A Washington Post headline reports:
New Romney adviser faces backlash over his sexual orientation, tweets
Gimme a break. Do Washington Post reporters live in such splendid isolation that they truly believe that Republicans give a hoot about the sexual orientation of Richard A. Grenell, the latest member of the Romney team?
It should be noted that the Post story presents almost no actual evidence (beyond one quote) that this is the case.
Mr. Grennell's tweets are another matter:
In one entry removed from his Twitter account, Grenell wrote of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: “Hillary is starting to look liek Madeline Albright.”
Of MSNBC’s liberal-leaning Rachel Maddow, he wrote that she should “take a breath and put on a necklace.”
While not impervious to Mr. Grenell’s sense of humor, I can imagine worrying about such tweets: Hilary "Anngate" Rosen has demonstrated the immense damage one off-the-cuff remark can do. The campaign might be wise to revoke Mr. Grenell's Twitter privileges.
But are Republicans aghast that the Romney campaign has hired a–gasp–gay male? Well, here is some of the evidence:
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, took issue with Grenell over his criticism of the Bush administration’s failure to sign a December 2008 U.N. resolution that called for decriminalizing homosexuality across the globe.
While at the United Nations, Grenell fought unsuccessfully to have his partner, Matt Lashey, listed among the spouses in the United Nations’s Blue Book, a personnel directory.
“It’s concerning that you would have somebody tapped to be potentially in an administration that would continue the policies that we’re seeing in the Obama administration,” Perkins said.
There is nothing in this that shows Perkins criticizing Grenell for being a homosexual. Perkins disagrees with Grenell’s stand on a U.N. resolution regarding homosexuality in other countries. That is Perkins's judgment on an issue.
If the two reporters on this story had the courage to ask point blank, “Does it worry you, Mr. Perkins, that Mr. Grenell is gay?” his reply is nowhere reflected in the story. Also, you gotta love sticking in, between two paragraphs on Perkins, Grenell’s attempt to list his partner as a spouse in the U.N. Blue Book.
The reporters seem not to understand that there is a difference between policy matters and personal ones. For example, I have a strong position on gay marriage (but I won’t share it because gay marriage is not an IWF issue, and, based on conversations, I know that many of my IWF colleagues have an opinion very different from mine). But on friendships and other personal matters, I am no different from your most ardent liberal (except, probably less shrill).
There is one quote that lends credence to the charge in the headline:
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association shared his disappointment with the Grenell pick on Twitter: “Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.”
If there is concern over Grenell’s sexual orientation in a segment of the conservative community, then the Post should have done that story. Even so, however, one quote wouldn't have been enough. This quote comes, incidentally, from Twitter, so it appears that the reporters failed to ask Mr. Fisher to speak further on the subject and to provide some more sources.
It's ridiculous to believe that the vast majority of Republicans care about or are interested in Mr. Grenell's sexual orientation. After all, Grenell is a known quantity, already having worked for four U.S. ambassadors and served as press secretary for former Republican governor of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford. Indeed, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is quoted praising Grenell’s work as a spokesman at the U.N.
Interestingly, while dissing supposed Republican narrow mindedness, the Post engages in some subliminal trafficking in gay stereotypes, invoking a 1995 (!) piece in the same newspaper in which Grenell “recounts his love for strong women, including Clinton and Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington.” Sly.
It is difficult to tell if the Post reporters are simply so deep into the liberal cocoon that they sincerely believe, despite not having found evidence (beyond one Twitter from Bryan Fischer) that conservatives are upset over Grenell. Or are they trying to help the Democrats with the moderate voters who are turned off by the kind of prejudice ascribed in this article to Republicans?