Now *Steve Schmidt* Blaming Ruth Bader Ginsburg For GOP Killing Roe? Well Bless His Heart In Hell
Whenever the Supreme Court shows its ass, some dude (and some few ladies) somewhere feels compelled to blame former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who’s been dead for two years. Ginsburg’s crime, as we all know, was refusing to retire at some undetermined perfect moment when Barack Obama could’ve replaced her with a 35-year-old ACLU lawyer. I’ve covered why this is bullshit, but with Roe v. Wade walking the last mile, men are once again questioning Ginsburg’s choices. However, the latest one to do so has some gall of steel.
Anti-Trump Lincoln Project founder Steve Schmidt tweeted Tuesday:
Ruth Bader Ginsberg was many things. She was a historic Justice, a cultural icon, a trailblazer and pioneer who did the greatest thing an American can do. She spent her life fighting to expand rights. She also didn’t know when to hang up the cleats and retire.
This is the Steve Schmidt who spent decades as a Republican strategist helping elect Republicans. He tried (and fortunately failed) to unseat abortions rights champion Barbara Boxer in the Senate. He was communications director for Lamar Alexander’s 2000 presidential campaign. The former senator said in 1996: "I believe abortion is wrong. I would try to persuade anyone not to have an abortion. I support the right of states to enact restrictions on abortions."
Schmidt was spokesperson and later director for the National Republican Congressional Committee 20 years ago when the party’s platform on abortion was pretty clear:
That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
Schmidt worked in the George W. Bush administration and was the strategist responsible for Samuel Alito and John Roberts’s Supreme Court nominations. Schmidt is perhaps most well-known — because he won’t shut up about it — for running John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. McCain also vocally opposed anti-abortion rights. He even supported a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, and if the pregnancy’s life threatening. Although, McCain argued during a 2008 presidential debate that “health of the mother ... had been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost everything.”
Schmidt expressed his horror Monday that the Supreme Court might overturn Roe, which is obviously a surprise to anyone familiar with his LinkedIn profile. Schmidt, however, insists that he "was always a pro choice, pro civil rights moderate that felt completely comfortable in the Republican Party.” Maybe Schmidt thought he was a "West Wing” character the whole time.
Jacob Javitz (sic), Tom Kean, Christie Whitman, Jack Kemp were the people I was drawn towards.
Jack Kemp said, "I want to reduce America’s runaway abortion-on-demand” and believed the "Republican Party must not run away from its pro-life position.” This was back in 1996 when he was Bob Dole’s running mate. The pattern, starting with George H. W. Bush in 1980, was predictable: Republicans adopted a hard-right anti-abortion stance whenever they set their sights on the White House.
This wasn’t just about appeasing Christian conservatives. You can’t just yell at them like they’re Black people and claim the other party will treat them worse. You have to deliver, and the GOP did. John Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act, and Samuel Alito will write the majority opinion ending reproductive freedom in America. That is Schmidt’s true legacy, not some feisty anti-Trump ads from the Lincoln Project.
It’s appalling that the day after the news about Roe, Schmidt would publicly blame Ginsburg for what’s ultimately the culmination of his life’s work. Ginsburg held the line for as long as she could. We should thank her for her service, not wish that it had ended sooner.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."