Lame-duck California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has criticized fellow Republicans for being hypocritical in the oppose-it-then-take-it-and-brag-about-it position on President Barack Obama’s stimulus money — and shrugged off the Tea Party movement as unproductive.
It’s just the latest step in the evolution of Schwarzenegger, who has swung in varying degree to be a more ideological Republican and a more independent one — with his poll numbers generally going up when he is more independent. Independent voters helped elect Schwarzenegger — but biographies of him confirm that he is indeed an independent thinker, generally part of that vanishing breed called “Moderate Republicans.”
In an appearance on ABC’s This Week he had a lot to say about his party’s political behavior:Host Terry Moran played a clip of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, attacking President Obama and saying the stimulus hadn’t created any private-sector jobs.
“I find it interesting that you have a lot of the Republicans running around and pushing back on the stimulus money and saying this doesn’t create any new jobs,” said Schwarzenegger, who has frequently criticized national Republicans, often on Sunday talk shows. “And then they go out and they do the photo ops and they are posing with the big check and they say, ‘Isn’t this great? Look what kind of money I provide here for the state.’ . . . It doesn’t match up.”
Obama made similar comments about the GOP last week.
“I don’t want to beat up on my Republican colleagues, but I think it’s kind of politics rather than thinking about only one thing, and this is, how do we support the president?” he said. “How do we support him and do everything we can in order to stimulate the economy?”
When Moran asked if the GOP was “the party of no,” Schwarzenegger said Republican opposition to Obama was driven by the party’s desire to win elections.
“They have to do everything they can in order to win in November, so they are going to say no to everything,” Schwarzenegger said. “They are going to say it is not good what Obama is doing. It is natural.”
He also committed a sin of sins for a registered Republican these days: he said the tea part movement was unproductive.
“The tea party is not going to go anywhere. I think the tea party is all about just an expression of anger and dissatisfaction,” he said.
“And I see it in California when people come up to me and say, ‘You know I am angry that you guys don’t get along in Sacramento, I am angry that they are not getting along in Washington, I am angry that nothing gets done, I am angry that I am unemployed, I am angry that people are losing homes, I am angry that businesses are losing their businesses and all of those kind of things and the economy is down.’ ”
Here’s the full ABC This Week segment Schwarzenegger and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed G. Rendell:
FOOTNOTE: I was interviewed by the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Weintraub for his excellent book on Schwarzenegger several years ago. In it, Weintraub basically says that due to my history of support and non-support of Schwarzenegger and the reasons why, I am basically the quintessential California independent voter. With California now being in dire financial shape (some public libraries can’t even afford summer reading programs for kids), it’s hard to see where “Ahnold” goes now in terms of future elected office, particularly within his chosen political party. But due to his bipartisan attitude (which is genuine if you read biographies written about him) it’s conceivable that Obama could one day invite him into his cabinet.
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