Liberals in the California media always counsel the Republican Party to run liberal Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do Republicans think journalists offer this avuncular advice because they have the GOP’s best interests at heart? Let’s take a wild guess here and say that journalists don’t stay up late at night fretting over the welfare of the Republican Party. Why then do they promote the Riordans and the Schwarzeneggers? Because they want the Republican Party to adopt the liberalism of their party.
Me-too Republicanism is music to the liberal media’s ears. It means liberals get to exercise ideological control over both parties and shunt out of the mainstream debate all those “reactionary” Republicans who foil their agenda.
Democrats might well vote for Schwarzenegger. Why not? He agrees with them on the most fundamental philosophical issues. Democrats support it’s-for-the-children-and-the-elderly statism; so does he. They want gun control; so does he. They support a constitutional right to abortion; so does he. They may figure, Why not vote for a Republican who will do our work for us? In liberalizing the Republican Party, liberals have two parties to do their bidding. What they do from without — pressuring Republicans to compromise their principles — Schwarzenegger can do from within.
Republicans ravenous for pyrrhic victories are playing dumb about Schwarzenegger’s obvious liberalism, but liberals are not. They know he is a Hollywood liberal who won’t give them much trouble about their statism and political correctness. I have heard Davis-hating Democrats extol Schwarzenegger. They know that he is a Kennedy Republican, that is, a nominal Republican who will advance the views and values of Kennedy liberals under the false flag of Republicanism. “We want to make sure the mothers have affordable day care. We want to make sure the older folks have their care that they need. That everything has to be provided for the people,” says Schwarzenegger. Was Schwarzenegger doing an impersonation of Ted Kennedy?
The Kennedy playboy philosophy of Schwarzenegger also puts Dems at ease. “I have no sexual standards in my head that say ‘this is good’ or ‘this is bad,'” he has said to Cosmopolitan magazine. “‘Homosexual’ — that only means to me that he enjoys sex with a man and I enjoy sex with a woman. It’s all legitimate to me.” Has a Democrat every expressed the it’s-all-good moral relativism of his party more ably than that?
Schwarzenegger is the sort of “children’s activist” JFK could admire: Schwarzenegger can go from an appearance on the Howard Stern show to an elementary school classroom for a little chat with the children about “responsibility.” One can only marvel at the cynicism of it all. An actor known principally for bringing R-rated violence to children is treated by the media as one of the leading children activists in the country. As a member of the Kennedy family, Schwarzenegger would know from in-law Teddy that as long as a pol mouths PC pieties about children and women he can get away with just about anything. Who cares if he has pawed women? He holds the Gloria Steinem position on abortion! “I’m for choice. The women should have the choice. The women should decide what they want to do with their bodies. I’m all for that,” he says. Teddy couldn’t have said it better.
Schwarzenegger’s strategists are busy teaching him how to play a Republican on television, and we can expect him to throw a few bones to conservatives so they will politely avert their gaze from his Kennedy liberalism. But he will remain a de facto Democrat for anybody with eyes to see and ears to hear. Republicans who have lost their sight in the glare of his celebrity will call his candidacy “Big Tent” Republicanism. It is more like Circus Tent Republicanism.
Washington Post columnist David Broder — observing last year that Democrats like San Francisco ultraliberal mayor Willie Brown supported Schwarzenegger’s state-babysitting proposition, Prop 49 — wondered aloud: “Are [Democrats] letting themselves be used to create a new Ronald Reagan for the embattled California Republican party?” Don’t worry, Mr. Broder. Schwarzenegger is no Reagan, and the only party that’s being used is the Republican one.
Reagan registered with the Republican Party to stop liberals, not elect them. Schwarzenegger’s campaign is not the return of Reagan’s California party, but definitive proof of its collapse.
A party that abandons its agenda “to win” will have no agenda to promote once it does.