Grenell Derailed

by Stephen H. Miller on May 1, 2012

updated May 5, 2012

Social conservatives and left-wing “progressives” can unite and cheer that together they have derailed Romney’s appointment of Richard Grenell as his foreign policy adviser/spokesman. Grenell is openly gay and an advocate of marriage equality, as previously noted. They’re celebrating at ThinkProgress and at the American Family Association. Shame on both, but especially on the partisan leftists who posture as our allies but prefer their Republicans anti-gay (hey, it serves the interests of the Democratic party, and that’s what matters above all, right).

More. Yes, Grenell’s resignation was mainly due to attacks by social conservatives, triggered by his support for marriage equality. But the fact that the left-liberal ThinkProgress and Huffington Post, among others (i.e., our progressive “allies”) were also gunning for him makes their attacks all the more despicable.

And no, I’m not impressed that ThinkProgress, having viciously skewered Grenell as sexist and a misogynist over tweets showing insufficient political correctness, has the gall to castigate the religious right for scuttling his appointment.

Furthermore. Log Cabin Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper writes:

The gay community, despite the hatred it greeted Ric with when his appointment was announced, has lost as well. … Liberal commentator Jonathan Capehart went so far as to say “Richard Grenell chose power over principle” and to accuse him of being a hypocrite for being a gay conservative working within the party.

And yet, now that his detractors have gotten what they wished for, some LGBT Americans are realizing the danger of the message that has been sent. Half of this country routinely votes Republican, and every recent advance for our liberty, from marriage in New York to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” has required significant Republican support.

The left, after beating the right to the punch with the initial attacks on Grenell, pulled back when it became clear that the right was going to finish him off. But I have no doubt that if Grenell had survived the right’s onslaught, the left would have been back on the attack.

More still. Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist A. Barton Hinkle writes of a gay Republican friend:

In the wake of the Grenell affair, the friend writes, “I’m starting to wonder if—despite that fact that I agree with the [Republican] party on most issues, including being strongly pro-life—the GOP just doesn’t want people like me.” He will not vote for Romney now. But “I won’t vote for Obama, so for the first time in my life I won’t vote for president. There is no one for me to support.”


Houndentenor May 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm

The right and left are equally to blame for his resignation? Srsly?

But I think there’s a lesson here (aside from the obvious “social conservatives hate gay people” point) and that’s that people in public life might want to be careful what they tweet, email or otherwise say or publish. Catty comments about other public figures are fine if you’re a comedian. But for a career public servant it’s probably not a good idea to make enemies on both sides of the political spectrum.

William May 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I completely get your efforts to make gay activists see the benefits of working within the Republican Party and not to act solely for the Democratic Party. I say this as an active member of a centre-right party. But to make the post-resignation commentary about the left, rather than the homophobia within the GOP and its movement makes you lose a lot of credibility, and to show the partisan basis (if more anti-Dem than anything else) of your commentary rather than a sincere attempt to forge a gay mainstream.

Tom Scharbach May 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Social conservatives and left-wing “progressives” can unite and cheer that together they have derailed Romney’s appointment of Richard Grenell as his foreign policy adviser/spokesman.

I would caution you, Stephen, not to let your bile toward the left get you out in front of your facts too far.

Jennifer Rubin has done the most extensive reporting on the story as of right now, and she reports: “Although Grenell also raised the ire of liberal commentators with now-deleted tweets about certain prominent women, none of the sources I spoke with mentioned the tweets as a factor in his resignation decision.

That would also seem to be substantiated by Grenell’s statement: “I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. 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.

It looks to me like Grenell reached the point where he decided that putting up with personal attacks from the extremist social conservative wing of the Republican Party wasn’t worth it. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but that seems to be the case. Nobody resigns over misplaced Twits, however idiotic.
what is being reported

North Dallas Thirty May 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm

That would be because, Tom Scharbach, you and the Obama Party that pays you truly do not see anything wrong with the statements cited here.

When one considers that Grenell was being bombarded by Tom Scharbach, the Obama Party, and these individuals day and night with those statements and worse, his actions become much more understandable, especially since his family and friends were being threatened as well.

Tom Scharbach May 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Oh Dan, back again, back to lying again.

North Dallas Thirty May 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Why Tom Scharbach; aren’t you proud of what paid Obama Party staffers like yourself are saying publicly about Grenell?

From Joemygod on 4/20 (just the first few, it goes on for pages)

* gay Republicans have the blood of dead teenagers on their hands.

* Grenell is just another self-hating gay deluding himself (and as many others as possible) into thinking the Rethuggist Party is the great gay hope of the LGBT community. Does he think we’re that stupid to believe their BS?

