Who is More Republican?

Here’s a column from Dan Weintraub of the Sacramento Bee that ran in this morning’s Register.  Weintraub is a former Register columnist.  The column itself is exceptional when constrasted with columns posted on the Flash Report over the weekend and one posted by Matt Cunningham on OCBlog.net/Red County last night. 

Weintraub’s piece is a bit of validation for me.  That folks we debate with like Cunningham, Fleischman and DeVore are out of step with the mainstream of their own party (they will deny this of course).  But as I always say, the proof in the pudding is in the tasting, and it looks like the Republicans Weintraub writes about have little to do with the hard right wing of their party or the conservative movement.

Who’s more Republican?

Arnold is closer to the GOP mainstream than the party’s McClintock wing

Sacramento Bee Columnist


For nearly two years, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been attacked by conservative Republican legislators and activists who claimed he was not really one of them, that he was a Republican in name only. While he disagreed, and said so a number of times, he never bothered to make much of a public case for his true belief on the subject: It is the activists, not the governor, who are out of touch with the party’s voters.

That changed last Friday.

Schwarzenegger, appearing at a state Republican Party convention in Indian Wells, lectured the mostly conservative delegates about their party’s increasing irrelevance in California, where Democrats control both houses of the Legislature, both U.S. Senate seats, most statewide offices and a majority of the congressional delegation.

That Democratic Party dominance, Schwarzenegger said, is not as inevitable as it seems. It is a fragile control that Republicans could overturn if they would only do more to reach out to independent voters – who are rising fast as a share of the electorate – and to disaffected members of both parties.

The governor declared himself a “proud member” of the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, who “righted the greatest moral injustice” in the nation’s history; Teddy Roosevelt, the “enthusiastic reformer” and early environmentalist; and Ronald Reagan, the “pragmatic conservative” who captured the political center.

“The goal of any political party is to win elections, to become a majority and to advance its ideals,” Schwarzenegger said. “How do we succeed at that? By including, not excluding. By being open to new ideas, not rejecting them out of hand. By expanding into the center, not falling back upon ourselves into a smaller and smaller corner.”

But a corner is exactly where California’s Republican Party is today.

Led by social conservatives who oppose gay rights, abortion rights and immigration – illegal immigration, but also, in many cases, even legal immigration – the party has turned off voters who might be open to its other beliefs in support of individual freedom, entrepreneurs, economic growth and smaller government.

The party has lost 370,000 voters in the past two years and today represents 34 percent of the state’s electorate.

Schwarzenegger told his fellow Republicans that their party is “dying at the box office. We are not filling the seats.”

The shame, he said, is that so many independent voters generally agree with the party’s core principles but are turned off by its focus on a few positions that represent a relative handful, but a loud and influential handful, of the party’s members.

Schwarzenegger said independent voters “believe in limited government that is not wasteful. They believe taxes should be as low as possible, because the more you give government the more it will spend. They believe in individual freedom and the responsibility that goes with that freedom. They believe in the importance of public safety. And they believe that economic prosperity comes from the energy of the marketplace, not from the heavy hand of the state.”

Schwarzenegger himself has veered at times from those principles. The state government has grown steadily on his watch, and he has proposed policies on the environment and health care that violate individual freedom and meddle with free markets. And his Republican opponents were quick to point that out.

“We can win some short-term victories by compromising our philosophy for political expediency,” state Sen. Tom McClintock told the same delegates on Sunday. “I’ve actually watched some people do that. But a party that does that soon discovers it has ceased to be a party. First, it loses its soul. And then it loses its supporters.”


McClintock’s beliefs represent, at best, perhaps half of the Republican Party’s voters. That means they reflect the views of less than 20 percent of the California electorate.

Trying to build that slice into a majority without compromise is a fool’s errand.

Nearly two-thirds of Republican voters consider global warming a serious problem, and 68 percent back the law the governor signed requiring California to reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020.

On health care, 19 percent of Republicans are actually to the left of Schwarzenegger, preferring a Canadian-style single-payer plan that he has derided as “socialized medicine.”

Another 37 percent share his desire to reform the current system with financial responsibility shared among employers, employees and the taxpayers. Only 29 percent say the free market can solve the health care system’s problems.

And on issues to which Schwarzenegger alluded but did not mention, 51 percent of Republican voters back legal recognition for same-sex relationships, either gay marriage or civil unions, while 55 percent say abortion laws should either remain the same or be made more liberal.

