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Gray's Total Recall
by Selwyn Duke
28 July 2003Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger belongs to the Christine Todd Whitman/George Pataki wing of the Republican Party.

History was made in California Wednesday as state officials certified 1.3 million valid petition signatures in the effort to recall Governor Gray Davis, far more than the 897,158 his opponents needed to require the state’s first ever special election. And really, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Davis, whose given name is fitting as it describes a banal political persona that is as lacking as his skills as a statesman, has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It was less than a year ago that he won re-election in a landslide.  But that was before the fruits of his liberal policies reached critical mass and caused a meltdown in California’s economy.

What makes the prospect of a recall election all the more scintillating is the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger could be poised to succeed Gray Skies Davis, should the voters decide to terminate the Governor. While the bodybuilder turned actor turned political aspirant hasn’t officially declared his candidacy, I think that he will take the plunge. If he does, I think he will win and follow in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps to become the second actor to occupy the highest office on the left coast. And that would make me happier about politics in America – not happy, mind you – but happier. I include this caveat because while Schwarzenegger could follow in Reagan’s footsteps, he could never fill his shoes. His election wouldn’t be morning in America, but just a slight parting of Gray Skies.

The problem with the buff actor is that he represents the changing face of the Republican Party, and what that means is that he isn’t really conservative. When asked by Bill O’Reilly if he has been shunned by many of those oh-so-tolerant Hollywood could-double-their-IQ-with-one-serving-of-fish types, he replied that no, he hadn’t been because he’s merely fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. You see, in Tinseltown being only fiscally conservative means you simply aren’t as highly evolved as, oh . . . let’s say, an intellectual giant like Barbara Streisand or Cher. But you will rue the day you become socially conservative because then you’re deserving of extinction.

Lest you misunderstand me, I want to make it clear that I’m thoroughly imbued with fiscal conservatism. This is because I recognize the fact that taxing and spending is actually a moral issue – how could it not be? Coercively extracting exorbitant amounts of money from people so that you can use it for your charities, pet causes and vote buying is nothing less than legalized theft. But fiscal conservatism is not my political master status, because to care about nothing more than money is to lack a soul.

What lies at the heart of any sound philosophy of governance is a proper grasp of social issues. For this reason, being a fiscal conservative doesn’t impress me. Heck, a person could brand himself as fiscally conservative simply because he’s a liberal who’s cheap. Think about it: saying you’re fiscally conservative but socially liberal is a little like being a father who will let his son do anything as long as the boy doesn’t cost him any money. Listen son, you can have sex in your room upstairs and do drugs, just make sure you get free condoms at school and free needles via one of those government exchange programs. And if there’s an abortion, remember that there are free clinics – I don’t want to see a doctor’s bill.

And that is what Schwarzenegger is: a man of the Christine Todd Whitman/George Pataki wing of the party. Not a libertarian, not a conservative, he occupies that populist land of laissez-faire morals where liberalism and conservatism meet and melt into a type of amorphous mass of pandering goo that can take the shape of whatever political vessel it finds itself in. You could say that a politician like him is real conservative tissue over a liberal endoskeleton.

Fiscal conservatives lack a well-developed moral compass and for this reason will never be visionary leaders. To many of them, being a statesman is similar to being a CEO or a money manager. Fiscal conservatives also tend to lack an appreciation for freedom; they may be pro-abortion but are willing to limit other choices six ways to Friday. The right to bear arms, to allow smoking in your own establishment, to have a men-only club, to spank your child and many other freedoms are often anathema to them. You see, such kowtowing to politically correct causes helps you get elected without sullying your credentials as a fiscal conservative. After all, the trampling of these liberties doesn’t cost tax money.

It will be delicious if Gray Skies actually bites the dust but it will simply be the turning of lemons into lemonade, not the obtaining of a bottle of Chateau Le Pin 1998. If I lived in California, I would have to hold my nose while pulling the lever in the voting booth because I have no use for fiscal conservatives. With Republicans like them, who needs Democrats? Don’t get fiscal with me.

Selwyn Duke's homepage is The Truth Page.

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