Why I won’t vote GOP, part gabillion

From the New York Times:

Richard Grenell, an openly gay and longtime Republican foreign policy spokesman hired last month by Mitt Romney’s campaign, resigned abruptly on Tuesday after his appointment came under attack by antigay activists in the party.

“We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons,” Matt Rhoades, the Romney campaign manager, said in a statement. “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”

I don’t know much about Mr. Grenell.  What little I knew of him, I didn’t particularly like.  And his selection to be on Mr. Romney’s campaign staff was hardly enough to make me consider voting for him.

But it was a small, shimmering little flicker of hope that maybe the Republican party might ever so slowly be edging away from its rigidly anti-gay stance.  Sadly, that little flicker has been blown out.  The deeply homophobic elements within the party apparently hold enough sway over its agenda that an openly gay aide to the presumptive nominee lasts nary a fortnight.

So, once again I am reminded why voting Republican is totally out of the question for me.  And I can’t imagine it changing for a long, long time.

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. Reading this causes me to feel like words such as homophobic are profane. Thank you, Russell.

  2. “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons,” Matt Rhoades, the Romney campaign manager, said in a statement. “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”

    Count the lies. I see at least 4.

    • …Without even calling him unqualified. That’s a dense-pack alright — although really, it’s the same lie told four times.

      • I see

        1. “We are disappointed” No, you’re pleased the issue went away.
        2. “his own personal reasons” Prejudice against gays is a societal problem, not a personal one.
        3. “We wanted him to stay” Same as 1
        4. “he had superior qualifications”. He’s a media hack.

  3. I have a rule. Some of my friends and family get uncomfortable because I often say it in awkward company, but: Never vote for a Republican. Ever. For anything.

    • It is truly unfortunate that we have come to this place in our politics. Though I am more inclined toward a fusion of liberalism and libertarianism in my own politics, I think it is quite valuable to have a sane, cogent voice for conservatism in civic discourse. I think every political view needs to be balanced by thoughtful people who think differently, even if I don’t agree with them.

      But there is no way I could vote for the Republican Party right now. Simply no way. And I think it makes us all poorer.

      • Humbly and quietly, I’d like to ask you to reconsider. Not for executives or legislators, because a vote for Brown is a vote for Ryan. But at least hereabouts we elect our judges — and it’s possible for a Republican judge to be the best pick. In the judicial branch, people are less likely to be pressured by their party — in fact, one can actually ask what the party brings to the table for the candidate (and that’s probably not much).
        At least have a look, occasional-like?
        /registered Democratic rabblerouser.

          • I voted Republican for my state Senator. It’s the first Republican vote I ever cast in my life, and it was a tough call between him and the Democrat because they were both well-qualified and both decent honest men. You wouldn’t agree with my state Senator on everything (I sure don’t), but if you met him I don’t think you could call him rotten.

          • How has he voted in office? With his party on all major votes, or independently according to some other notion of the good?

  4. Okay, so social conservatives are okay with gays, so long as they don’t marry, adopt kids, teach kids, or hold jobs? Or it just jobs in teaching, politics, or medicine? Is it okay to rent them rooms? I’m just asking.

    As for Romney, serious question- do you think he’s got the sinking feeling that he’s gonna be nailed on this one? Because I really don’t honestly see the born again Christians not voting for him regardless, in spite of their bluster to the contrary, and I can see this looking bad to non-born agains.

    • “Okay, so social conservatives are okay with gays, so long as they don’t marry, adopt kids, teach kids, or hold jobs?”

      Yes. Which is why the Bachmann crowd is so giddy about the new Gay Cryo-Freeze Initiative, the new proposed federal program where we will just store them till we discover the cure.

    • But seriously, as to your real question, more than anything Romney seems to me to be perpetually stuck in reactive mode.

      I can easily see him floating a gay cabinet member late Summer early Fall when the base is committed to beating Obama and he is trying to draw more of the center. I think it’s just now, when the base os so precarious in its support, that he is reacting by (depending on who you believe) either giving Grenell the boot or storing him in the closet and pretending he doesn’t exist until later.

      • Maybe. I just keep thinking that there must have been a presidential way for him to have handled this one, but this sure wasn’t it.

