Reader Mail

Neumayr and the Groper

A special exchange between a Schwarzenegger critic and a slew of Schwarzenegger defenders.

10.9.03

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A SPECIAL EXCHANGE
Re: George Neumayr's A Party of Gropers and Reader Mail's Blind Loyalties:

The Republicans won't need so big a tent if they abandon their social conservative base. I have a higher calling than merely to support the lesser of two evils. George Neumayr's pieces over the past several weeks have rung strikingly true. Please thank him for his uncompromising proclamation of the truth and his loud call to uphold traditional moral standards.

The conservative Christian community will lose if it sells its soul in compromise. Winning isn't as important as solidly standing for what is right. We will see next fall in New York whether the Republicans want us, or not.
-- Rebecca Kendall
Huntington, IN

I too am disappointed that the Republican party embraced Arnold rather than Tom McClintock, and in part it is because of Arnold's reputation. However, for Mr. Neumayr to suggest that Arnold's womanizing is the same as Bill Clinton's womanizing, is preposterous.

For years Arnold was a competitive body builder, then for many more years a movie star. He was at the top of his profession in both. I know there were many women (groupies) who followed Arnold and others in both professions. I suggest that the atmosphere was very similar to that of being a rock star - it's the nature of those two professions.

That's the point that Mr. Neumayr misses: the atmosphere usually dictates how one behaves, and it usually determines what is not acceptable. Arnold may be a womanizer, and he may have been crass at times, but no women have come forward to suggest that he forced them to do anything against their will or that he cause them any harm or concern whatsoever.

To contrast, Bill Clinton womanized as Attorney General and Governor of Arkansas, and then as President of the United States. Clinton was always in a superior position to the woman he sought thereby creating hostile environments. I suggest that the atmosphere in the Attorney General, Governor, or President's office is substantially different than a body builder or movie star's places of work. Further, we all know who Clinton's accusers were and what they claim he did.

There are big differences in the modus operandi between Arnold and Clinton. I'm sorry that Mr. Neumayr cannot or is unwilling to make that distinction. Arnold is not my kind of Republican, but Clinton is not my kind of human.
-- D. Tomaselli

Well, Arnold has won in California and George Neumayr is not happy.

Mr. Neumayr laments that the "Infiltrator" in the California governor's mansion means the destruction of the California Republican Party. Why? Let's look at Mr. Neumayr's arguments.

Is Arnold really a "de facto Democrat and a Hollywood liberal?" Arnold has vowed to repeal the tripling of the car tax (McClintock's signature issue) and the egregious illegal alien driver's license law. He agrees that the state's budget problems should be solved by cutting spending, not by raising taxes (except on Indian casinos that currently aren't taxed). He supports meaningful worker's compensation reform. And though he was a bit evasive during the debate, he has supported Proposition 187, which sought to deny a variety of state-sponsored benefits to illegal aliens. That doesn't sound like Barbra Streisand to me.

Does Arnold's history of groping make him "exactly" what conservatives "opposed during the Clinton years"? It sounds like Mr. Neumayr has bought into the liberal position that the Clinton scandals were just about sex. But even if the allegations against Arnold are predominately true, is Mr. Neumayr being entirely honest in using terms such as "criminal" and "sexual assailant" to describe Arnold? As deplorable as grabbing women's behinds and making crude comments may be, there are real differences between Arnold and Clinton that are apparent to most reasonable people. Arnold never pulled out his willie and asked underlings to perform sexual acts on it (Paula Jones), groped someone asking him for a job (Kathleen Willey), or raped anyone (Juanita Broaddrick). And he never used the power of his position to try to destroy accusers or witnesses, and never lied to a grand jury in a criminal investigation. And though bad behavior is bad behavior, we should expect someone who holds high public office like President of the United States, or state governor or attorney general, to behave with more decorum and sensitivity than a body builder in a gym or an actor on the set of "Conan the Barbarian." Arnold's misdeeds seem less comparable to Clinton's than they do to those of the late senator Strom Thurmond, who Mr. Neumayr, no doubt, would like to have seen drummed out of the Republican Party.

Before Arnold's election, the Republicans in the state legislature were essentially irrelevant. They only had influence on measures requiring a two-thirds majority -- and only then when they could maintain near perfect unity. They now have someone in the governor's office who'll listen to them. The California Republican Party is stronger because of Arnold's election, and this makes the election of conservatives to statewide offices more, not less, likely.

Mr. Neumayr says that on the basis of a flurry of last minute butt grabbing accusations spearheaded by the Los Angeles Times we should all be calling Arnold a "criminal." But then he makes the off-the-wall charge that the state Republican leadership -- including just about every conservative leader in the state -- has been sucked in by the Los Angeles Times' reporting that a conservative can't win in California. I think most California conservatives take it as an article of faith that, despite the unfavorable political demographics and the Bill Simon debacle, under the right circumstances and with a little charisma, a conservative can win a statewide election for a policy-making position. But it is a faith tempered by reality, and over the past couple of weeks it was painfully obvious that McClintock wasn't going anywhere.

Those like Mr. Neumayr who think the election of a Republican like Arnold is a "defeat" need to be reminded that the Republican Party is not, and never has been, owned by conservatives. It is the party in which conservatives have a meaningful voice and through which conservatives can most effectively push their political agenda. Our success is mostly determined by our ability as citizens and commentators to win converts to conservative positions -- not by our ability to persuade party leaders to blackball potential candidates who don't perfectly conform to the conservative ideal. Sometimes we get a lot of what we want; sometimes we have to settle for half a loaf.

Now this might be offensive to Mr. Neumayr who, sitting up on his high horse, believes political reality should never pollute the mind of any good conservative. But what if Mr. Neumayr's philosophy were to be taken up by the political Left? The Democratic Party leadership would rally around a true liberal for president. Someone like Dennis Kucinich. And they would make it well known that they would rather lose elections than vote for "de facto Republicans" like Joe Lieberman, John Breaux, or Zell Miller. If that happened for a couple of election cycles, what do you think would happen to the Democratic Party? Would the influence of liberals in American politics increase or decrease?
-- Brandon Crocker
San Diego, CA

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