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Could Romney have quelled social conservatives’ concerns about Grenell?

As I blogged earlier today, in writing about the Grenell matter, the Huffington Post’s Jon Ward understood the delicate balance of the conservative coalition.  Given that social conservatives, who represent a key part of the Republican base, remained suspect of the presumptive nominee, his “campaign had to tread carefully in defending its hiring of a man who was not only openly gay but who also had agitated publicly for Obama to reverse his opposition to gay marriage.

This perhaps explains why the campaign was wary of having Grenell speak in a recent conference call on national security.  They perhaps wanted to take a cautious (too cautious and counterproductive in my view) approach to rolling out Grenell, fearing they might otherwise antagonize social conservatives.

Yet, no matter what you do, certain social conservative leaders just won’t be satisfied.  (A few, but not all, just have this need to feel aggrieved.)  In this case, they decided to create an issue where there was none.  The Romney team had tapped Grenell as a spokesman on foreign policy and national security matters, not to advise the candidate on social issues.  And on such (national security) matters, Grenell had a record entirely in the mainstream of American conservatism.

To that end, a statement might not only have reassured Grenell, but also rank-and-file social conservatives (most, less intransigent than their leaders).

The campaign could have offered that they were delighted to have Grenell on board, given his experience and expertise in national security matters, but understood that the incoming spokesman and the candidate had differences on state recognition of same-sex marriage.  “We welcome Republicans of all stripes to our team, even if we do not agree with them on all issues,” adding, “As Ronald Reagan said, ‘The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.‘” (more…)

CNN Wakes Up: The 86 Million Invisible Unemployed

As Glenn Reynolds has said….and I reiterate on Twitter…. UNEXPECTEDLY!!!!!!

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — There are far more jobless people in the United States than you might think.

While it’s true that the unemployment rate is falling, that doesn’t include the millions of nonworking adults who aren’t even looking for a job anymore. And hiring isn’t strong enough to keep up with population growth.

As a result, the labor force is now at its smallest size since the 1980s when compared to the broader working age population.

“We’ve been getting some job growth and it’s been significant, but it hasn’t yet been strong enough that you start to get people re-engaging in the labor market,” said Keith Hall, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center and former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A person is counted as part of the labor force if they have a job or have looked for one in the last four weeks. Only about 64% of Americans over the age of 16 currently fall into that category, according to the Labor Department. That’s the lowest labor force participation rate since 1984.

It’s a worrisome sign for the economy and partly explains why the unemployment rate has been falling recently. Only people looking for work are considered officially unemployed.

Yesterday I noted, also on Twitter (so you may want to follow me!), that I’ve come to conclude Obama & his economic team must have studied “Applied Theories in Martian Economics” rather than understand what truly drives human economic activity.  It isn’t rocket science, but The Most Brilliant President Evah somehow has missed the boat.  Class warfare does not employment make.

Kudos to CNN Money for addressing the Elephant In The Room that most of the rest of the MSM has ignored to this point.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

The stories Barack Obama invents to define himself*

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:58 pm - May 3, 2012.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance,Obama Watch

Why,” asks the Telegraph’s Tim Stanley writing about the excerpt in Vanity Fair from David Maraniss’s soon-to-be released biography of Barack Obama,

. . . didn’t we know all these details four years ago – even though some of them were published in a best-selling autobiography that was sold to us as if it was a fifth gospel? And yet we knew everything there was to know about Sarah Palin, despite the fact that she was in the race for a much shorter space of time than Obama – and only running for veep.

Via Powerline Picks where John Hinderaker, who has read a good chunk of the excerpt, highlights an event that Obama apparently manufactured for his memoirDreams From My Father. Genevieve Cook, a woman he once dated in New York, says he never took her to the theater despite Obama’s claim that he had taken a girlfriend in New York to the show:

No such play, no such dialogue. Maraniss charitably supposes that the event involved a different, later girlfriend in Chicago who was part of the “composite” girlfriend character. But Obama places the play in New York, not Chicago. My guess is that the incident never happened at all: one nice thing about fictionalizing an autobiography and including fake characters is that it gives you license to include events that didn’t happen but, from an artistic standpoint, should have.

When people who read my novel asked if it were autobiographical, I quipped that I changed the facts to make the truth more manifest, but I made clear that I was writing a novel.  I made clear I wasn’t telling the story of my life. By calling his a memoir, Obama indicates that he is telling the story of his.

