It is notable that in the sea of Republican losses last night there was a massive victory for a Republican in a well-known bastion of liberalism.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election last night in a landslide victory.
It was hardly unexpected. For weeks (or months) now it has been very apparent that the Governator was going to win by a large margin. He is a seemingly unstoppable force in California politics right now, and is a Republican in a year where Republicans are getting slaughtered everywhere.
What is it about this legendary man that has given him the ability to win so handily? Can we apply his magic to the rest of our party?
The simplest answer is that he not a conservative but a moderate. Many Republicans have criticized him for ceasing to be a REAL Republican. While I don’t believe the Governor to be a RINO (Republican In Name Only). In fact, he has moved in a direction other Republicans should follow.
Governor Schwarzenegger is a pragmatic centrist. He maintains strict principles that he believes to be necessary for the growth of California’s economy. His social values are more in keeping with the “Small Government” tenets of the Republican philosophy than the Republican Party Platforms are. In reality, Governor Schwarzenegger is a better Republican than any other elected in California.
He won last night because the good people of California see him for what he has accomplished and attempted to accomplish in California. During the Recall Campaign, the Governor took his seat as an outsider loved by the state because he was not a seasoned politician, had glamour and celebrity, and was promising to lead in a way that was different. Throughout this campaign, the Governor promised to continue to lead in this unique way. Instead of guiding the state through the standard party lines, he has chosen a path right down the center aisle of the Legislature, knocking a few people out of the way as he goes.
Other politicians should learn from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s technique. The reason the GOP sustained such huge losses last night was because the people are generally tired of partisan gridlock and rhetoric. The Republicans that currently control the House, Senate, and Presidency have said much, but shown little progress. The Democrats that are currently serving have done little better but have not been obligated with the responsibility for Congressional leadership. It is important to note that the Democrats that were elected to fill formerly Republican seats last night were primarily moderate to conservative, politically. This indicates that the voters were not looking to replace incumbents with politicians with radically different policies in all areas.
In general, the American people are looking for pragmatic leaders willing to work across the aisle with little or no discomfort. We are growing tired of career politicians that argue only in terms of Republican or Democrat values and would like to replace them with leaders looking for solutions without regard to parties.