Sunday, August 27, 2006

Arnold: Who Can Trust Him?

Though I don't always agree with Greenhut and the other OC Register "libertarians" (actually, it's more like almost never), this article caught my eye this morning. I've been saying the same thing to various progressive friends, but maybe it takes a conservative saying this for people to actually believe it: Arnold will say anything to hold onto power. And what's worse, he probably doesn't even believe in what he's saying.

Now Arnold isn't dangerous because he's "moderate". He's dangerous because he pretends to be everything to everyone. So you're a principled fiscal conservative? Well, Arnold says he wants to balance the budget... Oh wait, now he's saying he "has no plan" to balance the budget! So you're a dedicated environmentalist? Well, Arnold is committed to providing more renewable energy!... Oh wait, but he's also accepting millions of dollars from oil companies! So you don't like taxes? Well, neither does Arnold... Except that he has no problem "raising taxes" for the poor and middle class by raising park fees, Cal State and UC tuition, community college fees, and much more. We really can't believe this guy farther than we can throw him!

I still can't understand why anyone believes anything coming out of Arnold's mouth. He pretended to be a "reformer" during the Recall election, and then a true conservative during the 2005 Special Election. Now he's playing the role of a "center-left politician with big plans" for the state. Seriously, if this guy wanted to work on his acting, then why couldn't he have just stayed in Hollywood? If Arnold couldn't even act very well, then why should we be stuck with him as Governor?

- Andrew

Sunday, August 27, 2006
Steven Greenhut: GOP seems ready to be fooled twice
Gov. Schwarzenegger hasn't earned the loyalty of California conservatives

Sr. editorial writer and columnist
The Orange County Register

Those who believe in nothing will fall for anything, as the old saying goes. So it's only fitting that a Republican Party that has ceased to believe in anything has fallen for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Maybe in the early days of his administration, and through the defeat of his reform agenda last November, it was defensible to support him. But no more. Yet many Republican leaders at the state GOP convention in Century City last weekend were still atwitter over the Terminator's tired clich├ęs and faux tough talk.

One delegate I talked to epitomized this silliness: She was thrilled that the governor gave a luncheon speech that sounded "conservative." In that speech, the governor vowed to "secure the borders for once and for all." In fairness, the governor has said similar things throughout the summer, but in late July he claimed to first learn about widespread anger at illegal immigration during a community meeting in La Mesa, where he accused anti-immigration forces of being hateful. And the governor has waffled back and forth between supporting and opposing National Guard troops at the border. Who really knows where the governor stands on this or any other issue?

At Century City, Gov. Schwarzenegger blasted the Democrats: "Our friends in the other campaign want to go back to the failed policies of the past – higher taxes, more government spending, more government regulations and less growth."
Compare what the other party does with Schwarzenegger's program of higher debt spending, more government spending and more government regulations and less growth, and it's quite a choice, isn't it?

Of course, the Democrats are always bad. So, of course Republicans will usually rally around their candidate, no matter how far afield his viewpoints might be. But a point is reached where it's not worth it anymore, where victory isn't so sweet because "our" guy isn't in any fundamental way different from "their" guy. I reached that point with Richard Riordan, when he ran for governor, and am at that point with our current governor, who, frankly, tells audiences anything he thinks they want to hear.

It was pathetic that any convention delegate would be debating whether the Schwarzenegger convention speech sounded conservative enough. Who cares? When a politician has proven that he has no principles whatsoever, and tailors his remarks to his given audience, then why should those remarks have any credence?

We've heard the "immigrant comes to America for opportunity" shtick a million times. We've heard how much he admires Milton Friedman, the great free-market economist, at least a thousand times. At the Republican Flag Day dinner in Orange County, I heard the governor say he became a Republican because it is the party of power, and he loves America because it is a powerful nation.

Yuck. I choose my party affiliation based not on its power, but on its principles. I love America because of its stated commitment to liberty and justice, not because it is strong. This tells me something. The governor is a sucker for power, which no doubt explains his fierce tack to the left now that he is convinced this is his safest route to remaining in power. Given that the Democrats nominated a nerdy, leftist technocrat who never met a tax he didn't want to impose on Californians, Schwarzenegger has an easy task before him. That makes it all the more shameless that he would say and do anything to get elected. It isn't even necessary.
At the Republican convention, Gov. Schwarzenegger refused to be seen with the Republican slate of down-ticket candidates. State Sen. Tom McClintock, one of the most principled men in modern political life, is running for lieutenant governor against John Garamendi, who during an Editorial Board meeting a couple years ago actually sung the praises of the Cuban health care system! Chuck Poochigian, who has established a solid legislative record on crime and civil liberties issues, is running for attorney general against Jerry Brown, who has vowed to use the office to target private businesses.

The governor is too good to stand with McClintock and Poochigian or some of the other perfectly well-qualified GOP candidates for statewide office? Then Republicans should be too good to stand with him.

Just for starters, this "Republican" governor is promoting:

•A massive $42 billion spending program on infrastructure that exceeds even the amounts sought by Democrats.
A prescription drug initiative that, according to the Pacific Research Institute, will impose price controls on pharmaceutical companies and will lead to the development of fewer new medicines and more government subsidies.
A large increase in the minimum wage, just as the economy starts grinding to a halt.
A costly anti-property-rights environmental agenda that includes government spending on solar roofs, hydrogen cars, the setting aside of 25 million acres of land, bans on offshore drilling and an otherworldly scheme to force businesses to comply with new global-warming regulations.

On his campaign Web site, the governor boasts about having created a new government health-care bureaucracy, about spending 27 percent more on health care than the previous administration and of increasing the enrollment of people in government health-care programs.
Funny me, but I thought that supporters of Milton Friedman's ideas understood that markets offer the best solutions to crucial issues, not expansion of government regulations and spending. Yes, the governor has vetoed many of the Chamber of Commerce's job-killer bills, but he has supported many other efforts that shackle the marketplace and impose undue burdens on business. His actions have shown no real love of freedom ... or of justice.

Did I mention that the governor has so far refused to support Proposition 90, the statewide initiative that would stop cities from using eminent domain to transfer homes and small businesses to big developers? The governor, who apparently likes nothing more than power, has sided with the powerful interests on this one.

If you really want to understand what this governor is all about, listen to John Hagar, the special master overseeing reform of California's criminally mismanaged prison system. At a court hearing in San Francisco, Hagar "fired a barrage of accusations at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his innermost circle, alleging perjury, the trading of favors, politically motivated intimidation and more," according to a Los Angeles Times report July 16. "As Hagar sees it, Schwarzenegger's bid for reelection has prompted his aides to improperly snuggle up to the prison guards union, a deep-pocket powerhouse in California politics. To sweeten relations, Hagar asserts, Schwarzenegger is granting the union clout over key decisions – and at least temporarily shelving his agenda of prison reform."

If the polls are right, and after the election the governor remains the only statewide GOP official, will Republicans still think it was worth it to sell out all their principles on behalf of someone like this?

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