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Arnold is no Liberal
by Bob Chandra
12 September 2003Arnold

Says Arnold the Economist, "I am more comfortable with an Adam Smith philosophy than with Keynesian theory."

California Republicans have a historical opportunity to remove from office the state’s corrupt and inept governor, Gray Davis, who has bankrupted California and buried it in debt.  Recent polls indicate that the effort to recall Gray Davis will succeed.  However, the nightmare scenario would be that Davis ally Cruz Bustamante would gain the most votes as a result of Republicans dividing their votes amongst several candidates. Recent polls by Time/CNN, NBC, and the Public Policy Institute of California all suggest the same thing - Schwarzenegger is ahead of Bustamante, while Bustamante would beat Tom McClintock easily.  But the question arises--is Arnold a “liberal?”

In order to make this determination, one has to plumb Schwarzenegger’s background, actions, and past statements for indications of his politics. The evidence strongly suggests Arnold is not, in fact, a liberal.  From the Wall Street Journal: "Bill Saracino, a former head of Gun Owners of California, believes that when it comes to conservatives evaluating Mr. Schwarzenegger, ‘the glass is half full or way more.’ He notes that Mr. Schwarzenegger has opposed strict gun controls."  In a magazine interview, Arnold said, "Outlawing guns is not the right method of eliminating the problem. If you outlaw guns, people will still have them illegally." According to NewsMax: “Arnold has given private assurances to congressmen and Republican Party leaders that he will come out against partial-birth abortion, pederasts in the Boy Scouts, and welfare for illegal aliens. Couple that with a knowledgeable defense of free market economics gained through study of Milton Friedman and years of attending Reason Foundation seminars, and Arnold takes the wind out of his Republican opponents Bill Simon and Tom McClintock.”

Arnold supported Proposition 187 to deny taxpayer-funded services for illegal immigrants.  When criticized for it by the media, he did not backpedal and instead conveyed the importance of rule-of-law.  On family values, Arnold understands the importance of two parent households.  In Salon.com, he called the phenomenon of broken homes one of the most pressing problems in society today.  These are some of the reasons that Hugh Hewitt came out in support of Arnold in his column on WorldNetDaily.  Hewitt summarizes his thinking this way, “I support the most conservative candidate who has the most realistic chance of winning.  A vote for Tom McClintock, Bill Simon or Peter Ueberroth is a vote for Cruz Bustamante.  It really is that simple.”

Regarding his fiscal inclinations, Arnold’s successful rise from rags to riches suggests that he respects the role of entrepreneurs in creating jobs and building the economy.  According to the Wall Street Journal: "Mr. Schwarzenegger's biography exemplifies the American dream...At age 21, he came to America in 1968 with little money and even less command of English. A natural capitalist, he bought up office buildings and apartment complexes before he ever made a film. His business empire now includes shopping malls, a Boeing 747 he leases to an airline, and a large chunk of Santa Monica real estate. He took evening courses in business at UCLA, and earned a bachelor's degree in business by mail from the University of Wisconsin at Superior.” Arnold’s business background suggests he will be responsible with taxpayer money and knowledgeable on financial matters.

A recent Contra Costa article (“Arnold’s finances reveal a shrewd tale”) reveals how Schwarzenegger built his personal fortune through successful entrepreneurship and perceptive business moves.  Arnold told the Financial Times, "I am more comfortable with an Adam Smith philosophy than with Keynesian theory."  He has also said, "I still believe in lower taxes -- and the power of the free market. I still believe in controlling government spending. If it's a bad program, let's get rid of it."  According to a San Jose Mercury News report, Schwarzenegger is a “fan of the University of Chicago Economics Department, which had provided President Reagan's economic advisers.”

There are some who call Arnold a “compromise candidate”.  But given his past actions and statements, it’s clear that a strong streak of conservatism runs through him.  At very least, he is no “liberal.”

Bob Chandra is a Bay Area Republican activist and writer

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