Republican strategist Steve Schmidt usually has a pretty tough assignment when he appears on MSNBC shows as one of their token conservatives. He has to look sane, rational and caring while he counts himself among the party that is trying to gut food stamps, set women’s rights back in this country forty years, and deny the LGBT community equal protection under the law. He has to be a shining beacon of sanity in a sea of crazy so that he has some credibility in the conversation. If he were to go on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and Fox News it up, he’d never be asked back on. Yes, that’s because of MSNBC’s unapologetic left-leaning ideological bent, but the point is that the former chief strategist for the McCain-Palin campaign (good luck living that one down, Steve!) most of the time does a good job of at least saying and articulating the right things.
Last night on Maddow’s show though, his advice for his fellow Republicans wasn’t nearly blunt or specific enough. While discussing the current actions of a party that is recklessly trying to block the country’s forward progress on a number of fronts, Schmidt said that the GOP needs to “dekookify” itself, which is a direct shot at the Louie Gohmerts, Michele Bachmanns and…ahem…Sarah Palins of the right.
My problem with what Steve said is two-fold. First, in choosing a cute term like “dekookify” he dilutes the potency of sociopathy that Republican policies represent now. Secondly, it goes beyond being “kooky.” Republican policies are anti-populist. They are nakedly and aggressively in favor of only the rich and the corporations. They’re cold and unfeeling by policy and they revel in it. Schmidt is right, that there are far too many old, white kooks who think they know how women’s genitalia work in the party. But if people like Steve are going to make an impact in their party and really save it, they have to be blunt, out front and call these people out by name. They need to stop calling them kooks and start calling them what they are, “mean, vile, rude and bigoted people who have no place in our party.”
I won’t hold my breath. Watch Schmidt’s comments below, courtesy of The Rachel Maddow Show