* as far as Im concerned this guy wrking for Romney is a TRAITOR!

* I’m convinced gay republicans are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome

* Ugh, he and GProud are just vile. Rich, usually white, fags who think; because they had a trust fund and went to college on daddy’s dime, being gay is a given and there’s no need to fight for anything. Pussies who have never had to fight for anything in their pampered little lives.

* Maybe he and Scott Lively will join forces and lead a discussion on Uganda when Romney delivers the commencement speech at Liberty University this spring.

From Towleroad on 4/20 – unlike Joemygod, Towelroad also had comments that were much more measured.

* Wouldn’t that be kind of like David Duke hiring a black spokesperson? A pig with lipstick is still a pig.

* F#ck him and every other gay republican.

* Another Quisling.

* Mikemick hit the nail on the head, the word of the day is “QUISLING”. Just a worthless piece of human garbage

Bilerico had no comments that were simply spewing hate

GoodAsYou only had one, kinda:

* Grenell’s just an unprincipled man looking for excuses.

At Pam’s House Blend it compounded like this:

* Tell me again why would a gay man be a republican?
* The wages and gratification from sucking the life force out of the masses.
* See also: Cohn, Roy and Beebe, Lucius.
* Nail + head.

* Just another neo-mattachinistic accomodationistic “I have mine, too bad for you” elitist conservative–

And from above we have

* Grenell is a self-hating gay man.

All Obama Party sites, all endorsed and supported by the Obama Party, all just stating the Obama Party progressive doctrine and showing how the Obama Party feels about gay and lesbian people and their families.

This really shows how twisted Obama Party staffers like Tom Scharbach are: they don’t consider these types of statements referring directly to Grenell’s personal issues to be in the least attacks.

Houndentenor May 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Please demonstrate proof that the Democratic Party specifically approves of the anonymous posts on

Tom Scharbach May 4, 2012 at 6:58 am

And your point is?

The comments Kincaid cites are examples of the blather posted by the ignorati, comments posted without regard to facts, substance or logic.

The comments Kincaid cites — and I have no doubt that hundreds upon hundreds of such comments have been posted around the blogosphere in the last couple weeks — are no different in style or substance from much of what you post on IGF these days about Democrats, liberal/progressive gays and lesbians, and other people with whom you disagree.

Personal attacks? Yes. To be taken seriously? No. It is all just noise from the blathersphere, Dan, not to be mistaken for serious discussion.

Do you think that Grennel pulled out of the Romney campaign because he was wounded by this dreck? I don’t. The available evidence certainly doesn’t suggest that, anyway. The evidence points in an entirely different direction and has since since the beginning.

As to the “substance” of your post — the allegation the posts were made by “paid Obama Party staffers” — what can I say? It is ludicrous.

Doug May 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Grenell’s resignation can be laid squarely at the feet of the anti-gay homophobic GOP. Period. To blame the left for Grenell’s resignation is ludicrous in the extreme. If this were the left’s fault it would show Romney to be the weakest GOP candidate in recent history.

Clayton May 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Here is the New York Times coverage of the resignation, which basically supports what Doug has said:

One final note from me: I’m 55, and in my life I’ve heard many people say, “I don’t personally have a problem with X, but….”

Whenever somebody says “I don’t personally have a problem with it, but….” what they’re really saying is “I have a problem with it.”

Jorge May 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm

This surprises me, and I cannot make sense of it. The guy sounds suprisingly thin-skinned for an openly gay person if the reason he resigned was because of condemnation by the religious right. Yet he denies it has anything to do with the tweets. My suspicion is that it had to do with the radical gay left, however there is no evidence.

Maybe he’s one of those “I’m gay but I don’t talk about it” people.

Tom Scharbach May 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm

My suspicion is that it had to do with the radical gay left, however there is no evidence.

All the available evidence points in the other direction, so my guess is that your suspicions are misplaced.

And what, do you imagine, could the “radical gay left” (whatever that is supposed to mean) have on or do to Richard Grenell, a man with a long history in the public eye, who owns a successful media consulting firm, and who is partnered with a successful media and entertainment executive? Grenell and Lashey are both at the top of their games, and have enough money that they don’t have to count it.

Until something to support your suspicion emerges, why not take Grenell at his word? God knows, being under attack from the maniacs on the social conservative extreme gets tiresome, and it makes perfect sense to me that Grenell might have decided that he has better things to do with his life.

