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Arnold and California’s Conservatives

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Governor Schwarzenegger was a guest today, and he is clearly uncomfortable answering the question “Why should conservatives support you?” The transcript is up at

He needs to work on the answer to that question, which means, of course, some actual conservative initiatives and appointments. key excerpt:

HH: And you get credit…you repealed the car tax, you got rid of the driver’s licenses for illegals, you did veto same sex marriage, you vetoed the rewrite of the textbooks. There are a lot of things out there. But after November, it seems like you just said to the conservatives, I don’t need you, but you need me, and you’ve got to vote for me. Is that true?

AS: Well, it’s your interpretation, and I think it’s a terrible interpretation, because I always make it clear that I need everybody. I always said that the conservatives are as much on the table as anyone else, and it is very important that we move forward in that way. I mean, you cannot say that I’ve said…that I’m not any more conservative when I have supported, for instance, right afterwards, after the special election, the death penalty. And remember, Tookie Williams, and there was the big battle there, when everyone said no, spare his life, and I went ahead with the death penalty anyway? Because I believe that people that are criminals, that create this kind of incredible agony for people and kill people, they should be punished. And so I set the same philosophy I’ve had ten years ago, and it’s the same that I have today. Not raising taxes, the same philosophy I have today than I had ten years ago. You know, being tough on Border Patrol and securing our borders. I was tough there ten years ago, and I’m tough on it today. So the list goes on and on and on. Nothing has changed. What I did say was that it was a mistake not to be as inclusive last year as I should have been in order to be successful. I think it’s more important to bring everyone on board, because you’re dealing in a capitol where you have 120 legislators, Democrats and Republicans, and you have to be more inclusive to bring everyone on board, so that you can get the votes, and get initiatives passed.

HH: Governor, are there any high-profile conservatives in your administration who really have authority and sort of represent the Herschensohn wing of the party?

AS: Well, I run the state, and then everything trickles down from there. And everyone that works in my office, are people that represent me and people that are adopting my philosophy, even though maybe their original philosophy has been different. But they’re all implementing the things that I want to do in this state.

HH: But are there any high-profile conservatives that people say yeah, you know, there’s the conservative voice being heard by the governor as he comes to grips with a bunch of different problems?

AS: We have in the Capitol legislators, and also in my office, people that are very conservative, and people that are very liberal. And I always listen to both voices, because I’m the governor of both Democrats and Republicans. But remember that I always have been fiscally conservative, and moderate on social issues.

HH: Yeah, but Governor, I’m just asking. I really don’t know of any conservatives in your inner circle, or in your cabinet.

AS: Well, then you have to come up to the Capitol, and then just meet all the people.

HH: (laughing)

AS: Then you will see that maybe you haven’t been hanging around enough.

HH: I’ve been in Republican politics in California since 1989, Governor. I mean, where’s Rogan? Where’s Herschensohn? Where’s Kachigian? Where are all these people? How come they’re on the out?

AS: Well, no one is on the out. I mean, if you think that Dan Dunmoyer is not a conservative, then I don’t know who is. Or a Fred Aguire is not a conservative, I don’t know then what you are talking about. But we have a good mixture of conservative people and a good mixture of also moderate people in my office, because I like to hear both point of views.


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