The Corner

‘Schmidt Wins’?

Now that strikes me as beltway talk, even micro-beltway talk. Schmidt’s behavior would not be excusable even if the things he said we’re proven true (and I don’t think they have been). Schmidt was given a monumental privilege, to essentially run a presidential campaign for a candidate who, despite his flaws, was about as honorable a politician as we’ve seen in a very long time (yes, sometimes McCain’s honor crossed the line into vanity). Schmidt’s leaking and self-aggrandizing during the campaign and after reflects poorly on him, and needlessly embarrassed the candidate — regardless of the merits of his complaints. The man is not a journalist, he’s not a priest, he’s not Thomas More. He’s a very, very partisan campaign functionary and his behavior has been tacky, his judgment questionable and his loyalty beyond dubious.

I don’t mean to single him out in this regard. Many, if not most, campaign flacks have these qualities to one extent or another. But Schmidt couldn’t do what the really talented flacks do — hide his tracks. Schmidt couldn’t manage that, which compounds his failures, not exonerates them.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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