Sixty-three percent supported a comprehensive immigration proposal that included a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Forget reaching out to independent voters and crossover Democrats. The Republican delegates and legislators who abhor Schwarzenegger’s policies are not even in sync with the mainstream of their own party.


Well said Dan!


  1. Ludicrous.

    Pointing to a column by Weintraub for an explanation of Republican values is like pointing to a column by Greenhut for clarification on Democratic values.

    He also fails to mention how many voters the Democrats have lost in this same time period that the Republicans have lost 370,000 voters to DTS. The truth of the matter is that both parties are losing voters, but the Democrats are losing them faster than the Republicans. What does that say about your party Andrew?

    This article is so one sided, it’s despicable.

  2. Keep denying there is a problem, d’An, and soon Republicans will be as relevant in California politics as the Reform party. Remember them?
    Weintraub has no axe to grind.
    A moderate like Arnold is the only kind of Republican that can be elected statewide in California. If you continue nominating extremists who espouse your Republican “values” you will lose more elections.
    It really is that simple.

  3. Publius-

    I’m no winger, but I was at convention. I’m not saying there isn’t a problem. What I’m saying is that it is disingeneous for Weintraub to claim that Arnold is more in touch with his party than Tom McClintock is, especially without even attending the convention.

  4. Publius-

    One more thing. I’m willing to admit that the Republican Party in California has a problem with losing voters to DTS.

    Are you willing to admit your party has the same problem?

  5. What made me laugh was the fawning praise for McClintock and his return to core Republican values. I read his speech, and he never outlined any core values, at the same time that the Republican party couldn’t agree on a platform.

    As far as I can tell, the Republican party is running on hatred of liberals, greed, fear of gays and sex, and Ronald Reagan. They have contempt for the freedoms guaranteed under our federal constitution, the further right to privacy guaranteed by our state constitution, can’t comprehend science, would rather borrow profligately than balance a budget, and will defend cronyism and corruption rather than fighting for good government.

  6. Well, d’Acon, you are a right winger for sure if you went o the convention. And as far as Dem voters lost of DTS, well, there are a hell of a lot more of us than there are of you. It reminds me of two guys at a campfire when a hundry Grizley pops out and starts making his way towards the camp. One guy starts typing on his running shoes; the other guy says “are you crazy, you can’t outrun a Grizzley?” And the guy tying his shoes says “I know, I just have to outrun you.”

    Weintraub cites surveys. If you have a problem with his piece, take issue with the surveys and with Weintruab directly. As I like to say “De-nial is not just a river in Egypt.”

  7. Why would Weintraub have to attend the convention to see who is out of touch with Republican VOTERS? Convention-goers (on either side) are hardly representative of the electorate. McClintock can get standing ovations from activists in Indian Wells all day long, but that doesn’t make him more palatable to the average CA Republican than Arnold is.
    And yes, it is a fact that both parties are losing ground to DTS, but more DTS voters are reporting that they are supporting Democrats next time around. I haven’t seen any figures, but my hunch is that more Reps will cross over and voter for Dems in 2008 than the other way around.
    Aunt Millie really nailed it! Unfortunately, fear has historically been a better motivator than hope. Maybe the tide is turning on this one.

  8. Publius-

    You made a good point, and so did Aunt Millie here. All the GOP has left to run on is fear. Fear of the queers. Fear of the “Islamists”. Fear of “tax & spend lib’ruls”. Fear. That’s it.

    And maybe before, when we thought we had reason to be afraid, we fell for it. But no, this is not the case any more. The fear isn’t working any longer, and it’s showing. And since the GOP has no ideas on how to end the Iraq Occupation or solve the climate crisis or make health care more accessible and affordable to more people, they have lost most voters.

    Arnold must be seeing this now, but I guess the near-sighted far-right folks in control of the CA GOP would rather not have any of this reality “nonsense”.

  9. Dan-

    I find it pretty close minded for you to consider me a winger for attending a Republican Convention. I’m right of center, but definitely not an ultra-conservative radical.

    As far as your argument that “there are a hell of a lot more of us than there are of you”, I would ask that you look at the statistics in terms of percentage of points lost in registration as opposed to raw numbers:


    Democrats have lost a half of a percentage point in the last 2 years while Republicans have lost .3 of a percentage point. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.


