Richard Grenell Resigns From Romney Campaign, Conservative Radio Host Revels

HeatherN wonders why some members of the Republican party are so pleased with the resignation of a gay man as Romney’s spokesperson.

One of the strange things about presidential campaigns is that they will often thrust previously unknown people into the spotlight. I mean, how many people could name Alaska’s governor prior to 2008? Not a lot. Romney’s not even the official nominee yet and his campaign’s already been hit with issues surrounding one of the less well known members of his campaign. Until yesterday, Richard Grenell was Mitt Romney’s spokesperson for foreign policy and national security. If Romney is elected, Grenell probably would have held a high ranking position in his administration. He was going to be a major player. Oh, did I mention Grenell is gay?

Gay republicans aren’t as rare as you might think; there’s even a gay segment of the Tea Party. Yet, until now gay republicans have not been part of major political campaigns or administrations. Well, not openly, anyway. But this is 2012, so one would think that the Republican Party was ready for its presidential campaign to have an openly gay man as a spokesperson. Mitt Romney apparently thought so too, saying that Grenell’s sexual orientation was a non-issue. I guess the rest of the Republican Party disagreed. Well, that’s not exactly fair. I should perhaps say that some very vocal members of the Republican Party disagreed.

Brian Fischer, a conservative radio host, is taking credit for “leading the charge” against Grenell that eventually forced him to resign. What strikes me isn’t so much that Fischer got the ball rolling, but rather that he’s taking credit for it. Apparently forcing someone to quit their job because of their sexual orientation is something to be proud of. It sounds more like bullying to me.

I can’t help but notice the huge difference between how Republicans dealt with having a gay spokesperson in a campaign versus how Democrats have responded when Obama has appointed lgbt individuals to his administration. There have been no calls for resignations for the 225 out lgbt members of the Obama administration because of their sexual orientation or gender. This isn’t to say that the Democrats’ record on lgbt rights and inclusion is flawless, but in light of the Grenell resignation it seems to be well ahead.

What do you think? How will the resignation of Grenell affect the Romney campaign?

What are we saying, as a society, when what is scandalized in one party (hiring a gay man) is praised in another party?

What do you think of Brian Fischer’s apparent pride in “causing” Grennel to resign?


Photo courtesy of Richard Grenell’s Twitter.

About HeatherN

Heather N. is a Californian living in the United Kingdom. In order to survive, she has developed a keen appreciation for the color grey, rain, and sausage rolls. She spends far too much time reading, writing, blogging, and gaming. You can also find her saying witty things on Twitter.


  1. Just a quick update on this story for anyone who’s interested: Fischer is now saying that Romney shouldn’t have allowed Grenell’s resignation because it shows that Romney is spineless and won’t stick to his decisions.

  2. Copyleft says:

    There’s nothing wrong with voting for a third party at the federal level, if you understand how our electoral system works. Remember: We have an electoral college, not a direct popular election. That means that, at the state level, ALL of your state’s votes are going for one party or another.

    Consider: Well over 90% of congressional districts are considered “safe,” i.e., not in serious contention. Therefore, at the Senate and Congress level, the vote you cast literally does not count because that district’s majority (for either party) is overwhelmingly going to win anyway. Your vote for Senator X is a foregone conclusion based on where you live.

    The same applies to the presidency, thanks to the electoral college. Check whether you live in a ‘swing state.’ If you do, your vote for President might count. But if not, your vote won’t make a bit of difference, and you can vote for your actual preference with a clear conscience.

    For example, I live in Georgia. My state’s electoral votes already belong to Romney. My vote can have no effect on that (at the federal level). So I can cast my ballot for President, Senator, Congress, etc., for anyone I genuinely support, third party or no. Romney will still take Georgia just as if I’d voted for him.

    The lower the level, the more chance your vote has of actually making a difference.

  3. This sort of thing frustrates me to no end. I feel like I am left with very little choice in this country, and I might end up throwing my vote away on a third party again this year.

