Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks the problem with Republicans is that they aren’t centrist enough.
(CNN)–Arnold Schwarzenegger says his party is losing numbers, and it is time to welcome independents and centrists to the ranks of the California Republican party.
“In movie terms, we are dying at the box office. We are not filling the seats,” the California governor said. “Now, while the number of California Republicans has been declining, the number of independents has been growing. They may well outnumber both political parties in just 20 years.” Schwarzenegger made the comments in an address to the California Republican party state convention.
“The real opportunity for Republicans is that independents generally agree with our core principles,” he said. “I want to make the Republican Party welcoming to these Independents.”
The problem with Schwarzenegger’s analysis is that the independents haven’t left the GOP because the party has become too…right-wing. Independents have left the GOP because Republicans seem to be constantly trying to out-liberal the liberals.
The basic political divide in this country (barring certain social or pet-peeve issues where most on both sides of the aisle seem to abandon their principles in the rush to ban everything they don’t like) breaks down like this: Conservatives are for limited government, liberals are for expanded government. Yet, in recent years the break down between the Republicans and Democrats seems to be more like this: Dems are for expanding government quickly, Republicans are for expanding it slowly. Yet both sides keep growing the size of government.
Now let’s flash back to the GOP that got itself elected to majorities in both houses of Congress during the “Republican Revolution” of 1994. Those Republicans promised limited government, lower taxes and less government spending and managed to build a coalition of support among the American people that kept them in the majority for twelve years.
What Schwarzenegger is asking for is more leadership like that which we’ve had over the last four or five years. More abandonment of core conservative principles for the sake of political expediency. Yet it’s clear that when Republicans don’t abandon their principles, and when they don’t try to out-liberal the liberals, they win elections.
So the GOP needs to ask itself if they want to follow Schwarzenegger down the path of “more of the same,” or do they want to get back to doing the sort of things that get them into power and keep them in power?