Steve Schmidt’s Conservative Affirmative Action

Steve SchmidtLast night, I watched a little bit of the MSNBC coverage of the then upcoming State of the Union address. And what I saw so upset me that I didn’t even watch the event. It was big news yesterday that Iran had captured ten US Navy crew members. So it was time to start demagoguing! And there was Steve Schmidt on “liberal” MSNBC going on (and on and on) about how the president needed to change his speech and talk tough about Iran and under no circumstance should the president tout the Iranian nuclear deal because Iran is bad, bad, bad.

Chris Matthews fired back. He’s not an artful guy, but what he said was basically correct: the Republicans just look for anything to complain about the president, that it was a bad faith criticism, and that Schmidt himself was doing that. Schmidt defended himself by noting that his wife was in the Navy and through a kind of “some of my best friends are military,” claimed that he didn’t just want war.

What exactly Steve Schmidt is doing on television is unclear to me. If he had been more successful, we would have President McCain, be at war with Iran right now, and have Sarah Palin embarrassing us all over the world.

As I recall, both Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes made the argument that the whole thing was a diplomatic issue and maybe the president would be wrong to politicize it and might put these very service members in jeopardy. All I could think at the time was that this was going to be how it was. It didn’t matter that the president wanted to use the SotU address to call for collaboration, it was all going to be about conservative jerks like Steve Schmidt going around claiming that Obama is weak because he doesn’t rip off his shirt and pound his chest.

At the actual SotU address, Obama went on with his speech as planned. He told the assembled conservative whiners that we had a solid economy, and, “The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth.” And then after the speech, the press was filled with headlines like this one in The Washington Post, Iran Releases Captured US Navy Crew Members. And there was this in The New York Times, Iran’s Swift Release of US Sailors Hailed as a Sign of Warmer Relations. Oh! So contrary to Steven Schmidt, it’s actually things like the Iran nuclear deal and the fact that Obama believes in diplomacy that made this whole thing a non-issue, except for the conservative ranters who are only interested in finding fault with the president because he happens to be a Democrat.

Now you might say that this is much ado about nothing. And that’s true in an absolute sense. It’s just that it is always true. What Steve Schmidt was really saying was that he doesn’t like the Iran nuclear deal, and he doesn’t like it because he doesn’t like the president, and he doesn’t like the president because he’s a conservative hack. Of course, what seems to have been lost in all of this is that it was actually America that was at fault. What Iran did is what we would have done in that circumstance. But any excuse for more whining from conservatives.

What exactly Steve Schmidt is doing on television is unclear to me. If he had been more successful, we would have President McCain, be at war with Iran right now, and have Sarah Palin embarrassing us all over the world. Someone on Twitter last night said that he should be on Fox News, but I countered that. Say what you will about Fox News, at least the people on it are interesting. Steve Schmidt is on MSNBC because the network is desperate to have some kind of conservative who can breath through his nose to sort of counter Rachel Maddow. I hope Schmidt realizes just how much he benefits from affirmative action.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

13 thoughts on “Steve Schmidt’s Conservative Affirmative Action

  1. If they want a conservative foil to Rachel Maddow, can’t they find someone outside of Washington?

    I know a guy who could do it. He is smart but really blind in just the right areas. Plus it is hilarious to make him mad. Or they could mosey on over to YewTewb and find someone who is doing it already and just promote that person up.

    Schmidt probably assumes he should be there because he is >insert inane reasons here< and the rest of us have to deal with it.

    • I think it really is conservative affirmative action. He’s the guy who was willing to say that Sarah Palin was a mistake, so he became a “truth telling conservative.” Lost in the whole thing is the total cynicism that he showed in picking her. But as long as he was embarrassed about it, he was okay. The further he got from the event, the worse he got. This was not the first time I complained about him. Not even close.

      • Ugh, so again, why can’t they find a “truth telling conservative who agrees Palin was an awful pick?” Absolutely anywhere else on the planet?

