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Is Arnold Schwarzenegger Really a Conservative?
by David T. Pyne
16 September 2003Arnold

The only Reaganite candidate in this race is conservative stalwart Tom McClintock.

Congressman David Drier (R-CA), Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest chief spokesman, made the first attempt in historical memory to expand the definition of conservatives to include liberals such as Schwarzenegger by repeatedly referring to him as a conservative. Self-described ‘Arnold apologist’ Congressman Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) has repeated the same propaganda line on the television airwaves in a bid to convince understandably doubting conservatives to support his Hollywood actor friend for Governor of California. During this campaign, Schwarzenegger has tried repeatedly to misrepresent himself as the heir to the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan. In fact, the only Reaganite candidate in this race supporting Reaganite conservative principles is conservative stalwart State Senator Tom McClintock, as former President Ronald Reagan’s son Michael readily points out.

The Los Angeles Times published an article in its August 24th edition about how national conservative organizations are beginning to line up behind Schwarzenegger after expressing initial misgivings. Among the “conservative” organizations listed who have now endorsed Schwarzenegger is the Republican Leadership Council, a liberal group which is dedicated to getting the Republican Party to abandon its principled stands on issues of importance to social conservatives such as the right to life, opposition to gay marriage, support for gun rights, etc. Moderate State Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim has reportedly been pressuring all of the other Republican candidates to drop out of the race to clear the way for Schwarzenegger’s campaign. Even Michael Dukakis’ former campaign manager, Ann Stone, said she might vote for Schwarzenegger given his liberal positions on the issues.  In California, the Orange County chapter of the Lincoln Club, a wealthy left-of center GOP group that donates money to moderate to liberal Republican candidates, endorsed Schwarzenegger and urged all other Republicans to drop out of the race.

What exactly does Schwarzenegger stand for? According to the candidate himself, he has declared that he is “very liberal” on social issues, which means that his stands on these issues are virtually identical to liberal Democrats like Governor Gray Davis and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. He has come out in favor of homosexual civic unions and adoption rights, abortion on demand and a semi-automatic weapon ban--already on the books--that bans about 150 different kinds of guns. In addition, he is a champion of big government and has spoken of the need to bring more businesses to California in order to raise more tax revenue to provide for increased social spending like his half billion dollar Proposition 49 boondoggle that passed last year. He is completely unreliable on the issue of taxes and has refused to rule out increasing taxes on already overtaxed Californians. He has surrounded himself with Clinton-supporting liberals like Warren Buffet and Rob Lowe. Now we learn that Schwarzenegger has retained Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as his main advisor on environmental issues. Some conservative.

What does Schwarzenegger think of the Republican Party? Most Republicans probably do not realize that during an interview published in the November 1999 issue of George magazine, Schwarzenegger stated, in reference to the vote by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives a year before to impeach his good friend, former President Bill Clinton, “that was another thing I will never forgive the Republican Party for (impeaching his good friend Bill Clinton) …I was ashamed to call myself a Republican.” If conservatives trick themselves into voting for him, they may well be ashamed of themselves if he ends up implementing his liberal stands on the issues which differ but little from Governor Davis’ own.

The primary justification given by the liberal Republican Establishment to trick the GOP grassroots into backing a liberal like Schwarzenegger is his supposed crossover appeal to Democrats, which they say could eat into the support of radical Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante. However, according to the latest LA Times poll, only 7% of likely Democrat voters now support Schwarzenegger for Governor, with seven out of ten Democrats polled saying they view him unfavorably. The poll also shows that McClintock is supported by more Latino voters than Schwarzenegger. In typical liberal fashion, Schwarzenegger, who has tried to be everything to everybody in a bid to get support from liberal Democrats as well as right-leaning Republicans, has nevertheless already racked up a high unfavorability rating of 44%, with only 46% of Californians holding a favorable opinion of him. Moreover, Schwarzenegger’s support remains “soft.” While Bustamante’s and Senator McClintock’s supporters said they were unlikely to change their minds and support someone else for Governor, nearly half of Schwarzenegger’s supporters said that they still might do so.

As Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly stated on his radio show and in an editorial that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on August 23rd, there is nothing conservative about Arnold Schwarzenegger. In his editorial, Rush expressed surprise that so many conservatives were supporting a liberal like Schwarzenegger when better conservative candidates were also running. Rush wrote, “But what does surprise me are the reactions of some conservatives who see California's problems as so severe that they can't be solved by the application of conservative principles. Their thinking has led them to support Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, to my knowledge, has yet to embrace any conservative positions, though he has embraced Warren Buffett.” The National Review Editorial Review Board concurred with Rush’s assessment, stating that Schwarzenegger is “unworthy of conservative support.”

The only conservative stand taken by Schwarzenegger was his vote for Proposition 187, which passed by an overwhelming margin in 1994. This proposition would have denied government-subsidized health, welfare and education benefits to illegal aliens had its implementation not been stopped by a single Clinton-appointed federal judge in California. However, Schwarzenegger has since stated that his current position is that all illegal immigrants should be allowed to remain in California and that the issue of Proposition 187 had been adjudicated by the courts and is now moot. Only McClintock, who has expressed support for resurrecting Proposition 187 in some form, seems to realize that coming out forcefully against illegal immigration may well be the key to a GOP victory over Cruz Bustamante on October 7th.

There is yet another reason that conservatives should refrain from supporting Schwarzenegger. There have been a lot of suggestions, believable in my opinion, that he is a womanizer. George Will wrote an article early last week predicting that the Democrats will launch a last minute smear attack on Schwarzenegger, that, given his past indiscretions, could completely kill off any chance he has of winning the race for Governor. McClintock, on the other hand, is a man of high moral character who is scandal free. In an “X-rated” 1977 interview with Oui magazine, Schwarzenegger used foul language to boast of his involvement in a sex orgy, spoke of his preferred sex partners and revealed his preferred illicit drugs of choice. The disclosure of this article probably killed off whatever scanty support he had previously been receiving by misguided social conservatives who had been considering whether to vote for him in betrayal of their principles. Oh yeah, he also smoked marijuana as a young adult on his first film, Pumping Iron, no less--a first for a serious prospective gubernatorial candidate.

Perhaps after Clinton’s and Jesse Ventura’s successful bids for public office, most Americans don’t think these things should influence our decision on who to vote for. However, they should for those of us who consider ourselves social conservatives. It is essential that we support men and women of strong moral character for public office to set examples to our youth and help make this country a better place to live. Character does matter. After living through eight years of the disgrace known as the Clinton presidency, it is surprising that so many so-called conservatives seem to have forgotten that.

David T. Pyne, Esq. is President of the Center for the National Security Interest, a national security think-tank based in Arlington, VA.

Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this
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