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.

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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.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    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.

    He should, anyway.
    That, if nothing else is the lesson taught by the candidacy of John McCain.

    As I suggested it would be two years ago.

  2. anjin-san says:

    That, if nothing else is the lesson taught by the candidacy of John McCain.

    Actually, the lesson was “put a better ticket forward”.

  3. Bithead says:

    Somehow, I tend to doubt that what you think would be better in terms of a republican candidate does not mesh at all, with what most people think.

  4. anjin-san says:

    Somehow, I tend to doubt that what you think would be better in terms of a republican candidate does not mesh at all, with what most people think.

    Well, my first choice for President, above Obama, was Chuck Hagel.

    I can understand why most of the modern GOP so disliked him. After all, he is a highly decorated combat vet who works hard, has a good mind and actually read legislation before he would sign it.

    Your hero worship of Palin has made it pretty clear what kind of “leader” you prefer.

  5. odograph says:

    Isn’t it kind of late, and childish, to say this?

    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.

    Your opponents have an economic grounding. Remember Mankiw’s poll:

    “Fiscal policy (e.g., tax cut and/or government expenditure increase) has a significant stimulative impact on a less than fully employed economy. (90%)”

    That is 90% of surveyed economists agree that stimulus is possible. And then of course it has to be paid for. Theory goes that this is in better times, by richer versions of ourselves.

    That’s what Obama’s counter-cyclical deficit plan is all about.

    Another headline says “Economy, Congress could derail Obama’s deficit plan, experts say”

    What are you trying to derail here? Is success, and a managed cycle of counter cyclical spending too dangerous to you … even if it is potentially good for the country?

  6. odograph says:

    Meanwhile, regulatory capture by the financial community expands, with Treasury gearing up to pay “10X the market cap of Citigroup for a 40% stake in the apparently insolvent firm.”

    You want something to tackle, that’s it. Though unfortunately it is a less partisan problem. Washington is in the banks’ pocket, not just one party.

  7. G.A.Phillips says:

    Well, my first choice for President, above Obama, was Chuck Hagel.

    lol no Biden? hell if your gonna go with someone because of qualifications like reading and a good mind lol he must be your first choice.

  8. Be fair. He has a point. We do have cancer. It’s the trillions in debt and unfunded liabilities.

  9. anjin-san says:

    hell if your gonna go with someone because of qualifications like reading and a good mind lol he must be your first choice.

    So you don’t consider intelligence and staying informed to be important qualities in a leader?

    That explains a lot…

  10. Bithead says:

    Somehow, I tend to doubt that what you think would be better in terms of a republican candidate does not mesh at all, with what most people think.

    Well, my first choice for President, above Obama, was Chuck Hagel.

    Like I said…

  11. M1EK says:

    South Carolinians won’t be paying back this debt – they, in aggregate, like most of the Republican South, barely pay income taxes at all.

  12. anjin-san says:

    Like I said…

    Will Republicans agree with me? Most will not. But then Republicans nominated a woman who took months to articulate what newspapers she reads to be Vice-President, so I will take their disagreement with me as a positive.