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.