The subject of Arnold Schwarzenegger bores me. I wrote ceaseless columns on this site warning Republicans and conservatives that he would govern as a liberal and operate as a Trojan Horse for the Dems. During an appearance on the now-defunct CNN show Inside Politics, I said that he could become “the Jim Jeffords of the West Coast.” For my troubles, I was dismissed as an out-of-touch, maniacal, abortion-obsessed pinhead.
Now to hear the same country-club Republican jackasses who sabotaged Tom McClintock and parachuted Arnie into office whine about his liberal legacy is just boring. You made this slipshod bed; lie in it. “This isn’t the Arnold we once knew,” they say in effect. Yes, it is. You just weren’t paying attention, or more likely just didn’t care, owing to ambivalence about your own platform.
Cowed by their pro-abort trophy wives and snot-nosed, Daily Show-watching children, Republican businessmen made endless excuses for Schwarzenegger. Well, at least he is a “fiscal conservative,” they would say, mumbling something about him having quoted Adam Smith and Milton Friedman once or twice.
To anyone even remotely paying attention, this was obvious BS. His entrée into California politics was to spearhead in 2002 a nanny-state proposition as dumb as the ones that went down Tuesday — Proposition 49, which was designed to hike up state spending for before-school and after-school latchkey-kid-watching programs.
Popping off about his alliance with Dems during the Proposition 49 campaign, Schwarzenegger told an impressed David Broder that “this cause is bigger and more important than who you are or what your philosophy may be.” No, all it proved, as I wrote at the time (“The Squirminator: Things We Don’t Need, A Kennedy Republican,” in the November-December 2002 American Spectator), was that Arnie had championed an essentially Democratic, fiscally liberal cause.
When I saw headlines in January such as “California golfers must recall Arnold Schwarzenegger for golf tax,” I had to laugh. Was, I wondered, the same GOP confederacy of country-club dunces who catapulted Arnie into office now trying to remove him from it? Were the Gerry Parskys, who had pooh-poohed the notion that such a “fiscally conservative” fellow like Arnie would ever raise taxes, now concerned that their driving-range and green fees might go up? Alas, that recall notion petered out quickly; legislators blocked his attempt to pass a “golf tax” and I didn’t see any more headlines like that one.
But on Tuesday, as Schwarzenegger joined Barack Obama to talk about “global warming” and other nothing issues during a visit to D.C., his constituents back home voted down every single one of his propositions, save the one that caps bloated salaries for pols during budget crises.
Well done! Perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of a revolt against the decades-long infantilization of politics, without which this kindergarten cop could never have entered high office. It is heartening to see Californians, if only a dedicated bloc of them who hauled themselves to the polls while their neighbors spaced out, send such a strong signal to the horde of hacks in Sacramento who wanted tax hikes rather than spending cuts. That thousands of California members of the National Education Association are stumbling around today in a frightened stupor is the most promising news I’ve seen come out of California in months.
Now peeved Californians should keep going and organize a recall of Schwarzenegger. Why not? He has governed more perniciously than Gray Davis. Unlike Davis, who couldn’t get away with much because he looked like a mortician, celebrity Arnie has successfully advanced all sorts of environmentalist and statist nonsense, along with serving up gobs of chic corruption, from his taxpayer-financed billions for therapeutic cloning to his loud support for gay marriage to his recent babblings about legalizing pot.
The Terminator has reached his terminus; Californians should show him the door.