Campaign Crawlers

The Oui Republican

Arnie Schwarzenegger must chuckle at the ease with which he has manipulated his own side in the California race.

By 9.3.03

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, not yet ready to play a Republican on television, planned to duck Wednesday's gubernatorial debate. Here we have the four-corners pampered celebrity offense. Schwarzenegger will only appear at one debate, a mid-September event that gives the candidates the questions in advance. Schwarzenegger can learn his lines for that one.

Schwarzenegger must chuckle at the ease with which he has manipulated this race. He only had to toss a few bones toward Republicans to get them to jump up on his lap. He made vague anti-tax sounds at one press conference and he is suddenly a Republican we can all trust. How many times will the Jim Jeffordses have to burn Republicans before they realize that liberal Republicans always govern like Democrats?

Schwarzenegger's statement that he wouldn't raise taxes unless there is an emergency is hardly reassuring. The state is in an emergency! Does that justify a tax hike? We'll see.

Unless a Republican is explicitly and philosophically opposed to new taxes he will eventually raise them. It is not hard to imagine a Governor Schwarzenegger raising taxes "for the children." His automatic dismissal of cuts to education spending -- he won't even consider them, despite the California educational system's reputation as a bloated bureaucracy and gravy train for hack teachers -- is telling.

It is clear that he has no concept of limited government. True, he says the state shouldn't spend money it doesn't have. But this just implies that it is okay to kick-start the spending once tax revenues roll in. That the state should only perform the few functions the people can't perform for themselves is not an idea in his head, as is clear from his remark that the "children" get first crack at the state treasury. Statists talk about "before-school and after-school programs"; conservatives talk about before-school and after-school parents.

Downplaying his adviser Warren Buffett's pro-tax positions, Schwarzenegger says that both the left and the right are represented in his campaign. Actually, it is only the left and the center. Wilsonites are not the right. Pete Wilson engineered the largest tax hike in California state history. Richard Riordan, another influence on Schwarzenegger, is also an avowed tax-hiker, once saying that "We must be willing to increase the tax dollars for schools. Pulling up the ladders will not be enough to protect us from the crime and the ultimate need for more tax dollars to take care of increasing social problems."

Like Riordan, Schwarzenegger has said that he is "very liberal" about social programs. How will he pay for these very liberal social programs? Social liberals never end up fiscal conservatives, because statism depends upon the financing of fiscal liberalism.

Unless Schwarzenegger grasps that government should only do what the people can't do for themselves, there is no reason to believe that he will govern as a fiscal conservative. Moreover, the social problems he wants government to solve were created in large part by the liberal morality he espouses. The irresponsible ethos he casually discussed in his comically obscene, exhumed Oui interview -- and which he still at some level accepts, as evident from his Howard Stern appearances -- has contributed to the pathologies that drive the expansion of government. Schwarzenegger is a "children's activist" who supports the sexual-revolution morality that hurts children.

If a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual adoption Democrat with a history of group sex were in the race, Republicans would consider that candidate a danger to the commonweal. So why does all of this become acceptable when the candidate has an "R" after his name? What does it profit a party to win and lose its soul? Now we even hear the same Republicans who lamented the Clintonization of politics rejoice that it will spare their candidate further scrutiny.

The race is now down to three candidates -- a liberal Democrat, a Republican with Democratic views, and a real Republican, Tom McClintock. He is a Republican rarity in the state, a politician with a functioning intellect and backbone. So clearly he is not electable. It never occurs to Republicans that this fatalism about conservatives like McClintock guarantees that they will never win. The fatalism fulfills itself. Yes, a half of a loaf is better than none. But if Schwarzenegger wins conservatives will be lucky to even get crumbs.

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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.