Steve Schmidt Warns GOP Risks Becoming The Religious Party

Steve Schmidt has a warning which might have come too late. Fox reports:

John McCain’s top adviser from the presidential campaign urged fellow Republicans on Friday to warm up to gay rights and warned that the GOP risks becoming the “religious party” with its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Steve Schmidt, in his first political appearance since the election, spoke at the Washington, D.C., convention for the Log Cabin Republicans — a grassroots group for gay and lesbian Republicans.

He urged Republicans, in the near-term, to endorse civil unions and stop using the Bible as rationale for gay-marriage opposition.

“If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party,” he said. “And in a free country a political party cannot be viable in the long-term if it is seen as a sectarian party.”

Schmidt, whose sister is a lesbian and who supports same-sex marriage, said he understands the Republican Party probably won’t reverse its resistance to same-sex marriage anytime soon.

But he suggested that the party will be increasingly marginalized if it sustains that opposition long-term.


  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    If only Mr. Schmidt and the rest of the McCain Campaign had remembered this fact during the actual election, Senator McCain might have actually received the significant percentage of independent votes the Republicans who nominated him were sure would catapult him to electoral victory. Instead they ran a campaign geared to please many of the very pundits and evangelists with whom Senator McCain had feuded in the past. Prior to the end of both party primaries, I had said on a couple of occasions that I was seriously considering voting for John McCain is Hillary Clinton was nominated.  When Barack Obama was nominated, I still had an open mind about possibly voting for John McCain because of my agreement with the Arizona Senator on the issue of amnesty.

    The McCain Campaign completely destroyed any chance of winning my vote as the general election took off, as it became clear that they had decided to run as the Generic Republican Ticket instead of the McCain Ticket.

    I should note, of course, that I am not an independent myself. I am a registered Democrat and most certainly a liberal. However, I have always liked and respected Senator McCain because of his support for amnesty and his sponsorship of the McCain Boxing Reform Act. I would have been willing to risk the John McCain of 2000 as president, with a Democratic Congress. When he backed away from amnesty and rode hard to the right on social issues, he lost his chance. Boxing alone was not going to pull it off.

  2. 2
    Christopher says:

    Risks becoming the religious party?

    They are the religious party already. This is the natural evolution of the so-called “Southern Strategy.”

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:


    Even before picking Sarah Palin, McCain was showing signs of pandering to the religious right. Still, things might have turned out quite different if Clinton had won the Democratic nomination, possibly leaving McCain as the lesser of two evils.

    If Clinton had been nominated, then it is very unlikely that he would have picked Sarah Palin as running mate. He might have decided to try to get more of the moderate and independent voters, many of whom would be reluctant to vote for Clinton if she had won because of some of her dirtier campaign tactics.

    Before September I thought that McCain would have had an excellent chance to beat Clinton if he could have found a way to do well among independents while still getting most Republicans to turn out for him. After the financial crash it is doubtful that a Republican could have won regardless of who the Democratic candidate was.

  4. 4
    Fritz says:

    I wonder if McCain would have stood a chance if he had broken with the Bush administration and come out firmly and loudly against any bank bailouts.

    At least it would have been interesting.  Hell — I probably would have held my nose and voted for him.

  5. 5
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Oh, I know Ron. McCain had already started pandering in the primary, as if he was determined to prove he was one of the club. During the primary, however, I was still wondering if he was not playing the game to get nominated. It was during the general election that I gave up any hope of the McCain I had liked making an appearance.

    Fritz, McCain coming out against bank bailouts would have been as unlikely as Obama running to repeal Roe v. Wade. McCain has been one of the foremost advocates of the banking lobby for a long time, to the degree that the difference between him and Bush and the issue is, if anything, that McCain is more ‘pro-bank.’ Speculation is fun and all, but McCain just would not have done it and if he had gone through the motions it would have been even less convincing than the campaign he did run.

  6. 6
    Fritz says:

    Well, yeah — it would have been different if the GOP had run a maverick.  🙂

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