It is true that Arnold Schwarznegger was probably not the best governor California ever had (nor the best actor-turned-governor that the state ever had, either), but he was far from its worst. His most important contribution, I think, was his vision that state government can be post-partisan yet idea-driven, and conservative yet progressive. That his legacy did not live up to this vision was not entirely his fault.
Schwarznegger was something of a Bull Moose, a Republican who believed that the state could no longer lay congealing in the juices of the status quo, that like a Great White Shark needs to continue to move forward or die. He understood – and still understands – that the key to the state’s future lies with leaders who can build trans-party coalitions, regardless of which party they come from.
To his credit, since he left Sacramento, some of the Governator’s harshest criticism has been of the GOP. In a superb L.A. Times op/ed in May, Arnold writes words that should stir the heart of every thinking Republican.
Being a Republican used to mean finding solutions for the American people that worked for everyone. It used to mean having big ideas that moved the country forward.
It can mean that again, but big ideas don’t often come from small tents.
It’s time to stop thinking of the Republican Party as an exclusive club where your ideological card is checked at the door, and start thinking about how we can attract more solution-based leaders like Nathan Fletcher and Anthony Adams.
Now, how many of my fellow Republicans have the courage to take Schwarznegger’s words to heart and put them into action?
And how stupid is it that Nathan Fletcher should feel compelled to run as an independent, rather than a Republican?
- Thomas D. Elias: Arnold’s apt warning to state GOP (appeal-democrat.com)
- Republican Party in California Is Caught in Cycle of Decline (nytimes.com)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger turns 65: the five biggest media-making moments in his wild life | OMG Now – Yahoo! omg! (nadernazemi.com)