Arnold Schwarzenegger Advises Republicans to Capture the Center, Would Welcome Run by Bloomberg

Arnold Schwarzenegger has advised the Republicans to attempt to capture the center. The Financial Times reports:

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, has urged Republican presidential candidates to capture the political centre ground ahead of next year’s election by focusing on healthcare reform and education.

As the campaign has unfolded, leading candidates have drifted to the right to win support from social conservatives.

But in an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Schwarzenegger said the party’s candidates were “missing out on something” because televised debates had been dominated by questions about gay marriage, abortion and immigration.

Mr Schwarzenegger said candidates should challenge the questions they were asked in the debates. “Someone has to say: ‘We’ve talked enough about immigration, now I want to talk about healthcare reform’.” The candidates had to “move the agenda”, he said.

Shifting the debates to centre-ground topics would be a positive move, he added. “Being somewhat in the centre . . . is not a detriment. If you sell [your ideas] well and if you explain it well, that’s what leadership is all about, bringing people along.”

Schwarzenegger is right that the Republicans need to move back towards the center, but there are a couple of problems with the approach he recommended. Republicans cannot capture the center by talking about issues such as health care because they have no meaningful plans. The health care crisis cannot be solved by screaming that every meaningful proposal represents “socialized medicine” and then offering counter proposals which  would often worsen the situation.

The Republicans also cannot win the center by simply trying to shift the discussion away from their far right wing views on social issues as these are the among the  positions which have caused the Republicans to lose the center. Other issues which were not mentioned such as Iraq will also prevent the Republicans from being a viable option for many centrist voters.

Schwarzenegger also expressed interest in Michael Bloomberg:

He said he would welcome a presidential bid from Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, who is considering standing as an independent candidate in next year’s election.

Mr Bloomberg was a “miracle worker” who transcended party lines in running New York, a Democrat party stronghold, Mr Schwarzenegger said.

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