Schwarzenegger Calls Dems ‘Girlie Men’

AP – Schwarzenegger Calls Dems ‘Girlie Men’

A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Sunday that the governor would not apologize for calling lawmakers “girlie men,” despite criticisms from Democrats that the remark was sexist and homophobic.

Schwarzenegger dished out the insult at a rally Saturday as he claimed Democrats were delaying the budget by catering to special interests. “If they don’t have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, ‘I don’t want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers … if they don’t have the guts, I call them girlie men,” Schwarzenegger said to the cheering crowd at a mall food court in Ontario.

The governor lifted the term from a long-running “Saturday Night Live” skit in which two pompous, Schwarzenegger-worshipping weightlifters repeatedly use it to mock those who don’t meet their standards of physical perfection.

Democrats said Schwarzenegger’s remarks were insulting to women and gays and distracted from budget negotiations. State Sen. Sheila Kuehl said the governor had resorted to “blatant homophobia.” “It uses an image that is associated with gay men in an insulting way, and it was supposed to be an insult. That’s very troubling that he would use such a homophobic way of trying to put down legislative leadership,” said Kuehl, one of five members of the Legislature’s five-member Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Update (0927): Steve Bainbridge wonders why Schwarzenegger can make fun of himself but his opponents can’t seem to take a joke.

Hugh Hewitt has similar thoughts. Referring to the LA Times account, he also provides some amusing background on the parties involved.

Update (1200):

NYT – Schwarzenegger Calls Budget Opponents ‘Girlie Men’

“I call them girlie men,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said of the Democrats, as hundreds of shoppers who had gathered to hear him speak roared their approval at the Ontario Mills megamall, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles. “They should get back to the table and they should finish the budget.”


Mr. Schwarzenegger has compared lawmakers to kindergartners who need a timeout and threatened to seek a constitutional amendment making the Legislature a part-time body. He is also appearing in the districts of vulnerable Democrats and promising to “terminate” those who stand in his way.


Fabian Nuñez, the Democratic speaker of the Assembly, said that when he first heard of the governor’s comment, he was incredulous. “Certainly my mom and my sister aren’t happy,” Mr. Nuñez said. “He lost a couple of votes there.”

In the context of a speech to supporters at a shopping mall, complete with Terminator references, the humorous tone of Schwarzenegger’s remarks is even more obvious. And, if the mom and sister of the Democratic speaker were voting for Republican governors, then California politics hasn’t moved as far Left as I’d been led to believe.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Abron says:

    Keep in mind that the Democrats said remarks that were more vile than the “girlie men” remark, but unlike Arnold, they have not been called to the carpet on them.