by Leah Waldron
Mitt Romney is having a really bad month. In a desperate move to seem “with it” on foreign affairs, and to perhaps make up for his horrendous international trip this summer, Romney released an anti-Obama statement on the day of the Sept. 11 Libya disaster, which, like Paul Ryan’s body fat estimate, was way off the mark and ended up making him look like a real loser:
“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
If any part of this allegation was true (Obama’s “first response” had not yet occurred), Romney would have still come off like a less charismatic version of George W. Bush: brazen, quick on the draw, and “smoke them out of their hole” stupid. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a video was released this week of Romney stating that Palestinian people do not want peace, and that “there’s just no way” for a two-party solution, despite the fact that the Republican party’s platform says the opposite (Romney went on to say that 47 percent of Americans survive on government help… an even worse gaffe).
This “shoot your mouth first, ask questions later” foreign policy mentality begs the question: if Richard Grenell, Romney’s original foreign policy spokesman, had the opportunity to weigh in on these matters, would Romney have been a bit more prepared?
Let’s ask Grenell. Oh, wait…we can’t. Grenell left Romney’s campaign back in May because he couldn’t stand the Republican backlash about his homosexuality. Fearing that it would cost Romney the election, but furious just the same, Grenell had this to say shortly after his resignation:
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. 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.
Keep in mind that Grenell’s resignation occurred a few weeks before Obama came out in support of gay marriage, and a few months before Romney, now with Ryan as his sidekick, signed the most anti-gay Republican platform in history. If Grenell had stuck around to see the gay marriage fireworks, maybe he would have left on his own, instead of taking a bullet for Romney 2012?
In the eyes of Republicans, Grenell’s sexual orientation—a big no-no in a campaign year—cancelled out the fact that Grenell was a) a seasoned Republican; b) a Harvard-educated expert on foreign policy (he worked under former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, for God’s sake); and c) the best man—gay or otherwise—for the job.
When Grenell left, Romney’s team even acknowledged this point:
“We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”
The Republican party, like Romney and his campaign team, are fond of saying that they want to work with the LGBT community (“we have lots of gay friends!”), but actions speak louder than words. Luckily for Grenell, he got out while the getting was good (and I hear he’s living with his partner in Palm Springs now, renovating their home).
I guess some guys are just blessed with good timing.
Moral Low Ground