The past few weeks have been a wakeup call to those Republicans, and especially those conservatives, who got stars in their eyes and supported movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor during the historic Gray Davis recall campaign.
On the heels of a decisive defeat in the recent special election for his reform ballot initiatives, the Terminator is acting like he wants to terminate his alliance with the Republican Party.
Since he has failed to even slow the nonstop spending of the California Legislature, Arnold’s false reading of the election-results tea leaves has now led him to join the Democrat Party in pushing for tax-and-spend policies.
The news media is full of stories about the governor working on a $25 billion bond measure for infrastructure. Wait, no, it is $50 billion. Well, maybe it will be really big – the way Arnold likes things – could it be $100 billion?
The governor isn’t saying yet, nor is he saying how the state can finance such largess. Talk amongst politicos in the state is that some sort of a tax increase is coming, courtesy of a Republican governor.
Most shocking to conservatives has been his recent personnel moves and the conduct of some of the governor’s staff – who seem to relish the role of antagonists to any and all conservative or Republican causes.
Schwarzenegger recently announced his new chief of staff would be Susan Kennedy, one of recalled Democrat Gov. Gray Davis’ top deputies. Not only did Kennedy head up the California Abortion Rights Action League, but she previously served as the executive director of the California Democrat Party.
Kennedy admits that she has never voted for a Republican in her life!
And this comes on the heels of Schwarzenegger’s hiring of Daniel Zingale as chief of staff to the first lady and principal adviser to the governor. Zingale is another former top aide to the recalled-Gov. Davis, and he has a long record of extremely liberal political activism.
These stalwart Democrat leftists are going to be a further influence on a man who already was viewed as a liberal Republican to be, well, more liberal and less Republican.
If there was any doubt about what this means for Republicans and conservatives, just consider the recent conduct of Schwarzenegger Cabinet Secretary Terry Tamminen.
Earlier this week, Tamminen joined former Democrat Vice President Al Gore at an invite-only event at Stanford University. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Schwarzenegger’s man began his comments to the crowd with a list of “The top five things President Bush says he will do to address global warming.”
Tamminen lead the audience by asking if they knew the No. 1 thing Bush would do to end global warming.
The answer? “Wait two years. President Al Gore will fix it.”
This is how bad things have gotten for the GOP in Califonia.
What’s perhaps the saddest aspect to this saga is that it isn’t so much that Schwarzenegger has betrayed us – Republicans knew he did not have any great loyalty to our party, our ideals or our beliefs.
But, the real betrayal is by those Republican Party leaders and so-called conservatives who were tripping over one another to jump on the Schwarzenegger bandwagon.
It was back in January 2003 that then-California Republican Party Chairman, Shawn Steel and I first discussed the waging of a recall campaign against California’s corrupt and failed Democrat Gov. Gray Davis. We were live and on the air on the show I co-host on KSFO radio in San Francisco.
The people of California had had enough of the corruption, the overspending, the deceitful cronies in the Davis administration, and they wanted change – real change.
Within days of my on-air discussions, former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian had launched the Recall Gray Davis Committee and we were on the way to making history.
There was only one problem.
We needed someone to take over the governor’s seat once Davis was recalled.
Republican State Sen. Tom McClintock emerged as the frontrunner, with high favorability ratings from two statewide campaigns.
The only problem was that McClintock wasn’t acceptable to the Republican elite in this state, because he was a conservative.
So, Republicans did the unthinkable and knifed McClintock in the back. The entire Republican Party establishment rallied around the campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger (who announced his campaign in true Hollywood fashion on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno).
Even many conservatives sold out McClintock, so eager they were to ingratiate themselves to Schwarzenegger and his Kennedy wife, Maria Shriver.
And now we are all paying the price for those conservatives and Republicans who betrayed their principles and decided to play “groupie” to a washed-up Hollywood actor instead of being the grownups that were desperately needed to help turn this state around.