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Repropositioning Schwarzenegger

Why is Arnie not man enough to support Ward Connerly's Prop. 54?

By 9.10.03

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The California ballot initiative Proposition 54 would end the state's outrageous collection of racial data. The racial numbers are used to prop up the quota lobby's propaganda. No racial data, no "patterns of discrimination" to allege. Panicking at the thought of losing this crucial propaganda tool, the quota lobby has unleashed the attack dogs on the popular initiative. USA Today reports that 50% of Californians support the measure, 37% oppose it. Yet its chief booster, Ward Connerly, already smells the scent of death. "Obviously we are about to be outgunned by an army of politically correct and racially-motivated forces, the likes of which we have never seen," Connerly has said.

Connerly's despair is understandable. He faces a wall of elite resistance, stretching from Gray Davis to Cruz Bustamante to Arnold Schwarzenegger. That's right, Connerly can't even count on the support of the candidate we're told is so reliably Republican. Opposing Proposition 54 is a "no-brainer," says Schwarzenegger. It is "disastrous," he told a Spanish-language station. What he has learned from his state-run babysitting program and other work in education, he says, is that the state must collect racial data in order to track the progress of minorities. This is one more snap shot of Schwarzenegger's statism. Take his quotes and cover up the attribution, and one would guess Cruz Bustamante was speaking.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Schwarzenegger is "all for health insurance for the unemployed, 'but this is probably the wrong time.'" So Hillary Care is a good idea at another time? Look at Schwarzenegger's remarks carefully and they almost all imply that big government is fine provided that state revenues are swelling. He still accepts that "everything" must be "provided" to the people. This is not the mind of a fiscal conservative but of a Democrat in slow motion.

"I'm not afraid of Democrats -- I married one," says Schwarzenegger. But he is leery of Republicans, at least believing ones. His comments about Proposition 54 suggest that he has learned nothing from Richard Riordan's campaign gaffes. Riordan thought for some reason that he could get votes from Republicans while simultaneously calling them ideological lowlifes. Schwarzenegger is repeating the pattern. The courting hasn't even begun and he has already given signs that he considers conservatives useless. Imagine what he will say about them if he is safely ensconced in Sacramento.

Schwarzenegger has let it be known that he is a stand-in for Riordan, an aging pol he deemed too confused and bumbling to run. Riordan was so undisciplined that during the Republican primary last year he allowed himself a pot shot at California GOP icon George Deukmejian. "George has a bad memory," he said. "He only remembers his grudges." And then there were the endless gibes at "extremists" in the party. Riordan's Big Tent covered everyone except conservatives.

Schwarzenegger is also big on GOP tolerance, as long as it doesn't mean tolerating conservatives. They embarrass him. "I was ashamed to call myself a Republican during that period," he said of the Republican-led Clinton impeachment. Now he is ashamed of the Republican supporters of Proposition 54. "Right-wing crazies," National Review Online quotes him as saying.

When will Republicans feel ashamed of Schwarzenegger? To win with a celebrity arriviste who would rather shred the Republican standard than carry it is shameful, especially when as solid and capable a Republican as Tom McClintock stands before them.

Dan Weintraub of the Sacramento Bee writes that the recent Field Poll "found that without McClintock in the race, Schwarzenegger takes a slight lead among replacement candidates, 33 percent support compared with 31 percent for Bustamante." What's not asked is what if Schwarzenegger exited? He could leave the race as casually as he entered it.

A McClintock surge is not out of the question. Weintraub reports that "McClintock is the only major candidate to improve his image rating considerably, going from 28/32 to 38/37," and "McClintock also scores best on a question asking voters what kind of job they think each of the candidates would do as governor. He gets a 35/19 excellent to poor ratio, while Cruz is at 36/31 and Arnold at 40/35."

It is Schwarzenegger who threatens to spoil the party's chances for a meaningful victory, which is already evident in his spoiling of Proposition 54.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.