Stuart Stevens Quotes
“Donald Trump has served a useful purpose by exposing the deep flaws of a major American political party. Like a heavy truck driven over a bridge on the edge of collapse, Trump has made it impossible to ignore the long-developing fault lines and failures of the Republican Party. A party rooted in decency and values does not embrace the vicious hate that Donald Trump peddles as patriotism. But the Republican Party did and does.”
“Today the intellectual leaders of the Republican Party are the paranoids, kooks, know-nothings, and bigots who once could be heard only on late-night talk shows, the stations you listened to on long drives because it was hard to fall asleep while laughing. When any political movement loses all sense of self and has no unifying theory of government, it ceases to function as a collective rooted in thought and becomes more like fans of a sports team. Asking the Republican Party today to agree on a definition of conservatism is like asking New York Giants fans to have a consensus opinion on the Law of the Sea Treaty. It’s not just that no one knows anything about the subject; they don’t remotely care. All Republicans want to do is beat the team playing the Giants. They aren’t voters using active intelligence or participants in a civil democracy; they are fans. Their role is to cheer and fund their team and trash-talk whatever team is on the other side. This removes any of the seeming contradiction of having spent years supporting principles like free trade and personal responsibility to suddenly stop and support the opposite. Think of those principles like players on a team. You cheered for them when they were on your team, but then management fired them or traded them to another team, so of course you aren’t for them anymore. If your team suddenly decides to focus on running instead of passing, no fan cares—as long as the team wins. Stripped of any pretense of governing philosophy, a political party will default to being controlled by those who shout the loudest and are unhindered by any semblance of normalcy. It isn’t the quiet fans in the stands who get on television but the lunatics who paint their bodies with the team colors and go shirtless on frigid days. It’s the crazy person who lunges at the ref and jumps over seats to fight the other team’s fans who is cheered by his fellow fans as he is led away on the jumbotron. What is the forum in which the key issues of the day are discussed? Talk radio and the television shows sponsored by the team, like Fox & Friends, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity.”
“Each has Republicans losing the Electoral College from 2024 to 2036.2 These trends have been evident for over two decades, and as someone who has sat in the room for five presidential campaigns and tried to figure out how to get a Republican candidate over the 270 mark, the math has been increasingly oppressive. The obvious choice for the party was to expand its appeal beyond white voters. That diagnosis was as obvious as telling a patient with lung cancer to quit smoking. But at the same time, Republicans were taking steps to change the electoral math by making it harder for nonwhites to vote. In this, they were continuing a long tradition of efforts by powerful white politicians to remain in power by suppressing votes.”
“Being against “out-of-control federal spending,” a phrase I must have used in a hundred ads, is a catechism of the Republican faith. But no one really believes in it any more than communicants believe they are actually eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ. It just makes the members of the Republican Church feel closer to their political God. In reality, the Republican Party isn’t serious about deficit reduction, because politicians know their voters don’t feel affected by the mind-boggling numbers and subsequently don’t really care.”
“Like my native Mississippi. For every dollar Mississippians pay in federal income tax, the state receives just over $3 back from the federal government. More than 40 percent of Mississippi’s entire budget comes from Washington. Who pays for that? Those evil states like California and New York, where the good citizens pay a dollar in taxes and get less back from the government.”
“Conservatives have managed to turn the phrase “mainstream media,” or “lame stream media,” as that noted arbiter of intellectual rigor, Sarah Palin, called it, into a pejorative. But what is mainstream media? It’s the journalism that believes in standards, strives to report facts, and has a professional standard to correct errors. It’s the news the majority of Americans consume. The brand of conservatism that has emerged from those early beginnings at Human Events requires the absence of professional standards. The entire purpose of this ever-increasing brand of conservative journalism—and it does great violence to the profession to call most of it by that term—is to confirm not just your opinion but also your feelings.”
“My dad was in the FBI when Hoover ordered the roundup of Asian Americans. He hated it and quit, joined the navy, and spent the next three years fighting in the South Pacific. Like so many, he didn’t talk a lot about the war. But when it came to leaving the FBI, he told me once, “You can always say no.”
“Let’s say our Republican overlords can convince us that these were just personal quirks of a “black swan” leader who kept us from the horror of…a former secretary of state, U.S. senator, and First Lady becoming president. To avoid the nightmare of having a president who had actually spent decades preparing for the job, it was necessary to nominate a reality-TV figure who talked openly of his desire to have sex with his own daughter and lectured Republican members of Congress on Article XII of the Constitution, which exists only in his mind. This positions Donald Trump as the Necessary Monster history demanded to save the Republican Party.”
“They tell themselves that the alternative is unacceptable: that if they don’t support and encourage a man who assaults women and lies instinctively, they will soon find themselves facing the red armies of socialism and the country will start to look like…Sweden. There is nothing new or particularly interesting about this deceit. Republicans are linked to a vast life-support system of lies, terrified that the truth will unplug the machine.”
“The devices the Republicans used are variations on a theme going back more than 150 years. They target the socioeconomic characteristics of a people (poverty, lack of mobility, illiteracy, etc.) and then soak the new laws in “racially neutral justifications—such as administrative efficiency” or “fiscal responsibility”—to cover the discriminatory intent. Republican lawmakers then act aggrieved, shocked, and wounded that anyone would question their stated purpose for excluding millions of American citizens from the ballot box.12”
“Stripped of any pretense of governing philosophy, a political party will default to being controlled by those who shout the loudest and are unhindered by any semblance of normalcy. It isn’t the quiet fans in the stands who get on television but the lunatics who paint their bodies with the team colors and go shirtless on frigid days.”
- Born: Jackson, Mississippi.
- Description: An American travel writer, political consultant and Daily Beast columnist. He is the cofounder of Washington, DC-based political media consultancy Stevens & Schriefer Group. He served as a top strategist for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.