    If I vote for a Republican I’m supporting bigotry and hate. If a vote for a Democrat, I’ll never see the government policies that I support most get implemented.

    When President Obama told America, during his candidacy, that he would “reach across the aisle,” and wouldn’t “pass a health care bill that half of America disagrees with” I was naive enough to believe him.

    When the Economist said that Republicans like Jon Huntsman were closer to the “future of the party” than Rick Santorum, I was optimistic enough to hope that was the case.

    I was wrong both times. I would give anything for better options.

  4. Luckey says:

    Heather, I assume that you did some basic background on Richard and you know about the heat he has been taking from the LEFT about his tweets over the past couple years. Specifically, the ones he made regarding individual elected/official Democratic women that he has criticized. He has been under attack from liberal writers, bloggers, and commentators as a misogynist, anti-women, war-on-women participant for a while now. Not exactly something Romney wants to deal with given the gender gap he is already facing thanks to Rick Santorum’s rants. Now, if that was the cause of his resignation, or if it was some conservative activists opposition to gays, or a combination of both, we’ll probably never know.
    I’d be interested in your opinion of whether Richard’s treatment from the Left was appropriate, since some his tweets were somewhat biting at times, or if you think he was unfairly targeted because he was conservative and gay.

    • I am aware of the criticism of Grenell that came from the left, and personally I think that criticism was warranted. He had some really nasty tweets that he had to scrub quick as he could. Personally, I assume that pressure from within the party would be greater than from outside it. Though, considering this is general election season (and not a primary any more) I’m sure there’s a lot of pressure to appease the people on the fence.

      The reason he gave for resigning was this: “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.”

      To me, that suggests it probably had more to do with Republican reactions to his sexual orientation…but it is vague enough it could also be a reference to the left’s response to his tweets. But, that’s actually besides the point. As I tried to point out in the article, it wasn’t about whether Fischer actually forced Grenell to quit, but rather that he’d actually take credit for it. You don’t see a liberal blog/magazine/etc trying to take credit for it. That’s my point.

  5. Copyleft says:

    If it costs them enough elections, maybe the Republican Party will finally kick its bigots to the curb. Of course, that will leave them without much of a “base,” so it may take awhile.

  6. wellokaythen says:

    Each of the two main political parties has some internal tensions. This highlights one of the tensions within the GOP between different kinds of conservatives. The libertarian wing doesn’t always get along well with the social/cultural conservative wing. One side wants the government to mind its own business about your private life, while the other wants government to maintain particular moral values. There are conservatives who want to decriminalize drugs and others who want to crack down harder on drugs. Free market capitalism and criminalizing consensual activities don’t necessarily mix very well.

    One thing the GOP has been good at, and it’s something that has surprised many Democrats, is promoting conservative people of color and conservative women. They get labeled as tokens, of course, but the Republicans have been good at mobilizing groups that the Democrats hoped they had a lock on: latinos, African Americans, women political activists, etc. Republican appointees have shattered the assumption that women are pacifist and ethnic minorities support restraints on law enforcement. If you’re a feminist hoping for the day when a woman becomes President, be careful what you wish for, because the first female president could very well be an anti-feminist.

    It’s just a matter of time, perhaps, before the GOP brings a gay arch-conservative to the forefront. Watch out for that if you’re a liberal, because the first gay President could very well be extremely conservative in all other areas.

  7. Bullying sounds apt – though Bigotry may fit better!

    Dogmatism and Bigotry have little wiggle room to excuse themselves by joining with other words. – have a look! P^)

    • To be completely honest, part of the reason I used the term ‘bullying’ was because of how bullying has been in the news lately…and the attempts to include exemptions for kids who were bullying because of their religious beliefs.

      • I see where you are coming from – and I have to say, I do think there may be some connection.

        If the fruit comes from the same tree, it does tend to land close together! P^)

        I have always found the Adam and Eve Motif interesting – The Tree Of Knowledge – Evil – and banishment. I always wonder what knowledge was gained, and how one differentiates between good knowledge and bad. Oddly the bible is silent on that matter! P^)

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