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?
The only defense for such a directive would be that the campaign had not yet briefed him on the issues under consideration and wanted to make sure he was on message. Still, getting him to speak out on this call would have helped shift the focus to where it should be: from his sexuality to his foreign policy expertise.