Friday, April 24, 2009

Dead Man Talking

From the perspective of Real Republicans™, at least. If by some remote chance Steve Schmidt's speech last week wasn't enough, these remarks will surely mean banishment:

Schmidt, the father of hundreds of attacks on Obama, spoke of the president’s political skills with unabashed admiration.

“This was, in my view, the unfinished Bobby Kennedy campaign – the idealism, the passion, the inspiration he gave to people, it was organic and it was real and it wasn’t manufactured at a tactical level in the campaign.”


Schmidt, for his part, granted that Obama had been a success, politically at least, so far – and was harder on his own party.

“As a matter of reality, in the first 100 days, [the GOP] has not done anything to improve its political position with regards to the fact that it has been a shrinking entity,” he said.

Elsewhere in the article, just in case there was any doubt remaining, he says on the record that Joe Lieberman was John McCain's first choice for running mate, and continues:

“It was communicated back to us very clearly from within the party that not only was Senator Lieberman not acceptable, but any pro-choice nominee was not acceptable, [and] it would lead to a floor fight at the convention with an alternate nominee for Vice President put into play.”

In other words: You go into a presidential campaign with the wingnuts you have, not the constituency you wish you had.

Think his efforts to reform from within have any hope? Or should we start placing bets on which Democratic politician's campaign he'll be running next?

Snark aside, it's interesting to contemplate what might have been. Schmidt says in that article, and has said repeatedly elsewhere, that there was always very little chance that McCain could win. While I have my doubts about that, and also think it's an obviously self-serving thing for the guy who ran the losing campaign to say, let's pretend it's true for the moment. That floor fight might have been a good thing for the GOP, from the long term point of view, and I wonder if Schmidt wishes, deep down, that he could have made it happen.

Sooner or later, the Republicans are going to have to have such a fight, because the longer they let the religious right exercise veto power, the longer they'll be the minority party. I suppose it doesn't have to be a sudden change, involving a big showdown (although of course I would love to watch that), but it does seem like the alternative of hoping for a smoother and more gradual transition is going to take at least a generation, and I don't see the business side, or any of the other five strands of the party being any too happy with that.

(h/t: DougJ/Balloon Juice)

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