SCHMIDT WARNS PARTY ABOUT PALIN…. Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist for the John McCain’s presidential campaign, has offered his party some sound advice in recent months. Schmidt, for example, has encouraged the GOP to support gay marriage. He’s also encouraged Republicans not to “put public policy issues to a religious test.”

With that in mind, Schmidt reflected yesterday on the 2012 presidential campaign, and said it would be a disaster for the party to nominate Sarah Palin.

“I think she has talents,” Mr. Schmidt said. “My honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for the Republican Party and in fact were she to be the nominee, we could have a catastrophic result.”

He said that Ms. Palin clearly has strong support among base voters — witness the advance sales for her forthcoming political memoir, “Going Rogue” — but that she had done nothing to expand her base since last November.

“I don’t think it’s inconceivable that she could be the Republican nominee for president of the United States,” Mr. Schmidt said. “I think it’s almost inconceivable that she could be elected president of the United States.”

All of this sounds quite reasonable, but there’s a small, nagging problem I have with Schmidt’s concerns: it was his fault Palin was added to the ’08 ticket in the first place.

Well, perhaps “fault” is the wrong word. John McCain deserves the blame for choosing a ridiculous running mate whom he barely knew. But let’s not forget that McCain didn’t intend to give Palin the vice presidential nod until Steve Schmidt convinced him it was the right move.

To be sure, I think Schmidt’s right about Palin … now. I just wish he’d applied a little more thought to the running mate selection process a year ago.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.