What the Richard Grenell affair tells us about the GOP

Time to once again venture back into the murky, controversial world of politics.

I think that there are a lot of reasons for the current deplorable condition of American politics.  As I’ve mentioned before, one of the main reasons for this is the increased polarization of ideologies.  While there is plenty of blame to place at the feet of both parties, I personally feel that the lion’s share is due to the actions of the Republicans.  President Obama, despite declarations by his opponents that he is an ultra-liberal radical socialist, is actually pretty much in the middle of the road.  He has shown on numerous occasions that he is open to compromise.  It is really the Republican leadership and their key supporters who keep drifting to the far right of the ideological spectrum.  This is especially evident in the events of the last few weeks that have taken place within Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

In his quest to become the next President, Romney has attempted to promote himself as a moderate, while at the same time courting the support of the conservative elements of the Republican Party.  In other words, he is trying to play both sides of the fence.  But, as can be seen in the case of Richard Grenell, this is an untenable position.

Who is Richard Grenell?  He is a Republican, a political strategist, a former spokesman to the United Nations during George W. Bush’s presidency.  He was hired to be the foreign policy & national security spokesman for the Romney campaign.

Oh, yes, did I mention that Richard Grenell is also openly gay, and that he has spoken out in support of same sex marriage?

The day after Grenell’s appointment, Bryan Fischer of the ultra-conservative American Family Association was quoted on Twitter as saying “Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.”  Numerous other harsh criticisms from other figures in the Republican Party and the Religious Right followed on from this.

Despite all of Grenell’s knowledge & years of experience, and his endorsement by other former members of the Bush administration, the fact that he is homosexual and he believes in gay marriage is the defining characteristic of the man in the eyes of a significant portion of the Republican Party.  That Romney would appoint Grenell to his campaign was proof to them that their Presidential nominee was nowhere near “conservative” enough.

In reaction to this firestorm, Grenell was reportedly marginalized by the Romney campaign, shuffled off to the side, his expertise not called upon.  After only three weeks, an understandable frustrated Grenell resigned.  Romney’s camp claimed that they attempted to dissuade Grenell from departing, but the fact that they offered such a tepid defense of him in the proceeding weeks rather undermines their supposed loyalty.

The Grenell affair vividly illustrates just how extremist and myopic elements of the Republican Party have become.  This type of inflexible ideological stance has pervaded so many aspects of their platform.  They are no longer willing to compromise on most major issues.  They publicly embrace intolerance.  In this atmosphere, any sort of effective governing is going to be a near-impossible task.

I am not saying that all Republicans are like this.  Unfortunately, those aforementioned ultra-conservative elements are the most influential and vocal, continually dragging the entire Party further and further to the right.  The result is a political climate where the leaders and policymakers of half the government are almost completely out of touch with the moderate, mainstream beliefs held by most Americans.

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3 thoughts on “What the Richard Grenell affair tells us about the GOP

  1. Ben – I recently read about this and was going to write about it in a future Blog. You are absolutely right and, despite beating me to the punch, I might still write about it in my own way, continuing the conversation.

    Like

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