Ric Grenell, Romney’s recently defenestrated foreign policy adviser, sounds like a jerkwad a la Devon Banks, Will Arnett’s gay character in “30 Rock” (see video). Given his outsized personality, and his controversial public statements (e.g., bitchy tweets), I can see why such a loose cannon would have been a potential liability to the Romney campaign.
But if — if — Grenell was thrown off the campaign because he’s gay and supports gay marriage, and (therefore) Team Romney feared freaking out religious and social conservatives, then that’s third-rate, jerkwad behavior. Who cares if the guy is gay? Can he do the foreign policy job he was hired to do? That’s all that matters, at least to me, an anti-SSM religious conservative. I just don’t get Matthew Franck’s contention that having Grenell on Romney’s foreign policy team would mean bending US policy in a pro-gay direction. Dick Cheney supports gay marriage too; if he too liberal, therefore, to have a slot on a Republican presidential campaign?
If there is a takeaway here, it is that some anti-gay voices wigged out when a gay man was hired as a spokesman for a conservative on foreign policy. This episode did not concern gay marriage. It did not concern Romney’s stance on gay rights (he hired Grenell, after all). It concerned whether the mere presence of an openly gay person in a Republican campaign is a bridge too far. Unfortunately, for some on the right it was, and they set out to make such a rumpus that Grenell felt he could not do his job. Grenell isn’t a one-issue voter, but they sure are.