PR Analysis: It’s Tough to Say Which Reason for Hating Richard Grenell Made Him Easiest to Let Go
Followers of Presidential politics are no doubt already aware that Team Romney (Romney is one of the candidates, for the non-followers) recently hired a man named Richard Grenell as a “Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman.” The appointment got a fair amount of media coverage not because Mr. Grenell was a communications director for then-ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton at the time when John Bolton was lying his pants off to the United Nations about weapons of mass destruction (which might actually be relevant to a role in the Romney campaign), but rather because Mr. Grenell is gay and therefore unusual in a Republican campaign. Stop the presses.
No really, stop them, because apparently Mr. Grenell stepped back down from the Romney campaign just 11 days later. Apparently he was hindered in his work by “the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign.” (Translation: the far right flipped out and savaged the Romney camp for hiring the gayz.)
To their credit, Team Romney did not throw Mr. Grenell under the bus. He resigned rather than being fired. But there wasn’t much effort to stop him, and the Romney campaign never did use him to speak publicly on any sort of foreign policy or national security issue during his time with them.
All of which begs the question — what made him so easy to let go? Was it the gay thing, toxic to the lunatic social fringe already unsure about Mittens? The misogynist tweets that opened Romney up to more “War on Women” attacks? The Bush-era associations that basically everyone hates at this point?
Hard to say. When a man that dislikable gets hustled out the back door it’s a genuine challenge for a distant observer to guess why.
For my part, and despite firm statements to the contrary from the Romney camp, I’m going to go ahead and assume that the gay thing was their #1 reason for being glad to see the back of Mr. Grenell. Upsetting social conservatives seems to be something the campaign is genuinely concerned about, whereas offending women or sounding like atavistic throwbacks on the foreign policy front are both things they do repeatedly and, as far as I can tell, gleefully. I’m not sure Mr. Grenell’s deep and glaring flaws on either of those fronts actually seemed like negative characteristics to the schizophrenic hive mind that is the Romney campaign.
But at the end of the day, the departure of someone with so many strikes against him, from so many diverse and competing interest groups, mostly just leaves us with a fun guessing game. I would feel worse about roasting my weenies over the smoldering embers of his most recent career if it weren’t for the whole, you know, lying to help start a war thing.