The Courage of One’s Convictions
(appearing in the Thursday, May 17th, edition of The Lakeville Journal)
Mitt Romney should have read my first book, Edgar Allan. In it, a minister and his white family adopt a black child, for all the right reasons: it will be good for the child, good for the family’s own kids, good for the community in which they live. The time setting is 1969.
Everything goes swimmingly until the community decides it’s not so crazy about having a black child in town. It pressures the family to return the child to the adoption agency. There is tension within the family itself, and finally, unhappily, the minister gives in.
Whereupon the man’s parish fires him.
One of the lessons of this very short book is that if you take a stand, you had best be prepared to fight for it.
What has this to do with Mitt?
His campaign, as you remember, hired a man as head of its foreign policy efforts. In effect, he was to be the spokesman for Romney’s campaign on matters foreign and diplomatic.
The man, Richard Grenell, happened to be gay. Further, he had been vocal in his support of gay marriage. Worse, or better, depending on your point of view, he had considerable experience in his field.
But another man who was not gay, Bryan Fischer, a radio talk show host, and a conservative, was not at all happy.
Romney’s campaign buckled under Fischer’s scorn. It refused to defend its choice except tepidly. It asked Grenell not to speak publicly. About anything. Grenell resigned.
Said the rabid Fischer then, “If Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin?”
What was the Romney campaign doing but trying to placate the newly vocal far right in its own party? It was trying to give Mr. Fischer what he asked for. Appeasement is another word for this kind of effort.
And “appeasement” is a dirty word in both major political parties.
Many followers of domestic politics were not surprised by the Romney camp’s reversal. “Flip flop” is the common phrase.
But in this case, given the hysteria that surrounded this topic generally, one would have thought the campaign would have taken this
opportunity to show its determination and its fiber. It certainly wouldn’t have been necessary to endorse the views of Mr. Grenell.
That in itself was not the key to this keruffle. But what was, and here even Mr. Fischer had hit on something important, was backing up your advisors, your choices, eventually your cabinet and judicial selections.
This doesn’t auger well for a President Romney.
What really hurts Romney is that millions of Americans are desperate to vote for someone in whom they can believe.
The Democrats think they have found their man. Romney should have been the Republicans’.