There is a real question here not just about the misrepresentation, but also about the stories Obama chooses to tell (and apparently invents) to define who he is.

*NB:  Changed the title to more accurately reflect the meaning of the post.

And this story then deserves far greater consideration than inquires into Mitt Romney’s mode of transporting his pet in the early 1980s.  And Ann Romney’s wardrobe.  More on this anon.

UPDATE:  “The composite girlfriend“, writes James Taranto, (more…)

If Romney campaign thought Grenell Flap Had “Blown Over,”
Directive for foreign policy expert to remain silent makes no sense

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:34 pm - May 3, 2012.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

Considering the sources of those who thought Richard Grenell had been “under wraps,” my skepticism have been warranted, but now more details have emerged naming the aide who asked that he not speak on a conference call on national security. This is most bizarre — and counterproductive — move. The best way to allay concerns about Grenell’s conservatism would be to have speak out on his area of expertise.

When you hear a gay man offering a conservative critique of a liberal president’s foreign policy failures, you’re not going to focus on his sexuality, but on that conservative critique.

One wonders especially why the campaign aide issued the directive, given, as Jon Ward pointed out yesterday in the Huffington Post that the Romney campaign thought the Grenell flap had “blown over“.  Indeed, one can perhaps attribute their failure to issue a statement indicating that the campaign was standing by them to that perception.  (Hopefully more on this anon.)

The campaign’s perception does indeed seen warranted.  Until I  had read that Grenell was stepping down, I — and a number of our readers who e-mailed me about the matter — had only heard about one social conservative (Bryan Fischer) criticizing the appointment. (When the story broke, we learned there were others.)  As one reader put it in the comments to my first post on the matter:

Until he resigned I’d never heard of this guy. I think I’m at least somewhat socially conservative and I would have thought that if there was a big enough stink about it to make anything happen, I would have heard of him before now.

Seems that primarily gay conservatives and social conservatives (and those who follow politics closely) were aware of the story.  It makes sense to think the story had “blown over.”

Why then would the campaign direct Grenell to remain silent on the conference call? (more…)

Two Takeaways from Grenell Matter:
Gay man faults Obama’s “weak leadership on the world stage”
& his sexuality was a non-issue to Romney team

Lost in all the hullabaloo over Richard Grenell’s resignation from the Romney campaign are the actual words of his statement announcing his decision:

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.

Emphasis added.  Some of the left have used this story as a cudgel with which to bash conservatives, but they ignore the strong critique this openly gay man offered of Obama’s foreign policy, who cited its many failures and faulted the president’s weak leadership.

And this openly gay man made clear that his sexuality was not an issue to the Romney team.

Perhaps, the Romney team blundered in handling the issue, but, if they did, they did not do so out of animus against gay people.

It is very clear that the presumptive Republican nominee’s top aides (and apparently the candidate himself) very much wanted this highly qualified man on their team.

Others may try to spin this story to fit it into their narrative of an anti-gay GOP, but when you consider Grenell’s words — and the statements of top officials in the Romney campaign — the facts just don’t fit the narrative.  Anti-gay leaders tend not praise openly openly gay individuals.

Instead of looking for some sinister motive in all this, let’s focus instead on those foreign policy failures–and that weak leadership.

Skeptical that Romney campaign kept Grenell “under wraps” [UPDATED]

In all the pieces I read yesterday on the Grenell matter, three stand out, with Jennifer Rubin’s The lesson of the Grenell episode leading the pack.

The Huffington Post reporter Jon Ward, surprisingly enough, pretty accurately (and succinctly) summarized the tensions between Romney and social conservatives*:

Because of his Mormon faith and some moderate positions on social issues, Romney has never been popular with the conservative evangelical base of the Republican Party. Many conservatives say they will still vote for Romney because they so strongly oppose President Barack Obama. But this amounts to a fragile alliance between Romney and these voters.

So the Romney campaign had to tread carefully in defending its hiring of a man who was not only openly gay but who also had agitated publicly for Obama to reverse his opposition to gay marriage.

And on HotAir, Allahpundit denies that this was “some sort of anti-gay purge,” given that “Team Romney continues to praise Grenell publicly”:

. . . if this is . Here’s [Romney senior adviser Dan] Senor saying the campaign was lucky to have him and yesterday campaign manager Matt Rhoades issued a statement insisting that “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.” If you’re trying to placate social conservatives who object to Grenell’s hiring, that’s an odd way to do it.

