Sunday, April 19, 2009

Who Is Steve Schmidt and Why Is He Saying Those Things About the GOP?

Steve Schmidt's speech to the Log Cabin (gay) Republicans Friday makes for very interesting reading, and though most people are likely to highlight his advice for the Republicans to get over their opposition to gay marriage, he says a great deal else about the imminent death of the GOP that might give loyal Republicans, not to mention activist Democrats, some pause.

Steve Schmidt's bona fides: He was an acolyte of Karl Rove, a member of the "senior strategic planning group" in the George W. Bush White House, and oversaw the Bush reelection "war room" in 2004. Then he became John McCain's senior day-to-day message manager during last year's disaster.

He told the Log Cabin Republicans on Friday that the Republican Party is shrinking. Most alarming, it's shrinking among voters under the age of 30 and among Hispanic voters. If John McCain had not been on the ballot, he's convinced that the Democrats would have won Arizona last year.

On the issue of gay marriage: " cannot be argued that marriage between people of the same sex is un-American or threatens the rights of others. On the contrary, it seems to me that denying two consenting adults of the same sex the right to form a lawful union that is protected and respected by the state denies them two of the most basic natural rights affirmed in the preamble of our Declaration of Independence -- liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, I believe, gives the argument of same sex marriage proponents its moral force."

Sooner or later, Schmidt believes, the Republican Party will be forced to acknowledge the moral rightness of that argument. Sooner would definitely be better, in his view, for the political health of his party. Later, though foreordained, will likely be too late.

And get this: Schmidt believes that a group's notion of the revealed word of God is not a good basis for a political party's platform: "If you put public policy issues to a religious test you risk becoming a religious party, and in a free country, a political party cannot remain viable in the long term if it is seen as sectarian."

Schmidt was making sense. Can we rest secure in our confidence that the leaders of the Republican Party will not listen?

No comments: