Schwarzenegger not giving GOP help
There is little doubt that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would like to influence the outcome of the run for this year’s Republican presidential nomination.
From his inviting all candidates to an abortive climate change/global warming forum in New Hampshire (what else could a California governor mean by inviting presidential hopefuls to meet him in the first primary election state?) to his frequent mentions of candidates like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain, Schwarzenegger’s yen for a presidential nominee he likes better than incumbent George W. Bush is obvious.
The question: How can Schwarzenegger expect to influence his party nationally when he has done little or nothing for Republicans in his home state?
Some California Republican activists even believe he’s deliberately sabotaged the state party. One example: In 2006, he spurred the GOP to borrow $3 million and spend it on his reelection campaign, promising to make sure it got repaid. He has not kept that promise, and the debt is a big reason the state party is in trouble now.
Meanwhile, as the party languished $1.7 million in the red as of the end of last October, the governor’s own fund-raising set records, topping $125 million over six years.
In fact, Schwarzenegger’s own contributions to his campaigns come to far more than his party’s debt. Over the years, he’s spent well over $8 million on his own behalf. If he really cared about his party, he could easily open his checkbook and bail it out instantly.
But the governor shows little inclination to do that. Perhaps that’s because he appears more comfortable consorting with Democrats on most issues than with Republicans.
Take global warming and climate change. Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and former Democratic Asemblywoman Fran Pavley of Los Angeles County carried the landmark 2006 bill that now requires California to reduce carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions to 1990 levels within a little more than a decade.
Schwarzenegger signed that law over strong Republican opposition.
Many in the GOP still do not accept the entire notion that human activity contributes heavily to the global warming that has caused, for instance, the melting of all but one of the many glaciers once visible from the ironically named Glacier Point landmark in Yosemite National Park.
On health care, Schwarzenegger was plainly more comfortable all through last year with Democratic-sponsored plans for making insurance universally available than with Republican ideas for more piecemeal methods to decrease the numbers who lack coverage.
It’s been more than three years since he last spent significant time campaigning for Republican legislative candidates or helping them raise more than token amounts of campaign cash.
And in the last three months, ever since the party put out word that it is seriously in hock, Schwarzenegger has done little or nothing to help. Perhaps that’s because party officials elevated San Diego County’s Ron Nehring, far to Schwarzenegger’s right on most issues, to state chairman last year. Perhaps it’s because he feels party organizations are unimportant in California, where he got virtually no help from the official GOP apparatus in his 2003 recall election run and needed no help to get reelected in 2006.
Maybe it’s also because he’s given up on the GOP altogether. For sure, Schwarzenegger has sometimes touted current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a possible independent candidate for president. He’s also said he has no plans to run for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Barbara Boxer when his term expires at the end of 2010. Maybe he feels he might not win a Republican primary, since he’s so far left of most of his party cohorts.
In any case, he allowed the party to stop paying executive directors in many counties during the current runup to the Feb. 5 primary when he could have funded all those jobs by staging one small fund-raising dinner or forking over a little of his own cash.
The consequence is that Republican get-out-the-vote efforts next month will be considerably less than they might have been. That could conceivably lead to passage of Proposition 93, the lone truly partisan proposition on the upcoming ballot, a measure that would allow the current Democratic legislative leadership to remain in control in Sacramento for at least four more years.
In short, Schwarzenegger could have helped his party out of a serious bind that might have consequences at the polls, but instead he sat on his hands.
Which makes it highly ironic that he somehow thinks he ought to have a hand in choosing his party’s national standard-bearer.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User