Said blogger also addresses the issue of whether “Grenell was being kept ‘under wraps’ by the campaign”. I remain dubious of that claim, in part, because of the biases of those with access to the source (CNN, Huffington Post, Andrew Sullivan), but primarily because it doesn’t make sense.  As Allahpundit puts it:

Why try to turn down the heat over Grenell’s hiring by making him lie low when you could have turned him loose as an attack dog against Obama and won conservatives over that way? (more…)

A comment thread which shows the worst — and best — of blogging

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:30 am - May 3, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse

During the day yesterday, I guessed (before checking our incoming traffic) that we had been linked on at least one liberal blog given the number of hate commentscaught in the spam filter.  The filter caught smart comments as well,including fair critiques of my post; perhaps we can attribute those to Glenn Reynolds’s link.  (And at least one clever quip.)

Since I took the day off from blogging, I read more comments than I normally do and chose to rescue nearly every comment, no matter how mean, no matter how jaundiced a view of gay conservatives they offered.

Mike Jackson wondered, for example, if our blog had announced “an internal poll showing approx 22 of 24 writers were voting for John Kerry against Bush over the same sex marriage issue“.  I would not be blogging here if I had not e-mailed Bruce thanking him for his post telling Log Cabin to shove it for failing to endorse W. Although we criticized W for supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), we still supported his reelection.

On the other side of the spectrum, Frank compared Republicans to Nazis:

The Republican party in Louisiana has forcibly filled a building with children, nailed the doors and windows shut, and set it on fire. The analogy to the Shoah is deliberate.

Another dressed up the standard cliche:  “To be gay and conservative, to be black and conservative, to be poor and conservative, is a contradiction in terms.”  Frog in a pot offered said cliche, “To be a gay conservative is the equivalant of a black belonging to the KKK.”  A very unoriginal amphibian he.

These comments showed the worst — and the best — of the blogosphere, the worst those who respond with attacks rather than arguments, the best, those addressing the actual substance of the argument and even teasing out its flaws.

Do hope those who offered the thoughtful comments keep coming back and keep commenting.  And do hope the others learn from their manner of discourse.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  alanstorm questions a left-wing cliche about gay conservatives: (more…)

Andrew Sullivan defines GOP by its most extreme elements

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:57 am - May 3, 2012.
Filed under: Ex-Conservatives,Gay Conservatives (Homocons)

Had a reader not alerted me to Andrew Sullivan’s post excerpting my first post on Richard Grenell’s resignation, I might not have seen the link.  In his post, Andrew quotes me generously and acknowledged the challenges gay conservatives face:

I’ve only ever been a gay conservative (never a Republican), and back in the 1990s, it was brutal living in the gay world and challenging liberal assumptions. I cannot imagine the social isolation of Grenell in Los Angeles today, doing what he did.

Yes, it is brutal living in the gay world and challenging liberal assumptions, but a lot less so today, in large part due to Andrew’s own pioneering iconoclasm and his courage in standing up in the 1990s and into the 2000s to the gay bullies, continuing to speak out even as they vilified him.  We follow in his footsteps on the path he helped clear.

That said, Andrew goes to offer in trying to blame the whole mess on Republicans by the parting shot he offers at the end:  “I mean: what do Republicans call a gay man with neoconservative passion, a committed relationship and personal courage?”  The response he offers is not a pretty one.

Given that the Romney campaign expressed regret at Grenell’s departure and given the evidence that top aides to the former Massachusetts governor asked Grenell to change his mind and remain on the campaign — even enlisting conservative leaders in that effort — it seems that Republicans didn’t smear this supremely qualified foreign policy spokesman as Andrew suggests.  Quite to the contrary.  In making such an effort to keep him on the campaign, they showed how much they valued his experience and particular skill-set.

Instead of smearing an entire political party, Andrew should instead direct his fire at the handful of social conservatives who raised a ruckus at the appointment.  The Romney campaign may have handled this matter in a clumsy fashion, but they didn’t demonstrate any animus against a qualified individual because of his sexuality.

Andrew recalls the brutality of those who dared challenge the liberal orthodoxy.  He should not become like them and define an entire political party by its most extreme elements.