I noted the open-borders debacle at the California GOP in June. The party leadership is a mess. Now, liberal Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is seizing on the vulnerable state of the California GOP to push it to the left (which Kennedy Republicans call the “center”) on the environment and health care:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a warning to his fellow California Republicans on Friday: Their party is doomed if it does not move to the political center.
In a speech before 1,200 delegates to a semiannual state party convention, Schwarzenegger said the group’s failure to reach out to independent and moderate voters — and embrace politicians who, like him, govern from the middle — is causing membership to plummet.
“In movie terms, . . . we are dying at the box office,” he said. “We are not filling the seats.”
The speech, which drew a mixed response, comes at a time of strained relations between the governor and the conservative activists who control the party. Schwarzenegger’s policies on the environment, healthcare and state spending have led some party leaders to call him a Democrat masquerading as a Republican.
Yet in welcoming Schwarzenegger, party Chairman Ron Nehring described him as “the single greatest asset of the California Republican Party.” Anticipating the speech to come, Nehring said the governor had been “bold” in taking the lead on healthcare and the environment — traditionally Democratic issues.
Schwarzenegger, armed with poll numbers and invoking the names of “pragmatic conservatives” Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt, told a nearly full ballroom at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa that on the issues, most Republican voters agree with him — not party activists.
“Our party has lost the middle, and we will not regain true political power in California until we get it back,” he said. “I am of the Reagan view that we should not go off the cliff with flags flying.”
“I did that in 2005; trust me,” Schwarzenegger said in a reference to his failed special election, when voters rejected each one of the conservative ballot measures he championed.
Cautioning against an incipient “bunker mentality,” he urged the party to follow the lead of Democrats and invite independents to vote in primaries. Otherwise, he said in a clear reference to the summer’s prolonged budget standoff, the party will deteriorate to such an extent that “our only remaining power is to say no.”
“Only remaining power?” Didn’t it use to be a fundamental conservative tenet to say no to higher taxes and bigger government?
On global warming, Schwarzenegger continues to push the Gore agenda:
He called the attacks on his work to curb global warming shortsighted, saying that polls show nearly three-quarters of registered Republicans support the legislation he signed last year.
“They want this party to do something more about climate change than simply doubt it,” he said. “If it is the policy of the Republican Party to ignore the great majority of the world’s scientists . . . then that is a party at odds with the future.”
Maybe Texas Gov. Rick Perry should move to California:
Conservative Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who followed Schwarzenegger to the stage, received a more enthusiastic reception with a liberal-baiting speech.
“Since when did the field of science become the sole purview of left-wing politicians?” Perry said. He added, to loud applause and laughter, that he has heard Al Gore talk about global warming so often, “I’m starting to think his mouth may be the lead cause.”