Jan 19Liked by Steve Schmidt

Your substack articles were the first I ever read on substack, and they continue to be so. When I was on twitter, it was you that I looked forward to reading. Well, you and Tim Miller. ☺️ As many have said before me, you are extremely articulate.

Once I came out of the Republican tent, I considered you my "enemy". Now, I look forward to every word you have to write every day. And, I consider you my friend. Thank you for being YOU.

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I love reading your substack articles. You are incredibly articulate and I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote. I wish the Dem party would take your words to heart. Why don’t YOU run for office? You’d get my vote!!!!

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I agree with you, with one qualification, that anyone running for federal office understand how government works. It’s not a company, & can’t be run like a company. The government exists to benefit its citizens, not to make a profit. I would guess you feel that’s a given in anyone running for office, but I have talked with too many people who don’t seem to understand that.

I didn’t vote for Biden in the Primary, but I think he’s done a terrific job. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Now it’s time for him to step aside & allow new blood to guide us into the future.

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Jan 19·edited Jan 19

Whoa, Steve, i have to seriously disagree with you about Pres. G.H.W. Bush's entire approach to Iraq. Back in the mid-1990s I wrote a book-length piece on the criminality of launching that first Gulf war, widely shared among progressive friends (two different publishing houses wanted to publish it but wanted me to front the PR funds-- couldn't do it at the time).... Here's a one-page synopsis written in 2006:

Nov. 8, 2006

On the facts about Saddam Hussein and the USA: when Saddam committed various war crimes in the 1980s, he was fully supported by Pres. Reagan and Vice President and then President George H.W. Bush (the elder) as "our man in Iraq," a buffer against the Ayatollah-led Iran. Saddam and Iraq's 8-year long war with Iran exacted a terrible toll on both countries. There was never any interest by the White House in curbing Saddam until Aug 1990 when he invaded Kuwait (whose oil is a major investment for the entire Bush family, Jim Baker, et al.; that's where much of their family wealth has come from). And on that front, it's remarkable to learn, as many of us did back in 1990, that three of our own U.S. State Dept. officials, including our ambassador to Iraq (April Glaspie), all gave Saddam the green light to invade Kuwait, basically informing him that "your border dispute with Kuwait is none of our business."

The Associated Press's Robert Parry and other investigative journalists reported this at the time or shortly afterward. All those reports of "Saddam is like Hitler" were fabricated by the rightwing spin machine for Pres. Bush (the elder) and other Washington hawks and for the entirely corrupt Kuwaiti emirs, who had been economically strangling Iraq by deliberately overproducing oil (flagrantly violating OPEC policies) and thereby driving down the price of oil and preventing Iraq from gaining sufficient revenues to rebuild their country after the Iraq-Iran war.

The Bush clan of course sided with corrupt Kuwait in this dispute, against their old strong man ally Saddam, and Bush (the elder), with Margaret Thatcher goading him on, would not be dissuaded (even by his own State Dept.) from launching a horrendously punitive war against Iraq. Among other things, he exploited this war to overcome his perceived "wimp factor" (as Newsweek magazine termed it). And, as Bush himself said in the lead-up to the 1991 Gulf War and the day it ended, it allowed his regime to "kick the Vietnam syndrome"--Americans would now be happy and excited to send troops abroad. Thirteen years of sanctions, imposed by Bush against all advice from medical and humanitarian agencies, decimated Iraq and killed somewhere between 800,000 to 1.8 million Iraqis. (Which is one reason they didn't "welcome us with open arms" when we again invaded the country in Spring 2003).

To repeat a key point: in the 1980s, when Saddam actually committed the crimes for which he has now been tried and executed, Reagan and Bush were entirely supportive of the man, just as they, Nixon, Kissinger, and other U.S. leaders were quite supportive of a long string of cruel, murderous tyrants making life hell for too many of their citizens—e.g., Suharto in Indonesia, Mobutu in Zaire/Congo, Pinochet in Chile, Galtieri and his Peronist military dictator cronies in Argentina, Rios Montt in Guatemala, et cetera ad nauseam.

Far too many rightwingers supported Saddam when it served their interest, even when he was treating his own people miserably, and then when elite investment interests of the Bush clan and others were threatened, these same rightwingers turned on Saddam and ran the "Saddam=Hitler" publicity game to justify the first phase of destroying Iraq. Bush junior has simply continued the mendacity and cruelty, and has now destroyed all semblance of normal life for most Iraqis. Most surveys are showing that the quality of life now in Iraq for the average Iraqi is far worse than it was during Saddam's years of running a concentration-camp-like police state in Iraq.