    • Okay, so social conservatives are okay with gays, so long as they don’t marry, adopt kids, teach kids, or hold jobs?

      You forgot “…and stay in the closet or the clergy.”

    • I know of people who would, if in the position and if possible, choose not to rent a room to (or even give shelter to) a gay couple for fear of condoning their being gay. Fear, I think, is very much what underlies this disposition. According to some strands of socially-conservative thought, well being gays shouldn’t exist (being gay is a sinful disorder that should, in theory, lead to misery); the fact that they do threatens those who hold such a worldview. If this worldview is to be believed, gay marriage will usher in social ruin. But obviously we’re not seeing that, and we’re not going to see it, because it’s all based on irrational, fear-based speculation that has no relation to reality. There’s value to social conservatism–I’m in that camp myself on some issues–but too many social conservatives have been downright stupid in regards to gays by fostering fears, hatreds, and by not facing obvious facts: like gay people can and do love. There’s nothing–nothing!–a gay person wouldn’t do for his or her beloved that a heterosexual person would do. Yet, to hear some people pontificate, being gay is all about sinful lust and licentiousness. Stupid, just stupid.

  5. “floating a gay cabinet member”
    and if he or she weighs less than a duck, the base will require he or she be burned for a witch

  6. Okay, so another question: how are Romney supporters going to spin Mitt’s total fecklessness on this one? My vote goes to “Grenell couldn’t handle the heat- that’s not Romney’s fault,” although “Obama threw Rev Wright under the bus!!!” is a close second, followed by “Obama ate a dog!!!!”

    • They already are, as Tom pointed out in another thread. The message to the right is that the guy is gone; the message to the middle is that they begged him to stay but he left without any input form them.

    • Actually, the first “spin” is exactly how I take it.
      The man took a position, and he didn’t want his job to become more about who he is personally than his job performance.
      And he probably understood that his sexuality was going to become a hot-button issue for the next several months– from the the Right and the Left– to be scrutinized in every detail.

      And you want to fault the guy because he didn’t want to be the big standard-bearer for “the cause.”

      If he wanted to be the standard-bearer for the cause, it’s likely that he would have chosen that in the first place, rather than a position within an election campaign.

      AFAIK, the campaign would have been fully within their rights to say, “Look, you’re gay– you gotta go.”
      But that’s not what happened. (unless you’re intent on reading that into it)
      What happened was the man said, “I don’t care to be that public with my private life.”
      I don’t either, to be honest about it.
      My methods are somewhat different. That’s all.
      Personally, I would have provided very intimate details that go way beyond the pale, just to provoke discomfort immediately. Then, when the discomfort of the other party becomes plain– regardless of how intimate of details I might need to provide in order to make that happen– hammer it in. Make them sorry they ever asked about it, and make darned sure they never ask again.
      But I realize I’m sort of odd that way.
      Facts are simply that– facts. And history is simply that. Facts and history tell you more about the circumstances of a person rather than the person themselves. But not everyone understands that.

      • Will, the inconvenient facts are that the man was unable to perform his job while on the campaign due to the reaction of his parties base. Yes he claims he quit on his own but whether the truth is he quit because he realized he was useless to Romney or because Romney or a Romney party official told him “we need your resignation asap” it’s an indictment on the GOP and Romney either way.

        • Somehow, I think he likely agreed with the candidates positions to take the job in the first place.
          Which would mean that he’s more concerned about “the economy” and “jobs” rather than “the gay economy” and “gay jobs.”
          While you like to think that the guy quit because of the reaction from the base (which, even though I write on a conservative blog with 54 other contributors), I have never heard mention of it from the Right.
          Where I hear about it is from the Left– that they feel the need to take it upon themselves to publicize the man’s sexuality as much as humanly possible.
          Again, if he wanted to be the standard-bearer, he would be.
          Be obviously values some manner of privacy in his personal life more than he values being thrust forward to be the unwilling standard-bearer of the gay cause.
          Even now, I see more of a focus about how homosexual the man is rather than how qualified in his job he is.
          I haven’t heard mention of his education yet. It’s not a concern.
          Not a word about his student loan debt, even though that seems like a hot issue these days.
          About all I can tell you about him is what manner of sex organ he had in his mouth last.
          Other than that, no one really cares about ol’ what’s-‘is-name.
          Make that “what’s-‘is-gay-name.”
          Let us never forget that the man is, first and foremost, a homosexual.

