The last few days have been pretty interesting when it comes to politics. Mitt Romney made a huge mistake when he, or a member[s], of his team pushed out Ric Grenell, who is gay, and was his foreign policy spokesman.
Michael Kinsley of Bloomberg News said this:
“Grenell was told to sit in on conference calls with reporters and not say anything, which is tantamount to firing him. He was told to be silent not merely on gay issues. He was told not to talk about anything, even foreign policy. A spokesman who is not allowed to speak — even internally –doesn’t have much of a job. So Grenell quit, three weeks after he was hired.”
This was a big mistake by team Romney, and that is the case even if Kinsley does not have the details exactly right.
Team Romney was likely worried about the evangelical segment of the Republican Party, because many of them would not be OK with a gay person working for the nominee. But that is where Romney made the big mistake, because this was a chance for him to separate himself from the social conservatives that really tend to scare the independent voter.
If Romney would have went to Ric Grenell , asked him to say, and then given a speech about the importance of showing tolerance even when people do not agree with someones way of life, he would have taken the race to a whole new level. The support he may have lost in the evangelical community would have been offset by the respect he would have gained by everyone else, including the media.
A indomitable candidate would have shown that he was confident enough in his own skin, and in the speech would have said that it is time for the Republican Party to stop judging people by the sexual identity. Romney could have said sexual orientation was a non-issue, much like Eric Fehrnstrom reportedly said when the team interviewed Grenell in the first place. Republicans can disagree about what they feel the definition of marriage is, but what will doom the party in the appearance of treating other people differently.
Social conservatives are important, no one is doubting that, but I suspect they will not stay home or vote for Obama because Romney comes out and gives a speech on how the party has to rise above the division of fighting gay marriage.
Mitt Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom states that “voices of intolerance” arose after the campaign announced the hiring of Grenell, and that those voices led to his quitting the team.
“I will say that of course there were voices of intolerance that expressed themselves during this debate — that was unfortunate,” said Fehrnstrom, adding that “Mitt Romney has confronted those voices of intolerance, he did it last October on stage at the Values Voters Summit, where he denounced some of the poisonous language that is being used by some of the same people who had criticized Ric Grenell’s appointment.”
I agree, he did take that step when someone attacked his faith, but in this situation, he did not step up, and do what he should of. I know many conservatives do not believe that Romney should have ever hired the guy. If the party wanted to nominate a social conservative, Rick Santorum would have one the nomination, but he came up short.
This election is going to be about the economy, and with that will be a debate about the proper size and scope of the federal government. The federal government has grown all too powerful, and it needs to be scaled back. Passing a defense of marriage act banning gay marriage is the wrong direction if the goal is to limit government power. I’ve never understood this about social conservatives, how can you want the federal government to have the power to tell people who to marry, and then say you favor smaller government. In fact, you favor a government that has the power to make the laws you want, there is nothing limited about that.
A truly limited government will at times mean people get to do things many others do not agree with, but as long as it does not directly harm them, then there is nothing the government should be involved with. Most crime has a victim, and that is why we want government involved, to protect people. It is part of the governments basic function. What is not part of it is the right to tell someone who they can marry.
It is disappointing in Romney for not coming out stronger in defense of Ric Grenell. It does not help his case, the American people may or may not be excepting of gay marriage, but it is moving in that direction. Young people tend to not care what people do with their private lives. What people will not be excepting of is a party that discriminates against someone just because of sexual orientation. That is the way it should be.