Steve Schmidt, John McCain's former chief campaign strategist, said today that if former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin were to be the Republican nominee, it would be "catastrophic" for the Republican Party.
"I think that she has talents, but my honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for the Republican candidate in 2012, and in fact, were she to be the nominee, we would have a catastrophic election result."
"In the year since the election has ended, she has done nothing to expand her appeal beyond the base. ... Th[e] independent vote is going to be up for grabs in 2012. That middle of the electorate is going to be determinative of the outcome of the elections. I just don't see that if you look at the things she has done over the year ... that she is going to expand that base in the middle."
This isn't the first time that Mr. Schmidt has gone off against Gov. Palin. Even though they have denied repeatedly, Steve and Nicole Wallace have been called "prime suspects" in the search for the origination of the leaks that said there was in-fighting in the McCain camp. After all, the main source of information that was leaked was an exchange of emails between Palin and Schmidt "magically appeared" in the media's inbox. So, it was either someone close to Palin or Schmidt, and Palin had nothing to gain at all from their release. So, that leaves Schmidt.
As Allahpundit points out, the upcoming Palin memoir will, more than likely, include some unsavory comments about her experiences on the 2008 campaign trail. Many of those comments may be directed at Mr. Schmidt, and may be trying to get the first shot in before Palin drops her bombshell on November 17.
What gets me the most about what he said above is that he seems so certain that a Palin candidacy would be a disaster based on her lack of exposure and action now, over three years away from the next presidential election, but later on in the same interview he says this:
"What counts politically is where we are a year from today." Schmidt said that while he thinks 2010 will be a "good Republican year," it won't be a referendum on President Obama.
So, let me get this straight. Since Palin isn't calling a press conference once a week or attacking Obama's policy everyday in the news today, she is going to lose three years in the future, but for Obama, what happens now won't affect him much, politically, a year from now. That's a bit of a double standard.
Sarah Palin is, probably, doing the smart thing, right now. She is, for the most part, keeping a low but not invisible profile. She'll release a statement about something that is going through Congress or being pushed by Obama every few weeks.
If she exposed herself more this far before 2012, people would be tired of hearing her name by the time the election came around. She has plenty of time to get her agenda across the voting public.before the Iowa primary. What's the rush?
Of course, there is a chance that she could have a Couric-like moment, and it'll sink her chances. However, how would that sink the whole party as Schmidt suggests?