Republicans love to pull out Arnold Schwarzenegger when they feel they will benefit from campaigning with a celebrity, but Arnold would have never made it into office if he had to win a Republican primary first. While many in the party mistakenly believe they lost because they were not conservative enough, they would benefit from paying more attention to Schwarzenegger. He was interviewed on This Week with George Stephanopoulos and began by explaining why he has been busy, saying something most Republicans would never say:
Through global warming, we have now a fire season all year round. We used to have fire seasons only in the fall. But now the fire seasons start in February already. So this means that we have to really upgrade and have more resources, more fire engines, more manpower, and all of this, which, of course, does cost extra money.
While many Republicans are denying the existence of global warming, Schwarzenegger is working with the implications. He also has a more realistic view of taxes than conservative like Grover Norquist who insists that Republicans pledge not to raise taxes under any circumstance:
I don’t want to do it. I hate taxes. I hate the word “taxes” and all of those things. But there’s certain times when you have to forget about the ideology, and, you know, all of this, and fix problems…
Stephanopoulos noted he sounded much like Barack Obama when trying to look beyond partisanship:
I think it’s a bunch of nonsense, talking about parties and all of those things — because in the end, the American people are not that interested in Democrats versus Republicans and them arguing in Washington about is this a Democratic principle or is this a Republican principle.
Let me tell you something. When it comes to building roads and people driving on the roads — it’s Democrats, Republicans, independents, decline to state — everyone wants to use those roads. Everyone’s kids — Republicans’ kids, Democrats’ kids — everyone is in the school. They want to have great education. When it comes to clean air and protecting our environment and fighting global warming, everyone in America wants to be part of that.
So I think that it’s only the politicians that always divide things up and they draw and line and say this is a Republican idea and this is a Democratic idea. And in the meantime, it doesn’t help the people to stay in their homes.
Schwarzenegger questioned the idea that moving further to the right is what is required for Republicans to return to core values:
Remember that so many times there’s dialogue about, you know, we have to go back to our core values.
What is that? What is core? How far does core go back in history in America, the word core? Does it go back 30 years? Does it go back 50 years? Because we know that Teddy Roosevelt talked about universal health care. So they’re off the core for a long time ago already. He has talked about protecting our environment. So they’ve been off for a long time on that.
I mean, let’s be honest. Ronald Reagan — let’s go to Eisenhower, for instance. Eisenhower has built the highway system in America and he’s poured billions of dollars into infrastructure. Where Republicans today say, well, that’s spending. We shouldn’t spend. That’s not spending. That’s investing in the future of America.
So there’s a lot of things that they have been off on, if they want to go and talk about the core values. But maybe their definition of core values is maybe different.
But I mean, so I think it’s all nonsense talk. I think if they just talk about one thing, what do we need now?
Now, America needs to be rebuilt, because we haven’t really rebuilt America for decades. So we need to rebuild America, fix the bridges, fix the highways, fix the buildings, tunnels and all of those kind of things we need to do. And then we have to go and create great relationships with our partners overseas, with the world, and to build those relationships again. And we have to take care of health care. We have to take care of our environment. And we have to build an energy future. Those are the things that people want right now.
He differs from the right wing in questioning the constitutionality of prohibiting gay marriage, regardless of his own views on the subject:
I personally am — for me, marriage is between a man and a woman. But I don’t want to ever force my will on anyone.
I think that the Supreme Court was right by saying that it’s unconstitutional. And that everyone should have the right, just like we had the battle in 1948 and the Supreme Court decision came down, that, you know, it was unconstitutional for blacks and whites not to be able to get married with each other, and they overturned that. And since then, that has been taken care of.
And now the Supreme Court says that it’s also unconstitutional to not let gay people get married, the same-sex marriage. So to me, that is the important decision here, and everything else is not that important. So people can pass initiatives, like Proposition 187 passed under Wilson that said we should not give, you know, Latinos and those that are illegally here any educational services or any kind of medical services. The Supreme Court said, well, the people maybe had some intentions there, but it’s unconstitutional.
The Republicans will have a much better shot of remaining as a viable political party if they adopt Schwarzenegger’s more moderate outlook, but this is not very likely to occur.