Rush Limbaugh is investing a lot of time and energy trying to get people to not elect Arnold Schwarzenegger. Why? Because he’s not Ronald Reagan.

News flash for Rush: A young Ronald Reagan could not get elected governor of California today. Because of immigration and a lot of reasons I don’t know because I haven’t studied it, California is a left-of-center state now. Even Orange County isn’t rock-solid conservative these days. In San Francisco, Jerry Brown is probably too conservative to get elected now.

So, aside from whether it would be wonderful to have a Reagan-type conservative as governor of California, fighting commies, firing air traffic controllers, and undoing the legacy of Jimmy Carter–none of which are near the top of California’s current problem set, anyway–it’s a non-starter. Ain’t happening. Not a chance. Gray Davis would be retained in the recall election were that the only alternative.

So, the question for California Republicans (aside from whether the recall was a good idea to begin with) is which of two plausible alternatives they prefer: Bustamonte or Schwarzenegger.

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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    Limbaugh is getting pretty tiring on this one. He seems to think that if you just put someone on the ballot who espouses policies similar to Reagan’s, then that candidate will automatically win and the only reasons Republicans ever lose is because they mess up the message or just weren’t Reagany enough.

    Oddly, I don’t think it works that way, but what do I know?

  2. Reagan had the slight advantage of actually being Ronald Reagan; you can’t really divorce the success of his campaigns from him.

    And it’s a fair bet that Reagan would have done well in politics no matter what policies he espoused. Actors, athletes and astronauts, and all that…

  3. Well, maybe a genuine conservative with Reagan’s charisma would win. Where is he?

    Though I think Reagan’s conservative halo is starting to shine a lot in retrospect–unlike Bob Dole, he never returned money from the Log Cabin Republicans.

    The fact is, in this state it’s a nice plus if the candidate doesn’t seem really interested in people’s private lives. That means some level of social liberalism is a Good Thing.

    People like to be left alone. Why is that so dastardly?