Good advice that is sure to be ignored

I am (it's probably obvious to the point of hilarity to point out) pretty liberal. Unapologetically so. I like to tell myself that I'm a moderate, but when I think about just about any issue I end up siding with the liberal viewpoint. I am what I am, it seems.

However, this is not to say that I do not see the merits of conservative thought. The country is poorer when only one viewpoint is heard and only one line of thinking holds indomitable sway. There are valid conservative points of view on foreign, fiscal and social policy. (Yes, even social policy. I know many generally pro-choice people who are still given pause by the reality of abortion, and I respect people whose views differ from my own on the issue.) But the GOP has recently been hijacked by a nativist, anti-intellectual and religiously intractable element that holds its progress and hopes for any kind of return to power hostage.

Thus, it is refreshing to read what Steve Schmidt (a "top McCain advisor") had to say today:
Former top McCain adviser Steve Schmidt is planning to use a Friday speech to the Log Cabin Republicans to urge the GOP to drop its opposition to same-sex marriage.

"I'm confident American public opinion will continue to move on the question toward majority support, and sooner or later the Republican Party will catch up to it," Schmidt plans to say according to excerpts provided to ABC News.


"There is a sound conservative argument to be made for same-sex marriage," Schmidt plans to say. "I believe conservatives, more than liberals, insist that rights come with responsibilities. No other exercise of one's liberty comes with greater responsibilities than marriage."

"It cannot be argued that marriage between people of the same sex is un American or threatens the rights of others," he will say.

"On the contrary," he will say, "it seems to me that denying two consenting adults of the same sex the right to form a lawful union that is protected and respected by the state denies them two of the most basic natural rights affirmed in the preamble of our Declaration of Independence -- liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, I believe, gives the argument of same sex marriage proponents its moral force."

He also had some commendable thoughts on the role of sectarian religious influence (which is what Christian fundamentalism is) on the political process:
"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."


"If you reject [gay marriage] on religious grounds, I respect that," he said. "I respect anyone's religious views. However, 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."
Bravo. Yes. What he said, Republicans. I don't think the Democrats should have a death-grip on power for perpetuity any more than I wanted the GOP to remain in the permanent majority. (Well, OK. Maybe a little more.) Dissent and compromise are vital to a healthy republic, and our country is not well served by having the minority party dominated by lunatics, blowhards and blithering incompetents.

Marc Ambinder is skeptical, and so am I. It's hard to see the GOP breaking free of its most vociferous elements. But, in all sincerity, I hope to see the day when I could actually consider voting for a Republican again.

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