The Real Steve Schmidt

Lawrence Lowe has a terrific, insightful piece on Steve Schmidt at TNR that is well worth your time. This is interesting:

Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for the California governor’s re-election campaign, told me that Schmidt isn’t always “comfortable with the whole social conservative aspect of the party. He’s a big patriot and has a big respect for the military—his wife was a navy nurse—but being judgmental and moralistic, that’s just not his cup of tea.” Dowd recalls having long conversations with Schmidt, whose sister is gay, over cigars in Schmidt’s backyard “about civil unions and gay marriage, where he wasn’t necessarily in lockstep with the Republican Party.”

Weaver describes Schmidt as “hardly a right-wing reactionary guy” and counts him among a corps of Republican operatives in their late 30s and early 40s—most of whom have served in the Bush White House—who hope to chart a less divisive course for the party in the coming years.

The trouble is that “being judgmental and moralistic” is fully consonant with charting a less divisive course — the question is, what kind of public morality are you championing? I strongly believe that Republicans need to reject anti-gay rhetoric and policies. But a pro-marriage politics, for example, is less about abandoning moralism than embracing a more inclusive moralism. Isn’t it? I think so.