Schwarzenegger Social Positions Exhibit Differences With Republican Party
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday examined how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) "surprising endorsemen[t]" of Proposition 71, a bond measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot to fund human stem cell research, could "tackle his biggest dilemma as a Republican governor: how to appear like an outsider while frequently acting like an insider."
The endorsement of Proposition 71 was a "double whammy" for some conservative Republicans because it "embraces the notion of using human embryos for scientific research and costs taxpayers $3 billion in funding, plus another $3 billion in interest over 30 years" -- which is "[h]ardly fiscally conservative," according to the Times.
Schwarzenegger in a "freewheeling speech" in Monterey also said he thought the state's borders should be open to prescription drugs, and health insurance should be mandatory as it is with auto insurance, the Times reports.
Schwarzenegger's endorsements highlight a "sharp contrast" to the stance of President Bush, who opposes expanded federal funding for stem cell research. According to the Times, Schwarzenegger's positions surprised some state residents "because voters knew little about his political philosophy on a host of social issues before they elected him."
According to the Times, Schwarzenegger has made "socially liberal decisions" while "protecting business interests for the Chamber of Commerce because that is what he believes" (Salladay, Los Angeles Times, 10/20).
According to the Associated Press, Schwarzenegger could "tes[t]" the trust of donors to his California Recovery Team -- a general purpose committee that can use its resources to support or oppose any ballot measure -- if he uses CRT resources to campaign for Proposition 71, a measure the California Republican Party opposes. CRT contributors are "trusting Schwarzenegger to spend the money in ways they intended," the Associated Press reports.
To date, the Recovery Team has raised more than $14 million, mostly from large corporations (Chorneau, Associated Press, 10/19).
Catholic League President William Donohue said, "As it turns out, the only thing he was bothered about was cash: He struggled over how to finance the killing of embryos, not over whether the killing was justified. Thus does Schwarzenegger give the lie to the idea that it is only Catholic Democrats who live a double life these days."
Bill Whalen, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and one-time adviser to Schwarzenegger, said it has always been apparent that Schwarzenegger was in favor of economic growth and was socially liberal, the Times reports. Whalen said Schwarzenegger endorsed Proposition 71 in part because it would create jobs (Los Angeles Times, 10/20).
Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, said, "The appeal for most of these business people to Arnold are economic issues. While they may or may not agree on social issues, the reason they support him is because of his position on the economy." Pitney added, "This is a pro-business governor. That's what he campaigned on in the recall last year" (Associated Press, 10/20).
Additional information on Proposition 71 is available online.