Steve Schmidt was a “go-to” political strategist and consultant for Republicans when I worked as a operative for the party in the 1980s. We worked on campaigns together and appeared before groups like the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism several times.
Schmidt, “Smitty” to those who worked closely with him, served both President George W. Bush in the successful 2004 Presidential election and Sen. John McCain for his unsuccessful attempt to win the job in 2008.
In McCain’s campaign, Smitty talked the candidate into bringing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin into the fray as the vice presidential running mate.
Unleashing Palin onto the national political stage helped turn politics into even more of a carnival sideshow.
Smitty thought Palin, a “different type of candidate who upset the natural order of things” might upset the celebrity buzz that surrounded opponent Barack Obama.
For a while, it seemed to work. McCain led the polls and Paliln was the focus of much media and voter attention. She attracted the gun fanciers with tales of hunting big game in Alaska. She seemed more she was — which soon became the problem.
In briefings, Palen turned out to be ignorant of policy and shallow when it came to general knowledge of how government worked. She said incredibly stupid things, like claiming she could “see the coast of Russia” from Alaska.
Turned out she has a fondness for bedding college basketball stars while working as a television sports reporter and mysteriously transferred from college to college during her college days. Reports by national poliical journalists uncovered reports of drug use by her and her husband, along with an extra-marital affair or two.
She fell apart in a critical interview with Katie Couric and went rogue with statements and actions that showcased her ignorance and outright stupidity.
Palin brought McCain down but her presence on a national presidential ticket laid groundwork for other pretenders and wannabes — like Donald John Trump.
Smitty realized that Wednesday when he renounced his three decades as a Republican and urged voters to cast their ballots for Democrats in the midterm elections this November.
In a series of tweets on Twitter, Schmidt announced:
29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of The Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.
It is corrupt, indecent and immoral. With the exception of a few Governors like Baker, Hogan and Kasich it is filled with feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders. This child separation policy is connected to the worst abuses of humanity in our history. It is connected by the same evil that separated families during slavery and dislocated tribes and broke up Native American families. It is immoral and must be repudiated. Our country is in trouble. Our politics are badly broken. The first step to a season of renewal in our land is the absolute and utter repudiation of Trump and his vile enablers in the 2018 election by electing Democratic majorities. I do not say this as an advocate of a progressive agenda. I say it as someone who retains belief in DEMOCRACY and decency.
On Ronald Reagan’s grave are these words. “ I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.” He would be ashamed of McConnell and Ryan and all the rest while this corrupt government establishes internment camps for babies. Everyone of these complicit leaders will carry this shame through history. There legacies will be ones of well earned ignominy. They have disgraced their country and brought dishonor to the Party of Lincoln.
I have spent much of my life working in GOP politics. I have always believed that both parties were two of the most important institutions to the advancement of human freedom and dignity in the history of the world. Today the GOP has become a danger to our democracy and values.
This Independent voter will be aligned with the only party left in America that stands for what is right and decent and remains fidelitous to our Republic, objective truth, the rule of law and our Allies. That party is the Democratic Party.
Strong words but also ones that needed to be said.