And now, finally, after 6 years of W. Bush's misdeeds, and 12 years of GOP Congressional misdeeds and inaction, we will, starting in January, 2007, finally (it is to be hoped) enjoy a return to a semblance of sanity in our domestic and foreign policy if the Democrats legislate as true progressives, now that they have regained control in the House and Senate.

[Postscript in Jan. 2023-- the USA has done very little to improve quality of life in Iraq in these intervening 16 years.]

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Truth be told Steve, you are one of our great the thinkers. I hope your thoughts and words spread far and wide. A good writer like you motivates us to think and does not tell us what to think. I am torn about Biden. I din't think Kamala Harris is the top pick on many minds. I think Biden's experience has been what has enabled him to succeed in many aspects. But it is imperative that Democrats win this next election. I also know that the GOP should crash and burn and re-invent itself. These are troubling times - keep writing!

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I have been a fan of your work for some time (including guest appearances on cable TV) and your writing since you began to appear in that medium more recently. That said, let me offer the following "bullet point" responses to some of the thoughts expressed in your post today:

1. Your assessment of the Republican Party and its prospects for partnering in the service of the American people is sadly correct.

2. Your assignment of responsibility of Democratic Party in light of #1 is also fundamentally correct.

3. I think you overweight the significance of President Biden's age in leaping to the conclusion that he needs to pass the baton before the 2024 election. I note you subtly add a year to the age at which he would be retiring in 2029. In January of 2029 he will have just passed his 86th birthday two months prior. I think the big issue for 2024 is how the Democratic Party and the President can fulfill their leadership and governing responsibilities while not increasing the prospect of seeing Trump or a Trumpist clone elected President. It may not be fanciful to anticipate that young phenom is likely to materialize on the political stage such as did Teddy Roosevelt or Jack Kennedy or Barack Obama, but at the moment there does not appear to be a compelling reason to bet the Republic on it. And while age and youth (as in too much of it) are not quite the same issue, I would also point out that the country not only survived but was happily surprised with its push to the edge of the youth envelope when it saw TR move into the White House and actually elected a 43-year-old tyro.

4. I won't attempt to lengthen the list of potentially, extraordinarily talented bench strength that may be out there in the Democratic Party. I will simply say I was surprised that you failed to give even a small hat tip to Hakeem Jeffries. It's hard to believe he doesn't belong on the list.

5. You probably voiced a number of sentiments about the senior Senator from California which many Democrats share but decline to voice -- out of charitable discretion and gentility. Does anyone -- including the one announced candidate for that seat -- believe that she is actually going to seek re-election. Only Chuck Grassley would be so completely egocentric one hopes. And while I'm on the subject of California, I admit to some surprise that you failed to give Katie Porter (49 years old) a hat tip among the potential next generation of Democratic Party leadership.

6. I am not a reader of Kareem's posts, but I am a longtime admirer of his career and his public personna. That said, I am also aware that he is in his mid-70s. I trust you were not suggesting that he is a likely candidate for anything in the political world in light of your apparent preference for age passing the baton to youth.

7. I agree there is a lot of talent and genius and capability out there in these United States. I am confident we will continue finding it as we have -- sporadically and haltingly -- over the more or less 25 decades of our existence. Some of those appearances -- especially those in times of dire need -- have been extraordinarily improbable and lucky for the country.

8. Thank again for your commentary.

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hi Steve, I agree with the way you’ve phrased this article. What I disagreed with in the past are positions that disqualify any candidate solely on age. I argued that none of us know Mr Biden’s health details except himself and possibly close family and friends. I trusted him to put the interests of the country over personal ambition. So his age will shamelessly be used by opponents in a derogatory fashion. Personally, I think he ought to stick to his original plan which served him well in 2019 of not running for a second term because I think the virtue of saying what you mean and sticking with it is important. But that has nothing to do with age.


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Steve, as a life-long D, I hold dear to my heart Will Rogers claim he belongs to no organized party: I am a Democrat. No, Ds tend toward chaos The Rs tends toward more lockstep leading to the MAGA takeover. Only D I can think of who might have that level of demigod reverence is FDR.

I am also thankful the Ds bench is so deep. Newsome, Whitmer, Jeffries Ryan and a host of others are ready to go.

