When Mitt Romney hired Richard Grenell as his foreign policy spokesman last week, some liberals were mad because he made a lot of jokes on Twitter about the anatomy of several female public figures. You'd think conservative Christians would rally to his cause. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? But no, Grenell has done something unforgivable to the American Family Associations's Bryan Fischer and Media Research Center's Dan Gainor: Be an openly gay person.
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Gainor spent the weekend in anti-gay diatribe Slate's Dave Weigel points out, tweeting, "Hiring a gay spokesman who represents all that you say and do? Not conservative." He shrugged Sunday, "Yep, I offended the pro-gay GOP mafia. Horrors." The American Family Association's Fischer (pictured above right) was not so nonchalant. Mediaite's Meenal Vamburkar spotted Fischer's tweets in which he explained, "Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead." Fischer then elaborated on his view in an essay on his organization's blog, Rightly Concerned.
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The essay is quite fascinating. Fischer calls the appointment especially insulting because Romney had just gotten the endorsement of several Christian leaders, including Robert Jeffress, the Dallas pastor who called Romney's religion a cult last fall. Romney has "stepped on a landmine" by giving Grenell a job, Fischer writes. And he's got several suggestions for how the candidate can contain the damage:
For starters, he can answer one question for the American people: “Gov. Romney, is homosexual behavior healthy or harmful? Yes or no?”
If he answers “Yes,” how can he expect the pro-family community to support him? If he answers “No,” then why he is putting someone who engages in such behavior in such a prominent position in his campaign?
"No" appears to be the answer Fischer prefers, though that would mean Romney would be declaring that gay sex is neither healthy nor harmful. Moving on, Fischer explains why having Grenell (pictured above left) in an important job is not just about symbolism, but about the safety of the nation:
If the Secret Service scandal teaches us one thing, it is this: a man’s private sexual conduct matters when we’re talking about public office.
Given the propensity for members of the homosexual community to engage in frequent and anonymous sexual encounters, the risk to national security of having a homosexual in a high-ranking position with access to secret information is obvious.
This is the most amusing part of the essay. To restate Fischer's position: Presidents can't have gay staff because gay people have lots of anonymous sex and the Secret Service scandal shows anonymous sex can cause trouble. But of course, the 11 Secret Service members in trouble were not having anonymous gay sex. They were having anonymous red-blooded Christian heterosexual sex with Colombian hookers. By comparing gay folks to the Secret Service guys, Fischer is conceding the central argument of the "out, loud and proud" "gay lobby," as he calls them: that gay people are pretty much exactly like straight people.
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Finally, Fischer gives Romney six public positions he can take to solidify his Christian conservative bona fides, explaining:
Romney needs to make the following public commitments, and the sooner the better, if he is to have any hope of generating even modest enthusiasm in the base. And he needs to remember that he cannot win without the base. If he’s going to pander, he’d better start pandering in a big, fat hurry.
Get that? Romney doesn't have to be anti-gay, he's just got to say he's anti-gay. And guys like Fischer wonder why they're losing the culture wars.