          • Oh come on Will that’s an utter canard. We’re talking about Grenell; a Bolton student; a fire breathing polemicist who’s spent his career verbally flame-throwing liberals and rhetorically carpet bombing female liberals in particular in a most hair raising manner pretty much the entire time quite out in the open about his sexuality. Who on earth is naive enough to think that this guy firstly couldn’t even speak for the Romney campaign and then decided to quit because suddenly the liberals were observing he was gay? God(ess?) knows liberals have said much worse things about him than that he was gay!

            Liberals said unpleasant things about him before, liberals said unpleasant things about him after. The only thing that changed was that he was instructed by how own bosses to remain silent and out of the open because suddenly he was working for the flagship campaign of the national party and because suddenly people were observing his sexuality (in a positive manner!) as a sign that maybe Mitt was a moderate on the gay issue.

            I mean do you honestly thing that Grenell’s asbestos skin turned to silk? Honestly?

          • News to me. First time I’ve ever heard of the guy.
            Maybe to people way more involved in politics than me, the name means something. To me, no.
            I’m not even sure what he did in the campaign.
            All I know is that it’s a Democrat talking point now that the Republicans are so anti-gay that this gay fellow left the campaign.
            I say it’s better left taking the man at his word, and leaving it at that.
            If you want to be a conspiracy theorist, you can always look up “The Illuminati” on youtube.
            Because if what you’re telling me now is true, then they knew that he was gay a long time ago and hired him anyway; ie they did not see that as disqualifying him for the job.
            So if that suddenly somehow disqualifies him for the job, then why did they hire him in the first place?
            Does not compute.

          • Will, first of all, I am deeply unmoved by the veracity of the statement released by the Romney campaign. Political campaigns are… shall I say, sometimes inexact when describing things.

            Secondly, I have certainly been aware of this man and his Tweets for the past two weeks. And I read very critical things about his selection from the Right in the lead-up to his departure. Perhaps you missed them, but they were most definitely there.

            Thirdly, I actually don’t think his being gay was a disqualification for working on the Romney campaign per se. I think it redounds to their credit that they hired him, which is one of the few nice things I have to say about them. I know at least one gay guy personally who worked for Romney on the state level, and I don’t believe the candidate is personally anti-gay. Who is? The party’s base, which still sufficiently controls the direction of the party writ large to hound this guy out of his job. And if that contingent is that powerful in that party, then I won’t be voting for that party. Ever.

          • Yeah, Grenell’s a veteran Bolton school full throated insane Neocon. Now granted IMO the whole Iraq thing should probably disqualify any Neocon from serving in any capacity as a “foreign policy adviser” ever again, but I digress…I tend to come from the international relations tradition of dealing with objective reality…

            Anyway, Sullivan’s done some leg work on the subject and it appears that in fact the Romney campaign went out of its way to try to muzzle him in public and keep him out of the picture.

            Also for the last, fucking time. It’s Democratic, not “Democrat”. The least you can do is do us the courtesy.

          • Will, I’m struggling to remain sympathetic to your asserted position here. If you don’t know who Grenell is, don’t know the background of his departure and don’t know the details of the kerfluffle then how can you be so confident in your sweeping statements and indictments of the people who brought him up? You don’t follow politics closely? Laudible I guess, many people have better things to do but we’re, uh, talking politics here.
            Also conspiracy theories? The phrase “I want your resignation on my desk in an hour” is such a common phrase it’s cliche. It’s absolutely no conspiracy theory to note that many many “resignations” are just terminations of a slightly different color.

      • Oh, brother! Okay, let me respond to you here. This: “And you want to fault the guy because he didn’t want to be the big standard-bearer for “the cause.” is absolute 100% bullshit. I didn’t fault the guy. Nor did the original post. Actually, I didn’t give any opinion whatsoever about his quitting or the man himself. None.

        What I did do was fault Romney for being a coward. Why? Because he picked the guy and then, when the guy he picked was coming under fire that most of us would have classified as pure, uncut hysteria, he left him to dangle in the breeze, instead of sticking up for the guy he’d picked. The word, again, is feckless.