        I think everyone by this point knows that she was a completely unqualified candidate.

        • Any “conservative” with any sense is basically not a conservative. For example: Josh Barro. So what’s the point of finding a conservative to sit on these panels?

  2. According to the incoming Bush Administration, the military got weak under President Clinton. According to the GOP now, the military got weak under President Obama. Individuals in the military are heroes, but the military as a whole is weak. And then this Iran thing got me thinking. People have probably always said this about the military, in whatever country and whatever century.

    In the 1960s, I read the autobiography of (by-then retired) Admiral Daniel Gallery. He was pissed that a busload of 29 Marines was hijacked in Cuba (by Castro’s brother), the Marines held hostage for 22 days, released, and not a single one of them had put up a fight–no injuries, not even a broken arm (as Gallery put it). That happened in 1958, under President Eisenhower, who played a not insignificant role in winning World War II. Less than 15 years after WWII and a few years after the Korean War, the Marines had become wusses.

    Gallery, incidentally, in the early part of WWII, was head of the naval air station in Iceland that provided partial air cover for the convoys to and from Russia. He frequently communicated with his English counterparts who always had strings of honorary letters after their names, so he started signing his communications, “Daniel Gallery, DDLM”. “DDLM” stood for “Dan, Dan, the Lavatory Man”!

    In the latter part of WWII, Gallery commanded the carrier task force that captured the U-505 (Wikipedia). His crew had trained for the possibility of boarding a U-boat before it sank and the goal was accomplished in this case. The U-505 is on display in Chicago.

    Coincidentally, in the 1980s or 1990s, I was donating blood and one of the elderly volunteers was talking to another volunteer about WWII. He had been a sailor in the carrier group. I don’t know if he was directly involved with the capture, but he knew a lot about it and he confirmed the DDLM anecdote for me (the anecdote having apparently followed Gallery to his new post).

    • It’s a real problem. Among military leadership, Democratic presidents are virtually seen as traitors. They are to be obeyed, but only just. And this goes back a long way.

      I’m not entirely sure where it stems from. Some is probably the Hitler logic (we were kept from winning the last war because traitors tied our hands.) I imagine that aspect is present in any professional military which engages in war on a regular basis. (As opposed to a more defensive military, like Canada’s or Norway’s.)

      Some might be because, in America, the military has traditionally been a means of social climbing. I attended an officer school in New York for one year and we were seriously given etiquette classes (where’s the salad fork.) We had dances scheduled with rich girls from Long Island finishing schools, and more than one cadet married a girl from those schools. If you did everything right, you could parlay that military career into a cushy corporate board job of some kid. The old boys’ network’s way of recruiting new blood from the lower orders.

      So I suspect every Democratic president, back to FDR, has been seen as something of a threat to the upper-echelons of the military, who are (mostly) trying to break into the ranks of privilege. Not that any Democratic presidents have stopped this!

      • I would have to do some more research on it but based off the remembered timelines-I think the military’s drift towards hating every Democratic President started after the end of the Vietnam war. For one thing, most of the people who join the military these days are either poor, from a military family, or already inclined towards the right.

        After the draft ended in 1973, there was no longer a vast melting pot of individuals who were being selected to join up from the bottom to positions like captain or the like. The ones who stayed don’t understand why the President might opt for not blowing everyone back to the stone age (I have a friend who was in the marines and trying to explain to him the geo-politics behind Clinton’s decision to not invade Kosovo was an exercise in futility. The sad thing is that this is not a stupid man but he fundamentally does not understand the entire situation because he does not have the frames of reference that I do.)

        I could check into it more when I have free time and write a better explanation if you want or just leave it be.

        • Sounds like a good article. You should write it if YOU find it interesting.

