Monday, May 7, 2012

"Centrist" Arnold Can't Halt Tea Party Terminators


Ex-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger had some strong words for his own Republican Party members in an LA Times Op-Ed Sunday. He warned them that Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon wouldn't pass the litmus-test of the rigid purity idealogues running the present-day Republican Party and harkened back to the days of the "Big Tent" when diversity of opinion was not cause for right-wing shunning.

And while many Democrats disliked Arnold as Governor, and feel that his beliefs are almost as regressive as his Conan the Barbarian movie persona, Schwarzenegger begs to differ and calls himself a "centrist" and beseeches his party to stop judging fellow Republicans by such stern standards. Thus, he is distancing himself from the likes of fellow-Catholics Rick Santorum and Paul Ryan, as well as proven misogynists such as Rush Limbaugh, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Jan Brewer of Arizona, and backward Bob McDonnell of Virginia (Governor Ultrasound).
Schwarzenegger writes without apparent irony:
There is room for those whose views, I think, make them sound like cavemen. And there is also room for us in the center, with views the traditionalists probably think make us sound like progressive softies. What's important is our shared belief in the broad Republican principles of free enterprise and small government. If we continue to fight one another without being willing to compromise, we will keep losing to big-government advocates.

While I don't think anyone really sees Arnold as a political "softie," I have to admit that I am impressed that Arnold would stand up to his party members and say that what is needed is another Dwight Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt, and not more "cavemen." Bravo, Arnold! And I'm sure he speaks for many of his "centrist" Republican friends who would love to go back to the days of Reagan when people were statesmen first, idealogues second. We would all love that, even in the Democratic Party. The trouble is, the Republicans - Arnold included - used the ultra-wingnut and Tea Party conservatives to get them into office, and turned a blind eye to tools like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh as long as the votes came rolling in. So is it any wonder that now they've created a Frankenstein that won't stop?

The Rolling Terminator Robot of the Right is embodied now in red state legislatures that continually push the boundaries of common sense in passing laws that most people in their states never imagined and certainly don't want. These laws seek to suppress votes, stop environmental oversight, give free reign to the gun lobby, throw the poorest Americans under the bus, and discriminate against women and minorities.

So while Arnold's advice to the party is sound and they should take heed, the irony is that most Tea Baggers aren't going to pay any attention to a centrist anymore, especially an elder statesmen from "Lefty" California, who was *gasp* married to a Kennedy for all those years, and who cheated on his marriage vows *gasp* with someone Hispanic! It's enough to make Rick Santorum throw up. To paraphrase a tagline from the original Terminator Movies, the Tea Party is the thing that won't die, in the nightmare that won't end. The Republicans are stuck with it, but that's poetic justice since they created it.


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