Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Grenell affair: When anti-gay bigotry rules the Republican Party, including the Romney campaign


Anti-gay bigotry pervades the Republican Party and is apparently powerful enough a force to influence dramatically the Romney campaign.

As the WaPo's Jennifer Rubin is reporting:

Richard Grenell, the openly gay spokesman recently hired to sharpen the foreign policy message of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, has resigned in the wake of a full-court press by anti-gay conservatives.

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The argument that Grenell could essentially not be openly gay and serve on a GOP presidential campaign was belied by the fact that Grenell has been a loyal Republican for many years, working for esteemed foreign policy figures including former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.

The ongoing pressure from social conservatives over his appointment and the reluctance of the Romney campaign to send Grenell out as a spokesman while controversy swirled left Grenell essentially with no job.

*****

During the two weeks after Grenell's hiring was announced the Romney campaign did not put Grenell out to comment on national security matters and did not use him on a press foreign policy conference call. Despite the controversy in new media and in conservative circles, there was no public statement of support for Grenell by the campaign and no supportive social conservatives were enlisted to calm the waters.

Rubin is strongly pro-Romney, but she's being sensibly critical of the Romney campaign, which clearly deserves blame, if for different reasons, alongside the "social conservatives."

Being gay, you see, makes you not just un-Republicans but utterly anathema to the right, and of course the right, where anti-gay bigotry is de rigueur (and not just among "social conservatives"), wields enormous influence within the Republican Party. It hardly matters if you're actually a solid conservative with strong ideological credentials, like Grenell. If you're gay, you're fucked.

As Andrew Sullivan wrote:

It has come to this. The GOP will have no gays within it unless they are prepared openly to oppose their own core rights and dignity. Romney has gone from promising to be more pro-gay in the Senate than Ted Kennedy than hanging a lone gay spokesman out to dry and pledging to write into the very constitution that gays are second class citizens.

If you're gay, or your friend, son, daughter, brother, sister, aunt or uncle is gay, you just learned something about what the GOP now is. Do not forget it.

This wasn't about both sides doing it. It was about the right-wing bigots who run the Republican Party getting their way. And about the Romney campaign being scared shitless.

What else is new?

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