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Posted at 08:09 PM ET, 05/01/2012

I hope this isn’t why Ric Grenell resigned


Say it ain’t so. (Stephen Hilger - Bloomberg News)
Tuesday afternoon, word surfaced that recently appointed Romney foreign policy spokesman Ric Grenell had resigned.

In his statement to my colleague Jen Rubin, he said:

“I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.”

Since he made the statement, others have posited that he resigned because he’d previously posted insulting tweets about a range of notable ladies.

I hope so.

I hope it wasn’t because of his sexual orientation.

I hope this for dozens of reasons.

I hope we don't still live in a country where people decide whether you can do your job for reasons that are totally unrelated to whether you can do your job. Even “Mad Men” is moving beyond that.

I hope people like Bryan Fischer, who routinely tweeted things like, “Muslim inbreeding producing disabilities among children in UK at 3 times rate of national average” and “Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead,” didn’t get the last word.

I hope we don't live in a world where you have to choose between being who you are or standing up for what you believe.

I don't think we do. Richard Grenell worked in the Bush administration and for Bush’s U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, and this wasn’t a problem. Sure, John Bolton’s idea of diplomacy seems to be to stare disapprovingly over his mustache at the other guy until he quails, but they seem to have worked as a team.

We were a country, I thought, where Mrs. Campbell’s statement that “I don't care what you do in the bedroom so long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses” applied.

Where you could do whatever you wanted in the privacy of your own home and then go out and stick your ballot into whatever box you wished without fear.

Where you could look at the issues and think, “Well, actually, budgets are one thing I don't want large and uncut,” and vote accordingly.

Where you could volunteer for campaigns and work for people who shared your ideas about taxation without having to walk past mobs waving signs and chanting that you were wrong to do so because of who you were. Where you didn’t have to leap through flaming hoops with legs of mutton in your mouth in order to serve the cause you wanted to serve.

After all, when a plumber comes to your house and says, “Hello there, I am an expert plumber,” you don’t shun him on the grounds that he is not tall enough.

People don’t tell me, “Sorry, Alex, you’re a female heterosexual under 30. You have to vote Obama.” At best, they strongly hint it, but they have to make up a War On Women to do so.

Everyone seems to appreciate the right not to be penalized for things that you don't choose to be — male, female, black, white, gay, straight, tall, short.

But the right not to suffer for things you do choose to be — conservative or liberal, for instance, believer or non-believer; that is often underrated. Especially the right to choose to be things that are not necessarily the norm for your age or your gender or your background. Yet this right is absolutely essential if we want to remain a society with perspective.

I hope we are.

But I worry.

The idea that you can agree with people on some things but not on everything, that you can agree on what is most important and leave the other issues for later, seems to be wilting faster than you can say, “Extinction of Blue Dogs.”

So I really hope Ric Grenell stepped down because of those tweets he had to scrub and the Web site he had to take down where he rubbed people the wrong way. That’s possible. An inability to speak pleasantly to people can be a liability in a spokesperson.

The other possibility is too terrifying.

When a whole movement cuts off people who want to contribute because a few fringe yellers think the most important thing about them is whether they love him or capital H-i-m, we all suffer. And when other people insist that you can’t decide for yourself what issues are most important to you because of whom you love, we lose again. If talented people can't do things for reasons other than that they lack the ability to serve, we're all worse off.

So I hope it was the tweets.

By  |  08:09 PM ET, 05/01/2012

Tags:  Romney

 
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