Friday, May 4, 2012
The Spineless Presidential Candidate
Mitt Romney presents himself as strong leader who can take on the difficult issues that the nation faces. He presents himself as a man of principle who can face down adversaries.
Mr. Romney currently opposes same sex marriage, but has frequently stated that he defends the other civil rights of gay Americans. He has stated that, aside from depriving gays of the right to marry, he will not discriminate against them. To his credit Mr. Romney appointed Richard Grenell, an openly gay man, as his campaign’s foreign policy spokesman. Mr. Grenell comes with impressive right wing credentials for this post having served as the United States spokesman at the United Nations under four different ambassadors in the Bush administration. One of the most notably conservative of these ambassadors, John Bolton, strongly supported Mr. Grenell’s appointment to the Romney campaign.
Two weeks after he was hired, Mr. Grenell was no longer with the Romney campaign. The religious right denounced the appointment of a gay man to a prominent position and soon Mr. Grenell was gone.
What does this episode tell us about the character of Mitt Romney? Did Mr. Romney, who already has the Republican nomination sewn up, stand by his enunciated principles and support his own appointee? Did Mr. Romney take this opportunity to demonstrate that he is a strong principled leader who cannot be bullied by anyone and that his staff can depend on his loyalty to them? No, Romney without a whisper of protest caved into the demands of the religious right and uttered not a public word in support of Mr. Grenell who made the mistake of being born gay. Apparently gays can serve openly in the US military but not in the Romney campaign.
Mr. Romney’s behavior supports the notion that Mr. Romney, who has changed his well publicized positions on virtually every important issue, is in fact a weak individual who is subservient to those whose favor he is attempting to curry at any given moment no matter how venal their demands. Romney’s views and his people appear to be highly disposable items.
Can the United States afford to have a President who is so easily intimidated and whose only invariant core value appears to be his own advancement? Will allies of the US admire and trust such an individual? Will the adversaries of the US respect such an individual and fear to cross him?
Mr. Romney’s visage is not a profile in courage.