          I meant the upper-tier officer corps (“commissioned officers”), not enlistees. You don’t become a member of the upper-tier officer corps without a college degree, and there are only a few ways to get there. You can go to a military academy; you can take military courses while at a civilian college (ROTC); you can join the military as a college graduate or finish college while in the military and attend Officer Candidate School (OCS.) Without a college degree, the longest-serving, most-highly respected non-commissioned officer (staff sergeants, say) can’t move up further. (You can also be a college graduate and elect not to become an upper-tier officer.)

          The ones I met at military school who planned on a future in business were positively nutbag proto-fascists. I don’t know how it breaks down among ROTC or OCS participants.

          Interestingly of the four main branches the Marines are the only one without a service academy. There’s West Point (Army), Annapolis (Navy), the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, and the US Merchant Marine Academy (that’s the one I went to.) Those are the ones run by the federal government (the big three are DoD run, CGA and USMMA are DoT.) If you graduate from the big three, you go into that branch. CGA, I dunno. USMMA, you could become an officer in any of the four branches you chose, or “serve in the transportation industry” for six years (could be boats, could be anything that used trucks. Coors recruited heavily at our school.)

          There’s also VMI, the Citadel, Texas A & M and a few others, that I don’t know a lot about. They aren’t directly funded by the feds, although I’m sure they get support.

          I’ve heard Air Force Academy is super-creepy-Christian. West Point seemed like the Hitler Youth (I visited once.) The chem students at Annapolis made killer LSD.

          I’m guessing that most people who join these various military academies are pretty hardcore right-wing (I met some who weren’t, but they weren’t into the whole career track either, just a low-cost college degree.)

          And when we paid our enlisted servicepeople decently that was something else, too. You used to be able to serve in the military for 20 years and get a killer pension. Not anymore, I don’t believe.

          It’s all pretty complex and worth looking into if you like!

          • I literally don’t care. I will research it for you if you want to know but personally I am indifferent. This is for me to show off, which I just loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove doing. :-) I am sure you have noticed.

            • Nope, don’t do that! You have much better ways to show off which involve much less wastage of your time.

              As you may have noticed, I like typing looooooooooooooooooong rambling things about how I process experiences from “formative periods” in my life. Which basically means every stretch of my life I have some distance from now. I never get them when they are happening, and then spend the rest of my existence wondering why I missed what was so obvious.

              Like most males, I am a emotional wreck of goopy feelings, not a pragmatic thinker. It’s our drawback. This is the deep dark secret of the Great Divide. Males are the real over-sensitive types, none more than the mucho-macho pretenders!

              • Interesting you say that since women are often accused of being emotional (read: irrational) and our concerns dismissed. Yet a man who is all mushy is just as rational as the man who has no emotional reaction.

                It would sadden me but then my view would be dismissed. *snickers*

                • I can’t get into it now, as I’m out of gas from being on the Internet all day. I only get a few days every now and then, and I can’t focus on it as much as it deserves.

                  Only crazy lunatics who should never be allowed in polite society write several considered essays daily. What maniacs!

                  There’s a lot in what you mention I can’t process right now. There’s nothing more irrational in being mushy than pretending to have no emotions. Obviously there’s no such thing as having no emotions. Being strictly unemotional is in itself an emotional response, whether it be due to feeling you have to close off your emotions to deal with a difficult situation (say, what an emergency responder has to do when someone’s not breathing) or because you were abused into thinking emotions were weak.

                  There might be some innate differences between men and women in terms of how hormones affect our emotions (like during pregnancy, that would be a big one) but I suspect most of the differences are due to social conditioning.

                  So if Trump summons the ghosts of some immigrant great-grand-uncle and cries telling that story, he’ll be lauded for Deep Feelings, and if Hillary says she’s occasionally made tough decisions, what a heartless bitch.

                  I am deeply prejudiced in that I think women have more s**t to deal with than men, and so naturally are more rational. But in a saner society, it would tend to equal out.

    • So the point is that everyone is supposed to fight to the death? I guess they hadn’t read the full history of the Spartans. There is a time to give up.

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