WHEN MITT ROMNEY roams the halls late at night in one of his mansions, or rides up and down in his car-elevator because it makes him sleepy, what one word do you think he hopes voters will think of when they think ”Mitt Romney” come November?
No, not “plutocrat.”
I am going to put aside my liberal bias and say the first word should be… “smarmy!”
No, no, that’s not right, either. I mean “courage.”
I know this is the word because Mr. Romney has told us so. Mitt wants us to understand that even though he said last time he was running for president, that it wasn’t worth spending a lot of time and money to catch one person (Osama bin Laden), and that Barack Obama was wrong to vow to go into Pakistan if necessary, well, if he had been sitting in the White House on the night of the terrorist mastermind’s demise, sure he would have made the same call. Send in Seal Team 6.
Even Jimmy Carter, he insisted, or some random Girl Scout would have done the same.
And oh yeah, Mitt Romney would like voters to know (and all the right-wing voices raised in howling chorus absolutely agree), that their side would never have spiked the football and politicized a great moment for all Americans. Except, of course, the man who gave the actual raiders the actual order to go ahead. And no, that wasn’t George W. Bush who landed on that aircraft carrier, and yes, as Dick Cheney promised, we were going to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we just couldn’t find them And has anyone really held President Obama’s birth certificate in their hands, or his Harvard transcripts, or Sasha’s library card?
Or…oh, the hell with it…you’d understand if you were a rabid Fox News fan.
BY CONTRAST, MR. ROMNEY’S courage has been on display this week and last, especially when it comes to gay rights issues, including his little-noticed but ‘courageous’ decision to take out one of his own policy advisers.
At first glance, an unbiased observer might imagine that Richard Grenell -the unfortunate adviser in question-hired by the Romney campaign in April, had impeccable conservative credentials. Grenell worked at the U. N. during the Bush administration and advised four U. S. ambassadors, including John Bolton, during those grim times when talk of weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds filled the news, and we were told we had to attack Iraq, pronto.
So, Ric, as he is known, got the job and as part of his duties organized a conference call for his new boss, so that the Governor might speak to dozens of news outlets round the globe about foreign policy initiatives. Moments before the conference was to begin, however, Grenell was informed that he would not be allowed to speak.
Now if you’re a true patriot, you’re thinking, “Thank god, the plot to blow up the ‘Romney 2012′ campaign was discovered before it was too late.” You’re imagining that Grenell was probably a member of a Muslim sleeper cell.
But no. It’s worse than that!
Luckily, Bryan Fischer, a right-wing radio talk show host, uncovered the truth in the very narrowest nick of time: Mr. Grenell was gay.
“The reason I was concerned is that this, I believe,” Fischer told stunned listeners, “was a shout-out on Governor Romney’s part to the homosexual lobby, because he knew that Grenell was a homosexual activist.” For Fischer the problem was clear: “Richard Grenell could not possibly have been the only qualified individual that Governor Romney could find…If it wasn’t about homosexuality, then why did so many gay rights groups celebrate the hire?”
Call me dyslexic, but I read that statement, and I swear that Mr. Fischer, the freedom-loving talk show host, is actually admitting that Grenell is qualified, except for a little gayness, which apparently rubs off on any conservatives who get too close.
Leave it to Fischer, then, to sum up the kind of leadership we can expect from a President Romney, “[He] may not do the right thing out of political conviction, but he will do the right thing out of political expediency, and this I think would be an example,” Fischer noted. “This is what I think is good for the pro-family community…I think it’s going to be a long time before he hires another homosexual activist in a prominent position in his campaign.”
IT’S A MINOR STORY, what happened to poor Mr. Grenell- unless you’re Grenell- or you’re actually against discrimination.
Set against a new background this week, in which President Obama comes out in support of gay marriage, which Romney opposes, then has to admit to being the leader of an attack on a gay student when he was in prep school, it’s just one more piece of a sorry, sorry puzzle. Maybe the “homosexual lobby” isn’t really the problem. Maybe discrimination in employment is; maybe homophobic attitudes linger just below the surface on the right, blinding them with a toxic mix of fear and hatred.
Maybe the real problem with Mitt Romney, in the final analysis, is his willingness to take any position, even if it means calling for an end to the food stamp program and reversion to cannibalism if this will help him placate his crazy base.
Here’s what we now know about Mitt Romney, should he ever take a seat in the Oval Office. We know, from his prep school days, that he might be willing to have his aides hold you down while he gives you a haircut, as his suspected gay classmate found out. And we know if gays are spotted, even as members of his own administration… certainly if two are headed to the altar together, that President Romney will act forcefully and without hesitation.
Send in Seal Team 6.
Take out that wedding cake!