Schwarzenegger’s Bizarre Analysis

Steven Greenhut

Greenhut writes for American Spectator, Reason and the Orange County Register.


Cross posted on CalWatchDog

I love it when politicians have their chance in power, squander their opportunities, then spend the rest of their career lecturing us about how to reform government. Arnold Schwarzenegger was not just a disappointment, he was a fraud — and a particularly embarrassing one at that. Now he is playing martyr, suggesting that the Republican Party is “too narrow” and rigid. In Politico, he points to the departures from the GOP of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a man whose only political principle is the advancement of his own career, and Anthony Adams, as terrible losses for the party:

That’s why I am so bothered by the party’s recent loss of two up-and-coming Republicans: San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, currently a state assemblyman, and former assemblyman and current Congressional candidate Anthony Adams, both of whom left the party to become independents. On the one hand, I respect their standing up for principle. On the other, I hate to see them go.

In what bizarro world are those unprincipled, tax-hiking, union backers up and comers in the GOP? In what way is their departure any sort of loss for the GOP?

There’s so much wrong with this analysis that it’s hard to know where to start. Republicans rallied to the side of Schwarzenegger, which hardly suggests a refusal by the party to back moderates. They abandoned him when he abandoned any semblance of Republican principle. I disagree with Republicans on many issues. I can’t stand how they embrace law and order, vote to reduce freedom by continuing the drug war, and on and on. But the party at least tries to, at some level, hold the line on government growth and higher taxes. Most Republicans I know are more than willing to support the Schwarzeneggers, Adamses and Fletchers of this world on social issues, but when that crowd embraces higher taxes, additional regulations and become union toadies, then what’s the point?

Isn’t a party supposed to have some standard?

The problem with GOP moderates — who often are far less tolerant toward differing opinions than the right-wingers — is they end up standing for nothing at all. Try to explain in a few sentences what any of the above-mentioned politicians believe in beyond advancing their own political power and careers? All of them were tried-and-true Republicans when it suited them and then they declared that the GOP is too narrow-minded when it no longer suited them. I could respect people who make their stand when there is something to lose — but the positions they take always run parallel to what is best for their career. Fletcher is the most hilarious example — a GOP partisan until the party backed someone else. Then all of a sudden he discovered that the GOP is too conservative and tried to act as if he left out of principle.

And why don’t these folks ever talk about the lack of diverse opinion within the Democratic Party, which in California has become nothing more than an arm of the public-sector unions? Then again these moderate Republicans often are supportive of the public employee unions.

Schwarzenegger cannot revive his legacy by blaming the party to which he belonged — a party that remains a minority and keeps getting smaller thanks in part to his continued destruction of the brand. Yes, the California GOP needs to change. It needs to embrace a more libertarian agenda that advances less government in all areas of life. It needs to connect more with the culture of this state. The party did itself no service in backing the corporate-welfare whores who tried to save redevelopment. But the California GOP should not look to this crowd as it seeks to rebuild itself in a way that will save not only the party but this state.

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