In case it wasn't already glaringly obvious, the Mitt Romney campaign for presidency has gone ahead and clarified an essential truth of modern U.S. politics: Gays are not welcome in the Republican party.
Hey, don't shoot the messenger! We draw this conclusion only after Romney bowed to far-right anti-gay pressure, allowing staffer Ric Grenell to become another casualty in Mitt's by-any-means-necessary warpath to the White House.
Continuing a trend, the malleable Romney was for Ric Grenell before he was against him. He did, after all, hire the openly gay former Bush staffer as his spokesman on foreign policy and national security -- a first for a Republican candidate. But following push back from the far right, Grenell was left to wither on the vine.
Grenell resigned from Team Romney on Tuesday after a month of neglect, during which he was not deployed to comment on relevant issues -- like the president's anti-Romney Osama ad. Romney spent that month not commenting on attacks by hateful conservatives over Grenell's gay credentials. (He lost a battle for official recognition of his same-sex partner in the U.N.'s Blue Book Rolodex.)
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Never mind that foreign policy has nothing to do with gay rights: The Romneys muzzled Grenell on a conference call last week. Grenell organized the call, as was his job, but was ordered to stay silent.
"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," Grenell told Washington Post writer Jen Rubin.
Grenell continued: "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."
Perhaps it's true that Romney did believe in the strictly conservative yet gay Grenell. If so, it's clear that Romney's beliefs weren't strong enough to stand up to the likes of hate-preacher Bryan Fischer -- who, upon hearing of the hire, pounced on Romney's weakness with so-called true conservatives.
"It appears to be a dog-whistle to the homosexual lobby," Fischer said, "a way of saying to them 'I'm with you, not with them.'" He took it even further: "It's certainly not possible that there are no other potential spokesmen available, men who are experts in foreign policy and who, at the same time, honor the institution of natural marriage in their personal lives."
The implications here are sickening. What Fischer asserts above, and what he was, through Romney's need of his coalition, rewarded for, is this line of thinking: In the Republican party, why hire someone who happens to be gay when you can hire someone who isn't? It's a bigot's version of labor law: What, are there no able-bodied straights? The only universe in which these people would consider hiring a gay person is one where he or she is the last available option.
Now Fischer's gloating. "I was kind of pleasantly surprised," he said. "I think Governor Romney is going to be far more careful now."
Just to be clear, Fischer was not alone. In his Washington Update, Tony Perkins argued that because Romney hired a gay man, it undermines Republican leadership. (Apparently Republicans have officially come out against gays?) Dan Gainor at the Media Research Center says the fact that Romney would hire Grenell at all is a clear sign he's not truly conservative. (All conservatives must loathe gays?)
Perhaps not all Republicans think this way. But with Romney so willing to kowtow, what difference does it make? The message is the same: Go work for someone else.
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