Today at The Atlantic’s First Draft of History conference, Steve Schmidt, who served as the top political strategist for both John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger, spoke candidly about the state of the Republican Party. On health care, Schmidt noted that some individual Republicans, like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), were “advancing ideas” on health care legislation, but that “the party holistically is bereft of ideas.” Asked about Sarah Palin’s future political prospects, Schmidt argued that she could conceivably win the GOP nomination because of her popularity with the base conservative electorate. However, if that were to happen, Schmidt said that such a turn of events would be “catastrophic” because Palin has alienated mainstream America:
SCHMIDT: I think that she has talents. But my honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for the Republican Party in 2012, and in fact, were she the nominee, we could have a catastrophic election result.