Home > General > Queer Guy for the Straight Ire: Did Romney do the right thing?

Queer Guy for the Straight Ire: Did Romney do the right thing?

May 3rd, 2012


Washington Post:

In a statement provided to The Washington Post, Grenell, who is openly gay, said: “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.” He added: “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.”

So Grenell says he resigned.  Mitt Romeny appears to support him.  The ones going nuts over this and taking a victory lap some of the social conservatives like  Bryan Fischers who was in the Jon Stewart skit.  According to the WaPo:

Matthew J. Franck, director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute, called Grenell a “loose cannon” with a passion for the “gay agenda.”

“My problem is that by his own description he is an ardent activist for same-sex marriage who went to go work for a candidate who wants to defeat same-sex marriage. It doesn’t look good to the people that Romney needs support from to have an advocate for same-sex marriage in such a high-profile position,” Franck said. “The Romney campaign needs to be unequivocally opposed to same-sex marriage and to appear to be. The campaign has remedied a problem that was bound to get worse.”


The Romney team maintains that it was Grenell’s decision to leave his post.

“We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons,” campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement. “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”

Can a presidential candidate afford to let people think that the social conservatives are dictating this exclusion to him?  I say no.  Now I can see Team Romney (or Team Obama) not wanting an aide prancing around the office in chaps.  You want anyone working on your team to behave and present professionally.  However, gay marriage is perfectly legal in some states and this issue is what  Grenell has been accused of supporting. 

If Romney wants to appeal to the moderates and Independents, then acceptance of gays is going to have to be on his agenda and I don’t mean gays he keeps in the closet.   He will have a hard time.  His religion, like many religions, is inhospitable to homosexuality.  His party doesn’t have a great track record on acceptance of gays.  This is where Romney can distinguish himself and I hope he will.   Not only must he be willing to accept gays on his staff but he must also send a strong message to social conservatives that he isn’t going to be dictated to.  He needs to return to the big tent image of the GOP, that big tent where Romney actually got his start.

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  1. Scout
    May 4th, 2012 at 05:56 | #1

    It’s not clear that Romney did anything in this context. He seems quite absent from this. The opposition to Grennell, however, is showing is true nature. Their position was that a homosexual cannot be a foreign policy advisor. Why? What is the relationship between being homosexual and whether one knows enough about the world to make sense on foreign policy issues?

    If Romney himself erred here, it was by not pushing back against these critics and/or by keeping Grennell under wraps to mollify them.

  2. May 4th, 2012 at 06:25 | #2

    I agree with you, Scout. Romney missed an opportunity (if we are still guessing) to come out forcefully about who does the hiring and firing and what the criteria is.

    right now, he looks like he wants it both ways.

  3. May 4th, 2012 at 07:56 | #3

    From what I read, he wasn’t fired. He hadn’t actually taken the job yet. He changed his mind and declined it.

    I don’t know why… it’s assumed because some Romney people disapproved of him. I think he turned it down because he didn’t want the hassle.

    • May 4th, 2012 at 08:18 | #4

      I have read diametrically opposite things, Cargo. I think Romney might have caved because Fischers and other social conservatives pressured him. I hope not but I simply do not know.

  4. Scout
    May 5th, 2012 at 06:27 | #5

    At this point, it’s almost irrelevant as to whether the man had signed an employment contract or started to draw pay. He was working as a foreign policy advisor to the campaign and was involved in that activity. The problem for Romney doesn’t arise because he pushed Grennell out the window at the urging of nuts who think they have some role in the Republican Party (although if anything like that happened, it would be a big problem for all of us). The problem is that if the nuts can go after a scalp and crow about it when they succeed, Romney fails to lead the Party. Grennell’s sexual persuasion was a known quantity when he went to work for Romney. It wasn’t like he just got outed. Romney should have protected him not because of human sexuality issues, but to send a clear signal to fringe elements that they had no role in the Party that Romney is going to take into battle in the coming months.

    • May 5th, 2012 at 07:32 | #6

      I can’t tell you how much I like your thinking this morning, Scout.

  5. Scout
    May 5th, 2012 at 09:05 | #7

    By afternoon, my clarity of thought (at least in your tolerant eyes) will have faded completely.

    • May 5th, 2012 at 10:17 | #8

      Yea, but its good you have it sometime in the day. Many folks never have it. @ Scout.

  6. Elena
    May 5th, 2012 at 15:55 | #9

    WHY, why do people care what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home?

    Personally, I think its the people who make such a big deal about homosexuality that are the filthy minded. As far as I can tell, mature relationships are so much more than sex. I guess if you allow gay people the right to marry then one can no longer allow their minds to “rest” in the gutter about gay relationships as they will move into the realm of boredom like the rest of us married folks!

    That this guy felt the pressure, no matter where it came from, to give up his position is a shameful mark on the Republican Party.

  7. Starryflights
    May 6th, 2012 at 07:01 | #10

    Romney canned Grenell because he wants to keep conservatives happy, and conservatives hate homosexuals.

  8. Rick Bentley
    May 7th, 2012 at 13:45 | #11

    homophobia’s day should be ending right about now. This points out the need for someone to make the movie we’ve all been waiting to see, that points out how obvious it is that Abraham Lincoln, acknowledged as one of our great Presidents, was gay.

    • May 7th, 2012 at 13:51 | #12

      There certainly is a strong argument for him at least being bi-sexual. Now here is a question for everyone–were taboos so entrenched that gay men (let’s not get into the women issue…it is different.) just didn’t act on their impulses or were they really secretive about it? I am not going to buy that it didn’t exist.

      Rick, I had a movie question for you so don’t run off…now I can’t recall which movie…oh…Iron nLady. I hated it. Is it just me or was that just a bad movie?

  9. Rick Bentley
    May 7th, 2012 at 13:46 | #13

    And this is the kind of thing that makes me loath to vote Republican. This, plus their constant obstructionism.

  10. Rick Bentley
    May 7th, 2012 at 18:28 | #14

    I am sure that in many cases people didn’t act on their impulses, and in many cases people did but were secretive about it.

    Iron Lady – well I felt that it spent way too much time showing her doddering around in old age. The portion of the film that showed her younger years was strong and imparted who she was and what her life was. Unfortunately they balanced it with way too much meaningless footage of her in twlight. Streep was great as always but the film was only partially good.

    • May 8th, 2012 at 00:20 | #15

      OMG, I totally agree with you. Her dementia was confusing and immaterial in my untrained opinion, just uninteresting. Streep was fabulous and the good part of the movie was interesting and engaging. I don’t want to see anyone in their dotage. Maybe 5 minutes…that’s the max.

  11. Rick Bentley
    May 7th, 2012 at 18:29 | #16

    Two hot picks – ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. Loved them both.

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