Jorge May 3, 2012 at 8:17 am

And what, do you imagine, could the “radical gay left” (whatever that is supposed to mean) have on or do to Richard Grenell

1) He’s a Republican.

2) They could mail death threats to him.


Until something to support your suspicion emerges, why not take Grenell at his word?

Sir, I said VERY CLEARLY that there is NO EVIDENCE to support my SUSPICION (with all due respect to North Dallas Thirty). You are annoying me.

The reason why I approach this issue with certain suspicions is not something I will not answer to you on.

Houndentenor May 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm

“My suspicion is that it had to do with the radical gay left, however there is no evidence.”

LOL. I have no idea why he really resigned. I doubt anyone else here does either. It’s none of my business. But I find it odd that the gay Republicans will look for anyone to blame besides the fundamentalist Christians who everyone in the party has to cowtow these days, at least during an election. What exactly did the gay left do anyway besides mock him a bit and complain about some tweets. That’s enough to force someone to resign? Really?

Jorge May 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

Uhhhh, and the fundamentalist Christian right do? Either this site and the mainstream media underreported it, or, like I said, this guy has very thin skin for an openly gay person.

Jorge May 3, 2012 at 8:20 am

>>what did the fundamentalist Christian right do

Houndentenor May 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

Inside the GOP? Yes, they do have that kind of power in the party. The “radical gay left” isn’t going to vote for Romney anyway. But Romney is viewed with suspicion by the social conservatives where Bush was not. Bush could appoint gay people to jobs. Romney obviously can’t.

clayton May 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Since when do Republican presidential candidates defer to radical gay leftists in making personnel decisions?

I imagine Romney in a room with Grennell, saying “I don’t personally have a problem with hiring an openly gay man. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a non-issue. But those darned radical gay leftists just won’t give me any peace!”

Jimmy May 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm

All ThinkProgress did was point out the tacky, snarky things Grenell actually said. Things for which he apologized. You actually equate that with the outright hatred offered by the AFA?

Lame. But, completely expected.

Doug May 2, 2012 at 1:19 am

In spite of the lack of any credible evidence, Stephen riles against the ‘radical left’ for Grenell’s resignation.

And this is an Independent Gay Forum. Yea right.

jv May 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Miller is critical of the left and the right for their attacks on Grenell, and you accuse him of not being “independent” because he’s not mouthing the Democratic party line? Do you even know what “independent” means?

Jimmy May 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

Miller spends an inordinate amount of energy attacking the left, like a partisan, rather than challenging the conservatism of today (as brought to us by the GOP) and how it impacts/impedes the quest for equality by mainstream LGBT and our allies. This “mainstream” he wants to forge still resembles a swamp.

Houndentenor May 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Meanwhile, we all watched the primaries in which the GOP drifted further and further rightward on social issues.

Doug May 5, 2012 at 5:44 pm

The conservatives were primarily responsible but the left was despicable. That about sums it up. Words mean something. I don’t see any harsh words about the right in this piece, just the left.

Miller is clearly a partisan not an independent voice.

another steve May 2, 2012 at 10:21 am

The left attacks Grenell, the right attacks Grenell, and Romney forces his resignation. And the Democrats put their hands over their eyes and say it was all the fault of the right. You guys should haunt the Left Is Always Right, Democrats Are Never Wrong Gay Forum.

Houndentenor May 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

Explain to me how the left caused Grenell’s resignation? If they have this much power, wouldn’t they have used it earlier to force resignations in the Bush administration? What, pray tell, are these magical lefty powers that force resignations of Republican political spokespeople?

Clayton May 2, 2012 at 11:57 am

The right wing seems rather gleefully to be taking responsibility for Grennell’s resignation:

Tom Scharbach May 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm

What, pray tell, are these magical lefty powers that force resignations of Republican political spokespeople?

Fairy dust, Houndentenor, fairy dust. Haven’t you seen “Were the World Mine”? Biological or borrowed, makes no difference. Powerful stuff, that fairy dust.

clayton May 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

At The Daily Beast, Andrew Sullivan has a post titled The Muzling of Rick Grennell. Sullivan says that people inside the Romney campaign told him Grennell resigned because Romneyvwas so acrid of critism from the right that he had forbidden Grenell to speak about foreign policy issues to anyone outside the campaign. Since Grennell had been hired for hid foreign policy expertise, he found the gag order, shall we say, somewhat frustrating.

Jorge May 4, 2012 at 12:54 am

Now that makes sense.

Carl May 2, 2012 at 11:32 am

Any anti-gay decision is always the fault of the left. Romney played everyone brilliantly here – he got praise for hiring a gay man, and sites like IGF are making sure that this departure is seen as another sign of the tyranny of the liberals, while poor Mitt had no choice in the matter.

