; men want to be him and…some men want to be with him. Twitterhea is not exactly what you want in a spokesman for foreign policy and defense type issues, I suppose. Then again, wouldn't it bug the hell out of distant mullahs and imams and clerics far more to know that even conservative Americans don't give a rat's ass about a guy's personal life? Goddamnit, but conservatives are so stupid that they can't even strategize for a minute when their gaydar is buzzing on high alert.

I do not plan to vote for Mitt Romney—indeed, I cannot conceive of any scenario in which either Romney or Obama pries a vote from hand. And I resign myself to the grim fact that one of these guys will be elected, though I remain agnostic on precisely which one will usher in a new era of truly awful governance (read: As bad as it's been, it can always get worse). Everybody who fears four more years of Obama (almost certainly with GOP majorities in one or both houses of Congress), would do well to remember the six years of Bush and a GOP-controlled Congress.

But this mini-episode is one more chit on the huge pile that suggests that when Mitt Romney loses the fall election, conservative Republicans will have nobody to blame but themselves. When confronted with a seriously unpopular incumbent whose massive and idiotic interventions have done squat to revivify the economy, whose left flank is more disappointed in him than Stalin was in Trotsky, whose war-mongering and health care plans are panned even by the most patriotic zombie Americans, and whose stance on marriage equality is indistinguishable from Romney's, conservative Republican bigwigs focus in on whether or not a guy whom John Bolton supports is gay. In a country, no less, in which a majority now supports not simply peaceful tolerance of homosexuality but balls-out gay marriage.

Back in February 2011, Reason.tv covered Andrew Breitbart's Big Gay Party in DC, which protested the exclusion of conservative gay rights group GOProud from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Richard Grenell, then with the public relations firm Capitol Media Group, shows up talking with Michael C. Moynihan around the 4.12 mark, saying "The overwhelming majority of Republicans are accepting of conservatives who happen to be gay." Maybe, but in this case, it wasn't the majority that counted.