Friday, September 03, 2004

Grand Old Party pooper

He's soft-pedaling the thing publicly, but I suspect there's a good deal more than meets to the eye to Governor Schwarzenegger's determination not to campaign for President Bush outside California.

Strong evidence of this lies in the press conference Arnold conducted yesterday at Planet Hollywood. Check out this line from the Governator:
"It is extremely important for me to stay in California and do my job. We have, as you know, a huge majority of Democrats in the state, and a lot of them have voted for me. And I have to represent them. I have to fight for them. I really have to get things done. It would be wrong to see me every day on the road, going from state to state. That's not what people voted for. That's not why people sent me to Sacramento."
Or this:
"People always say if you're not totally for the right, you're not really a Republican. That's nonsense. This is what I wanted to let everyone know: 'Hey, let's be inclusive.' I think that we are on to something in California, that we are going to try to bring things to the center. The action is in the center; it's not always to the right."
My thought is that Arnold, despite his rousing stump speech at the GOP Convention, isn't much of a Bush guy. Truth to tell, the two don't have much in common ideologically. Arnold's more centrist: he's pro-choice (though he opposes partial-birth abortion and supports parental notification), supports gun control (he favors eliminating the gun show exception and backs the Brady Bill), pays at least nominal fealty to the concept of gay rights (though not gay marriage), and at least thus far opposes off-shore oil drilling.

More than that, though, I believe that Schwarzenegger, a fiercely competitive guy, just doesn't see Bush as a winner. He's reluctant to hitch his wagon to what he considers a falling star. Arnold would like to be President himself someday — assuming his supporters can push through a Constitutional amendment that would permit a naturalized citizen to be elected — and thus isn't jazzed about being too closely aligned with an administration that will need plenty of luck to win a second term.

So, Arnold says to the Prez what he said to the dope pusher in Kindergarten Cop: "I'm the party pooper." The Grand Old Party pooper, that is.

One interesting sidelight: I happened to be in the car listening to KCBS NewsRadio yesterday when the Arnold press conference broke up. Doug Sovern, the KCBS reporter on the scene, was the only radio journalist invited into the conference, and was apparently read the riot act by the Schwarzenegger camp about not scooping his brethren by revealing too many specifics of what the Governator had said. Sovern was clearly agitated by the restrictions — though he was absolutely professional about it on the air, one could hear the anger tinging his voice when he reported the story and mentioned that he had been ordered not to tell most of what he'd heard. Schwarzenegger, who more than any other politician owes his office to mass media, should know better than to pull that kind of stunt with the fourth estate.

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