Schwarzenegger: Put Aside Ideology
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was on ABC’s “This Week” this morning and two quotes in particular are garnering some attention.
Taegan Goddard awarded “Quote of the Day” honors to this one:
Well, Governor Sanford says that he does not want to take the money, the federal stimulus package money. And I want to say to him: I’ll take it. I’m more than happy to take his money or any other governor in this country that doesn’t want to take this money.
And Steve Benen is fond of this one:
You know, you’ve got to go beyond just the principles. You’ve got to go and say, ‘What is right for the country right now?’ I think that, if they — they should make an effort to work together and to find what is best for the people, because by derailing everything, it’s not going to help anybody, and it creates instability and insecurity.
Now, Schwarzenegger is a centrist Republican trying to run what has become a very Democratic state, so compromise is especially necessary in his case. But, aside from being good political pandering, there’s not much to recommend those lines.
Yes, I’m sure California would love to have more “free” money courtesy of Uncle Sam. The problem is, the money isn’t free. Somebody has to pay for it. For the most part, it’s not going to be the people getting the money. Sanford said that:
We’re a nation that has $52 trillion of accumulated liability, $52 trillion of political promises that have been made, but not paid for. And the idea of stacking up another trillion, another trillion, another trillion, we really do get to that tipping point.
Will Sanford take the money since it’s going to be spent one way or the other? One imagines he will. Be that’s hardly the point.
The second point is simply asinine. The actual quote from the transcript is even more so than George Stephanopoulos’s blog synopsis above:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But these are real differences of principle.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I know, but that’s why I said, you know, you’ve got to go beyond just the principles. You’ve got to go and say, “What is right for the country right now?” I mean, I see that as kind of like, you go to a doctor, the doctor’s office, and say, “Look, can you examine me?” The doctor says, “You have cancer.”
What you want to do at that point is you want to see this team of doctors around you, have their act together, be very clear, and say, “This is what we need to do,” rather than see a bunch of doctors fighting in front of you and arguing about the treatment. I mean, that is the worse thing. It creates insecurity in the patient.
The same is with the people in America. That creates insecurity when you have those two parties always arguing and attacking each other, rather than coming together and saying to the American people, “Here’s the recipe. This is going to be tough, but this is what we need to do for the next two years. And we both believe in that.” That will bring calmness to the market and stability to the market.
If the two parties agreed on what was best for the country, there wouldn’t be two parties. And, goodness gracious man, our politicians aren’t oncologists and we’re not their patients.
Schwarzenegger was a novelty when he came onto the political scene five years ago and decided to transition from movie star to candidate for governor of the biggest state in the union. But he’s been at the wheel now long enough to know that there isn’t some happy medium where “we both believe in that” on most matters of consequence.