My issue is age as the sole determinant for unfitness for office. In some cases, as the Senator mentioned, and they are not the only one, there are issues. Two have already announced interest in the seat. Biden may forget a name but his grasp on policies and international issues is solid He has not, as reported last PM in unsealed testimony, mistaken a photo of his accuser for his second wife. Use capabilities and vision, not age as the determinant to continue or retire

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Jan 19·edited Jan 19

I haven't seen "hysteria" when you insist that Biden shouldn't run again; I see strong disagreement.

I also haven't seen you suggest an alternative that isn't Harris, Buttigieg, or Newsom who could actually win.

There is already a MAGA-like (MAGA-ish?) figure on the left - not in the sense of being a fascist who wants to end democracy, but in the sense of leading a cult of personality without substance or accomplishments: Bernie Sanders. What have the Democratic party and Democratic voters done about him and his runs for President? Defeated him soundly, twice.

Sorry Steve, it's my non-hysterical opinion that you missed the mark with this one.

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Wisdom, Knowledge, Experience, Courage, Dedication, Diplomacy, Vision and Care is what we need for qualities in our leaders, as Biden has shown us. Biden's term as POTUS saved the U.S.A. If a more qualified candidate arises, then that is just wonderful -if not, we have Biden (although he may step aside anyway) and he will need to use his time and energy and his ability to delegate responsibly as wisely as possible. I trust that Biden will make the right choice for the citizens of this country.

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The Senator from California, is 89 years old born in 1933. She will be 90 this year. Honoring those who have been good stewards in their elected office of our country, should not mean they must remain in office beyond their capabilities. Thank you Steve for addressing issues not everyone agrees with.

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I agree with you; we need people in office who come from all backgrounds (not just lawyering), and who want to SERVE THEIR CONSTITUENTS, NOT THEMSELVES! But, because it takes such insane amounts of $$ to run for any public office.. it makes that office (any office) basically 'for sale' to this highest bidder. I don't see a great future for our country, nor for my grandsons. It makes me very, very sad!

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Let Biden declare an open primary and may the best person win and become our PRESIDENT in 2025.

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I agree. The Democratic Party should/must reach out to the best of us for representative for public service. In terms of President Biden, his achievements and leadership have been remarkably successful . That’s a factual assessment devoid of emotion. I’m not the least bit concerned if he were to run against the National village idiot, Donald Trump. Biden wins that election hands down. If Ron DeSantis achieves the GOP nomination, my concern is Biden’s campaign style, combined with the pretend DeSantis pivot to the center, combined with a nation replete with low information voters. Many will not know or care about DeSantis’ authoritarian-like tendencies and implemented policies. They will see an faux-angry, little, round, younger man who talks tough and pretends moderation. DeSantis is a first class buffoon, but the GOP bar is low and compared to Trump he’s a rocket scientist. The American people could very well fall for the charade. After all, they elected Donald Trump. Biden may not measure up during the campaign with energy and style. He’s got a hell of a record to run on, but that just may not matter. I would be very contented with four more years of President Biden. I’m just uncertain he has the charisma to defeat Florida’s babbling, Trumpian Mini-me in a head to head election. But, I could be very wrong.

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Yes, the US is loaded with qualified thoughtful leaders with solid hearts like Abdul-Jabber and many others.

Perhaps Jack Smith is another. A registered Independent and accomplished professional with impeccable international legal credentials who may very well bring down the house of cards that is the Trump/Repub conspiracies within the next couple of years which will make him a national hero.

If the Dems were to throw their weight behind a non-politician Independent/Dem ticket, it could corral an overwhelming voter pool that would squash the radical right like the annoyingly venomous bug that it is.

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As a 77-year old person in great health and, thank the Good Lord, in full command of my faculties I heartily agree with Steve on the age issue. I felt Hillary Clinton — a year younger than I — was too old to run for President when she ran. I see our very fine CiF speak on some days and appear to be listing towards incoherency. And I swear at his staff for not making absolutely sure that he is NOT tired when he stands before the microphone. On FOX, nightly, they say that Biden is senile. His gait is not helpful to his image either. But re-election? Even I as a supporter feel that he is too old, especially as I look to younger leaders like Zelensky, Macron and Trudeau. But — and it’s a big but — who can run if not Biden? Who can dominate? My answer was Andrew Cuomo until he ruined his own life through hubris and a gross lack of self-awareness. So who? Not VP Harris who needs to stop giggling. Not Buttegieg or at least not yet. So who? Who can beat Trump or DeSantis?

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