One of the down sides of working on an election campaign is that you can’t always speak your mind until well after the election is over out of fear that it’ll hurt your chances of winning.
By the time you do, it’s too late, and we’re wondering where that person was before the election when we needed that voice to be heard.
Steve Schmidt, John McCain‘s campaign manager, is no exception. He’s now realizing what so many Obama supporters have known for a while: The Republican Party has become synonymous with the Christianist Party.
At least he’s coming out and saying it — to gay Republicans, no less:
… Schmidt painted a dire portrait of the state of the Republican Party, arguing that the GOP has largely been co-opted by its religious elements.
“If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party,” Schmidt declared. “And in a free country, a political party cannot be viable in the long term if it is seen as a sectarian party.”
… religious views should not inform the public policy positions of a political party because… when it is a religious party, many people who would otherwise be members of that party are excluded from it because of a religious belief system that may be different. And the Republican Party ought not to be that. It ought to be a coalition of people under a big tent.”
Earlier, in the question-and-answer session, Schmidt said he conveyed a similar message to Senator McCain, though he declined to elaborate on what kind of advice was given.
“My views were known inside the campaign on this,” he said.
If they were known, they were ignored. The selection of Sarah Palin only reinforced the power the Religious Right held over the GOP.
I have a lot of respect for politicians who can criticize their own party. Change has to come from within, and this is a nice start. Schmidt isn’t an elected official, though. Until a Republican member of Congress says that Schmidt is right and the party needs to change, I’m not holding my breath waiting for them to reach out to voters who don’t attend a Christian church or share Christian beliefs.
(Thanks to EndUnknown for the link!)