Shorter Schwarzenegger: “Republicans should not be Republicans”
Well, Greg Kline (much like in the latest podcast) and I have been talking about the issues of Republican branding for some time now. Well, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to agree with that idea:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger created shock and awe in the Republican Party when he warned years ago that the GOP was in danger of “dying at the box office” by failing to make the sale to a wide swath of voters.
And with the presidential election looming, the Republican governor of the nation’s most populous state – a decidedly blue state – has now found a chorus of agreement. The Republican “brand” – thanks to an unpopular president, a war, gas prices, foreclosures and deficit – has become such damaged goods that GOP Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia groused last week that “if we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf.”
Of course the Governator wants us Republicans to create a brand that is…..not Republican:
“The Republican idea is a great idea, but we can’t go and get stuck with just the right wing,” Schwarzenegger said. “Let’s let the party come all the way to the center. Let those people be heard as much as the right. Let it be the big tent we’ve talked about.
“Let’s invade and let’s cross over that (political) center,” he said. “The issues that they’re talking about? Let them be our issues, and let the party be known for that.”
Read the whole thing, because it is a sad indictment of a lot of things. First, it’s an indictment about the brand of Republicanism that Gov. Schwarzenegger is trying to lead California down. While I understand that it is harder for a mainstream conservative to win in California than it is in Alabama, for example, the concept that we need to “cross over that center” is anathema to everything that we are trying to do as Republicans. If Republicans wanted to be Democrats, shouldn’t they just go be Democrats.
Second, and more damning, is the fact that the Republican brand has been allowed to be reduced to what it is through milquetoast leadership, reckless spending, and morally bankrupt officials. When Republicans stop acting like Republicans, when you can’t tell the difference between the Republicans and our Democratic opponents, our party and our nation suffer dire consequences.
The party as a whole would be best suited to ignore Governor Schwarzenegger’s recommendations. We have shown time and time again that the way Republicans win elections is to stick to our conservative principles. People much rather vote for true conservatives than for a just slightly more conservative than the opponent liberal any day of the week. Only through principled conservatism can the Republican brand be restored to what it can and should be.