Jennifer Rubin, the “right” blogger at The Washington Post, gained fame throughout the primaries by obsessively skewering each not-Romney who rose in the polls, even not-Romneys like Rick Santorum she had praised when convenient to use against another not-Romney.
Because of her platform at WaPo and her designation as WaPo’s “right” blogger, Rubin got a lot of attention, and became part of the story in a way which mostly helped Romney even if it damaged the party. The Romney campaign was happy to use Rubin, as she often bragged about speaking with this or that source at the campaign, and Romney even granted her an “exclusive” interview.
But she can’t seem to stop whatever holy war she has going on, and it’s coming back to bite the Romney campaign big time because Rubin ran a screaming headline yesterday over the resignation of Romney adviser Richard Grenell, EXCLUSIVE: Richard Grenell hounded from Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives.
Yet there was no proof in Rubin’s post that Grenell’s resignation was caused by “anti-gay conservatives.” Rubin simply states there was criticism of Grenell from social conservatives and that he resigned, but leaps to a conclusion that one caused the other.
In fact, Grenell had gained the most controversy because of caustic tweets he sent out about other Republicans during the primaries, which he then deleted. As reported on April 20 by Politico:
Mitt Romney’s new foreign policy spokesman, Richard Grenell, writes in with this response to my posts (here and here) on his habit of going after the Gingriches and assorted other prominent Americans on Twitter:
my tweets were written to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous but I can now see how they can also be hurtful. I didn’t mean them that way and will remove them from twitter. I apologize for any hurt they caused.
Think Progress attacked Grenell based on his tweets, New Romney Spokesman Used Twitter For Sexist Attacks:
Hiring Richard Grenell would be like the Romney campaign hiring Rubin; the hiree had made so many enemies through the poison pen that the hiree was more of a liability than a help. It was a bad hire.
Nonetheless, because Rubin wrote it, the anti-Romney media and blogosphere has gone wild with the meme of Grenell being the victim of gay bashing with Rubin as the proof.
Byron York has a more level-headed analysis:
Now, some observers are suggesting that [Bryan] Fischer [of the American Family Association] has so much influence inside the Romney campaign that he could drive Richard Grenell out of his new job. In fact, Fischer has no sway at all inside the Romney campaign, and he didn’t drive Grenell or anyone else out of a job at Romney headquarters. Neither did the other (relatively few) social conservatives who complained about the Grenell hire….
Grenell certainly seemed to direct blame toward the social conservatives who criticized his appointment, although he didn’t say so directly. But it’s also possible that gay politics more generally played a role in recent events.
Grenell is a self-described “activist” for gay marriage. In March, he sharply criticized Jonathan Capehart, an opinion writer for the Washington Post who is gay, for attending a state dinner at the Obama White House but not using the opportunity to confront President Obama over Obama’s opposition to gay marriage. Writing in the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, Grenell accused Capehart of selling out to Democratic leaders like Obama who don’t support gay marriage, while bashing Republicans, even those who have more liberal positions on gay rights.
If Grenell could be so critical of Capehart, who does not work for the administration, for failing to hold Obama’s opposition to gay marriage against him, then why did Grenell accept a position with Romney, who has expressed his own opposition to gay marriage in far stronger terms than Obama? (When Grenell took the job, Capehart shot back that Grenell had “chosen power over principle on marriage equality.”) The answer isn’t clear, but the circumstances of Grenell’s early departure from Team Romney and his own strongly-expressed opinions suggest that gay politics, perhaps not just the opinions of social conservatives, might have played some role in the whole affair. But if Romney’s aides are to be believed, it wasn’t on their end.
What’s so hilarious about the Jennifer Rubin post on this business is she and others cite social conservatives as the bad guy and, more particularly, the left has fingered Bryan Fischer. a guy most people haven’t heard of and who the Romney campaign does not exactly adore or listen to. It’s worth pointing out that the left attacked Romney for hiring Grenell in the first place because they viewed him as a misogynist before he was a gay rights martyr.
What Rubin does not mention. and the reason the left does not really like him, is that Richard Grenell had deleted more than 700 tweets of his that offended a host of people. He’d targeted the Gingrichs, Hillary Clinton, and a bunch of others. As a guy who knows a thing or two about what you probably shouldn’t tweet, even I have never deleted 700 tweets, let alone deleted tweets to get a job. But Grenell did….
Richard Grenell is a pompous jerk who deleted more than 700 tweets to take a job. The Romney camp probably should have exercised better judgment up front. The fact that Grenell and Rubin want to use this opportunity to bash social conservatives and push the narrative that the candidate they support is being held hostage by social conservatives says more about them than social conservatives.
It was a bad hire in which twitter-deleting would have dominated the news cycles for months. It also was a misplaced selection of someone for one position (foreign policy) who was most known for his advocacy and argumentative writings unrelated to foreign policy, another news cycle distraction.
Bad ending. But not the result of gay bashing.
Yet because Jennifer Rubin put one and one together and got three, the Romney campaign now is smeared with gay bashing.
A source close to the Romney campaign denied that Grenell resigned because of complaints about his sexual orientation. Rather, the source said, Grenell had become a story himself, which a spokesman should never do.