        This stuff about how you never heard about any of this from your conservative friends, so it must be a left wing lie, is disingenuous. The rest of us heard about it when Jennifer Rubin broke the story on her “Right Turn” blog. Rubin is very much a Republican and definitely a conservative and this was her scoop: “EXCLUSIVE: Richard Grenell hounded from Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives.” Okay? So we got the crazy idea that Richard Grenell had been hounded from the Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives, like the ones she linked to from such obscure publications as the National Review. Again, the guy was a fishing national security adviser, so the fact that he was gay, or supports gay marriage, or pisses off liberals by making fun of Rachel Maddow in his “tweets”, really has no fishing bearing on his national security views. And my opinion on all of this is that, when he was taking heat from “anti-gay conservatives,” or Twitter-reading liberals for that matter, Romney should have called bullshit on it, and probably would have done so, if he had a sack. Does it mean the guy would have stayed? Who knows! It just means Romney wouldn’t have looked like a putz. That was my point. If you want to disagree and say that Romney is a portrait of courage, feel free to do so.

  7. This has me wondering…

    The good doctor’s rationale for not voting Republican is that there is a sizable contingent of Republicans/conservatives who are virulently anti-gay. I also know more than a few people of color and women who would not vote R because they consider a sizable contingent of Republicans to be virulently opposed to the specific interests of those groups.*

    My question is this: Are there identifiable demographic groups who would never vote D because they feel as if a sizable contingent of Democrats are virulently opposed to them and/or their interests. Obviously, an ideological group like “conservative” would feel this way, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Have Dems driven away large subgroups of the population because of the actions of some of their members? I would think that maybe certain religious groups, but I don’t know. And, while this may be indicative of my own bias, that does not seem to be an apples-to-apples comparison, as religious people still make up a majority of both parties and all candidates tend to embrace their faith in a way quite disparate from how Republicans have embraced the gay community.

    I’m not going to weigh in on whether these perceptions are accurate or not and whether the GOP is truly anti-gay or anti-POC or anti-woman. That is not the point. I am really only interested in the perception of these groups and the extent to which both groups have alienated identifiable subgroups to the point of taking a stand as the good doctor has taken here.

      • Can Born Again Christians point to a situation like Russell has here that make such a vote impossible? Or would it be a series of microaggressions (a term I am quickly falling in love with), real or perceived? I’m not refuting them as a group… just trying to get a sense of their perception of Democrats.

        I’d really love to hear from anyone here who has the same view of Republicans that Russell has of Democrats for reasons related to self and identity.

        • I dunno. Roe v Wade? Or maybe the Party statements in support of Roe v. Wade anyway.

          • Also the teaching of creationism/ID/”the controversy” in public schools, or really anything that leans toward secularism.

        • Dominionists can point to the removal of religious scriptures from the public sphere (ten commandments, prayer at school, etc). That’s a singular ISSUE, if not a “just one legislative law.”

    • Not any demographic groups that I can think of. Contrary to popular belief, evangelicals will and do vote for Democrats; same thing is true for members of the military.

      But I strongly suspect that gun enthusiasts are overwhelmingly Republican voters. If I cared to, or you did, we could surely come up with a variety of other interest groups or cleavages that break in the GOP’s direction with the same degree of monolithism as, say, African-American votes for Democrats.

    • The main reason that the Dems lost the unions as a solid voting bloc is gun control.
      That simple.
      Welfare is the big No. 2.

    • Kazzy, I’d submit that the Dem’s weakness; a general amorphous party policy and an utter lack of party discipline; makes the phenomena of interest groups absolutely being unable to vote for Dems less common. You can find Christians, pro-lifers etc in the Dem fold and holding office as Dems.

    • Thanks everyone. Gun owners and other groups of similar ilk are more ideological in nature and less “identity”, though I may be severely underestimating the extent to which a gun owner might consider that a major aspect of his identity. Religious folks are probably the closest thing, though I wonder if they’d articulate it the same way that Russell did here.

      North might have the apt hypothesis, that the phenomenon is unique to the GOP while the Dems have their own unique ability to drive away potential voters.

      Please note that if this phenomenon does prove to be uniqueky Republican in nature, that is not necessarily a knock on them. I was just genuinely curious.

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