Tom Scharbach May 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm

But the fact that the left-liberal ThinkProgress and Huffington Post, among others (i.e., our progressive “allies”) were also gunning for him makes their attacks all the more despicable.

The story about the Grenell’s Twits was broken by Politico on April 20, and picked up by the media in following days. The story was widely reported/commented by the blogosphere, left and right.

What, specifically is despicable about Huffington and Think Progress picking up the story and reporting it? Is it your position that “your progressive allies” shouldn’t criticize any gay political appointee for any reason, or report anything negative about a gay political appointee, even when it is news?

Houndentenor May 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

There’s something very wrong here. If everyone had to resign because they said something they probably shouldn’t have in the past, most of the country would have to quit their job. This just doesn’t add up. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. We’ll probably never know what really happened, but criticisms over his tweets did not drive him underground and then to resign.

TomJeffersonIII May 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I doubt very much that Mitt or his campaign staff cares too much what ‘liberals’ or the ‘radical gay left’ thinks. From the perspective of his campaign, he [going into the de facto general] wants to target ‘independent voters’ while also winning over the socially conservative base.

Hiring an openly gay man probably plays well with the ‘independent voters’, but not the socially conservative base, which largely seemed to prefer Rick S. A decision had to be made, within the campaign, about whether or not the appeal to independent voters was worth losing the support of anti-gay, social conservatives.

That Grenell tweeted some sexist comments about Democratic and Republican Party women, probably was not really a major factor in making the decision (unless Mitt’s people were worried that it might alienate Newt ).

Mary May 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Is it possible that this whole thing was staged by the Romney campaign from the start in order to appease BOTH the center and the hard right? Romney appoints an openly gay Republican man who supports marriage equality – and so gets credit from people in the center for being “tolerant.” This appointee smears a insults a lesbian political commentator with pointless remarks (Grennell’s comments that Rachel Maddow needs a necklace) and makes other offensive comments and tweets. The gay Left denounces him as a quisling (which in theory would be the only kind of gay Republican that social conservatives would like) but many socons are still upset about his appointment. The “controversy” about his statements causes him to offer his resignation to Romney – who now has shown moderates that he is somewhat pro-gay personally but convinces socons that he will never really fight for gay rights. Centrist voters forgive him for doing this, knowing that he’s only doing what he has to in order to “keep the base happy.” It’s a win-win for Romney.

Clayton May 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I don’t think it is a “win-win” for Romney. He managed to damage his credibility with his base by appointing an openly gay man to appease moderates, and he damaged his credibility with moderates by failing to support an employee who was facing criticism from the right, who wanted him ousted solely on the basis of his sexuality.

Yes, Grennell also faced criticism from the left (the people Steven dismisses as “radical gay leftists”), but there is a key distinction: the people on the left criticized Grennell for things he did; the right criticized Grennell simply for being gay. Romney was never going to get the “radical gay leftist” vote anyway, so he didn’t need to appease them; he very much needs the votes from his base. He also needs the votes of moderates, and he probably just lost a few. In failing to defend Grennell in any public way, Romney comes out of this looking like the unprincipled flip-flopper that many people already fear him to be.

Carl May 2, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Just look at how quickly this site put the blame on the left. That is likely what the message will be. Romney tried his best to be inclusive, but those liberals foiled him. So now he won’t even have to try, because what’s the point? Poor Mitt.

This was a way to get credit for something he never actually had any plans to do. And it worked.

Jorge May 3, 2012 at 8:28 am

Yes, Grenell’s resignation was mainly due to attacks by social conservatives, triggered by his support for marriage equality. But the fact that the left-liberal ThinkProgress and Huffington Post, among others (i.e., our progressive “allies”) were also gunning for him makes their attacks all the more despicable.

Oh, please. As several people here pointed out, those attacks were based on merit. I believe them, too. His former boss, former UN Ambassador John Bolten, has one of the most arrogant and mean-spirited media personalities I’ve ever seen. Which is fine for a UN ambassador committed to holding the rest of the world accountable. Not so good for a media spokesman or communications guy. It’s not hard to believe Bolten surrounds himself with Yes Men who are just like him.

Houndentenor May 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

The more I think about it, the more I am perplexed by the lack of logic in Stephen’s argument. Were liberal bloggers supposed to give Grennell a pass on obvious flaws in judgment simply because he’s gay? Do gay Republican appointees get special rights? Wouldn’t they have made the same attacks if he’d been straight and tweeted the same things?

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