Leaker, Liar, Turncoat, Nut Job

Steve Schmidt's abasement makes public what we've known for a long time

Actor Woody Harrelson and leaker, liar, turncoat, and nut job Steve Schmidt / Getty Images

No Books. No Money. Just the Truth. That's the title of the meandering Substack post Steve Schmidt threw up last week at the tail end of a two-day Twitter bender. In that time, he didn't take more than an hour away from the keyboard, tapping out stilted and overwrought attacks against the late war hero John McCain and his daughter, Meghan.

Since then, he's widened the aperture, lashing out at the living, from Republican lawmakers (New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts) to journalists (Maggie Haberman, Matt Lewis, Jonah Goldberg) and another subset of former colleagues (sorry, Lincoln Project).

Schmidt, in what is obviously a mental unraveling, denies any responsibility for McCain's decision to tap Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. He claims he didn't even sit down with Palin until after McCain had made his choice and that, in the end, he didn't even vote for the old man.

"This was a lapse in John's judgment, not mine," he writes. "My mistake was leaving John McCain alone in a room with her." Schmidt elaborated days later in an interview with the Kyiv Post. "The first time I had a conversation with her was after the decision had been made," he said of Palin, adding that he went "bananaramas" over the decision—whatever that means.

Well, there was a book! It was called Game Change, and Schmidt and his fellow turncoat Nicolle Wallace were the primary sources for it. The book eventually earned Schmidt a red-carpet appearance with Woody Harrelson, who played him on the big screen.

According to Game Change, Palin's vetting was hardly outsourced. The authors describe an hours-long conversation between Schmidt, Palin, and McCain aide Mark Salter that took place before her selection at the Flagstaff, Ariz., home of McCain supporter Bob Delgado. Schmidt "wanted to be sure Palin was ready for what she'd face and would toe the line."

But he and Salter, by their own account, dropped the ball. "They asked her nothing to plumb the depths of her knowledge about foreign or domestic policy," the book recounts. "They didn't explore her preparedness to be vice president. They assumed she knew as much as the average governor, and that what she didn't know, she would pick up on the fly. They weren't searching for problems. They were looking for a last-second solution."

It wasn't just the book. There were news reports, too! A 2012 New York Times article chronicled how Schmidt had parlayed the disastrous McCain campaign into fame and fortune through "self-criticism and challenges to his own party." (Sound familiar?)

"It was Mr. Schmidt who first championed Sarah Palin as Mr. McCain's running mate, a bold move, he told Mr. McCain, that could win him the White House," reporter Adam Nagourney wrote. "My regret," Schmidt told Nagourney, "is I should have been the guy to say, 'Stop, it's too risky.' As opposed to the guy saying: 'Let's take the risk. We have to win this.'"

Was Schmidt lying then, or is he lying now? That's a trick question. He's been lying the whole way. That includes his complaint that, when the McCain campaign ended, "Sarah Palin lashed out at Nicolle Wallace and me" and "smeared us as disloyal leakers."

Schmidt's public self-abasement has made clear for all to see what was evident to those who served on the campaign: He is disloyal and he did smear Palin in an attempt to preserve his reputation with the same reporters who breathlessly regurgitate the bullshit of a deranged man 14 years on. (Attention, New York Times reporters, the link to your archive is here.)

Now Schmidt says he's converting to Judaism. We hope that's a lie, too, but if not, we await the epic Twitter thread denouncing Hashem. It can't be long.