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Arnold un-Reagan-like

Now that a decent interval has passed since the moving tributes and funeral of the late Ronald Reagan, maybe it’s time to comment on something unseemly that took place before the late president was laid to rest.

There was Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister of Great Britain, standing next to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Thatcher recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America – not her own flag.

Schwarzenegger, an American running the executive branch of government of the largest state in the union, did not.

I didn’t notice it when it took place. It was brought to my attention by a caller to my radio program. I had to go back and check the tapes. Sure enough, the caller was right.

Since then, other people who witnessed the funeral have told me they noticed it right away.

I wonder how many millions of people around the world took notice?

This troubles me.

I always liked Schwarzenegger’s movies. But I’ve never liked him as a politician. I don’t think he has any principles, any deeply held convictions, any beliefs beyond what the pollsters and the media advisers tell him.

Most of the positions he has taken are wrong. And when he takes the right position on an issue, you never know if he will reverse himself the following week.

Now this.

How can one explain why the governor of California, of all people, would not say the Pledge of Allegiance at an internationally televised funeral for Ronald Reagan? What was he thinking? Was it an oversight of some kind? Was he so in awe of the event that he lost himself? Is it possible he doesn’t know the words? Maybe it’s time for a crash course.

I’ve tried to think about this in ways in which I could give him the benefit of the doubt.

But I’m deeply troubled by it.

How embarrassing for our nation.

On the one hand, Lady Thatcher says the pledge though no one would expect her to do so. She’s a British citizen who should not be expected to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. But she did. And she is standing next to a man who has chosen America as his adopted homeland – a man in a high-profile elected office – and he refuses to say it.

To me, this is more egregious than Bill and Hillary Clinton apparently dozing off during the eulogies at the National Cathedral. That bit of rudeness should be expected from a couple of cheap politicians. But I can’t even imagine Bill or Hillary failing to say the Pledge of Allegiance – not when they know the whole world is watching.

I think Arnold Schwarzenegger needs to explain himself.

After all, Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced legislation in the U.S. Congress to amend the Constitution so that the foreign-born Schwarzenegger could someday run for president. I don’t expect that amendment to go anywhere, but, nevertheless, it has been introduced.

And Schwarzenegger is still the governor of California – the state, ironically enough, from where the latest challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance, and its “under God” phrase, went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

He needs to explain himself and apologize for the poor etiquette and unpatriotic attitude he displayed during the Reagan funeral. It was a slight not only to the United States of America, but to the late president.

Comparisons have actually been drawn between Schwarzenegger and Reagan. Reagan, an actor, launched his political career as governor of California. But, as far as I’m concerned, that’s where the comparisons stop.

We all knew Ronald Reagan. And Arnold Schwarzenegger is no Ronald Reagan.

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