    Fair enough on the standing ovations at Convention, I’ll give you that, but as far as how these DTS voters are going to vote next year, both you and I know that there’s no way to tell. You can claim that they are “reporting” that they are supporting Dems next time around, but that’s all really just speculative and you know it. The numbers I listed above speak for themselves. The Dems are losing more ground in voter registration than the Reeps. That’s it.

  10. So what are core Republican values?

    Will they support a war tax, since they believe that we need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on Bush’s war in Iraq?

    Or will they pay for the ongoing war with another tax cut?

    Where are their core values?

    Republicans have become the laughingstock of America.

  11. Since we’re on the subject of core values, this list looks pretty good to me:

    Democratic values

    1. Opposition to authoritarianism
    2. Democracy requires accountability, transparency, dissent and disagreement, and respect for the minority interests on the part of the governing majority
    3. The Constitution, as a living document, is the set of guiding principles under which democracy functions
    4. Equality of access and opportunity to all. Human and Civil Rights are to be extended to all.
    5. Pay as you go
    6. Too heavy an accumulation of power in any one branch of government, majority party, economic sector or means of information distribution is to be guarded against and balance (with checks) is the ultimate objective.
    7. The government is the steward of the public treasury, the public interest and environmental/natural resources that are part of the commons. As such it needs to be empowered to check whichever forces may arise to put these in jeopardy
    8. The interests of Corporations should never be put before the interests of citizens
    9. Health care is a right, not a commodity.
    10. The U.S. is an active and responsible member of the world community and must observe all international law and treaties it is a party to.

    Progressive values:

    11. Wealth gaps are both anti-democratic and anti-progressive
    12. A strong public sector is the mark of a healthy, progressive and just society.
    13. Certain functions should always have protections from the vagaries of the market, and are more justly, efficiently and economically administered as public services.
    14. Equity and equality are not one in the same
    15. Advances in science and technology are both desirable and possible and it is in the public interest to have government support of these arenas.
    16. Justice, sustainability, democratic governance & accountability, and an eye to future as well as past generations are the guiding principles for democracy to flourish.
    17. The above principles apply globally, but are most effectively implemented locally.

  12. I’m still waiting for the Republican response to how we pay for this war. Do we tax the wealthy, or cut Social Security benefits. We know they refuse to negotiate with drug companies for the best price. Republicans have no consistency or core values. If they truly believed in Bush’s war, they would have paid for it with current revenues, instead of taxing future generations by borrowing.

  13. Cunningham and d’Anconia will never respond to the answer of the damned lie that we will somehow pay for this war with tax cuts for the rich.That’s why they can’t articulate any core Republican principles.

  14. Ooooh, those evil rich people! Can’t we just take all their money away from them! After all, enlightened liberals know how to spend their money better than they do!

  15. And Matt Cunningham will pay for the war with another tax cut and the blood of my loved ones.

    That’s the true articulation of Republican principles.

    Once again, they have no principles to articulate.

  16. Will Cunningham support a tax, or will he tax future generations with expenditures today, borrowing from the Chinese, and a dollar that sinks every day?

  17. Cunningham will never answer the question about how to pay hundreds of billions a year for Bush’s War. Instead he’ll attack liberals.

  18. And I’ve been waiting for a long time for some articulation of conservative principles. Where are those, Jubal?

  19. I’m sorry, Aunt Millie. I’ve been working so I can pay my taxes to my federal overlords, and didn’t realize you were waiting for me to answer your question.

    I don’t know. I’d prefer to focus on balancing the budget by exercising spending restraint and at least give revenues a chance top catch up to expenditures. I had hoped having a GOP President and Congress would achieve that, but the GOP Congress allowed itself to be seduced by government and chose to believe it could spend-and-porkbarrel-and-redistrict its way to a perpetual majority. And Bush showed zero interest in forcing any fiscal discipline on them.

    Now we’ve lost Congress and so the Beltway GOPers have lessened ability to influence the public fisk even were they so inclined.

    For starters, I want to cut taxes more. And that would include the rich, who are not, as liberals seem to believe, simply tax dairy cows to be milked for whatever purpose has seized the liberal imagination.

    I’d like a low flat tax, so everyone pays the same percentage and Americans aren’t punished for being successfully by having every greater percentages of the their income confiscated by the government.

    I’d like to Social Security reformed so I can invest at least a portion of my obscene Social Security taxes myself. I’m an adult, able to plan for my own retirement. I can achieve a much better return on my money than the federal government.

    That’s just for starters.

  20. That’s more nonsense.

    If you support Bush’s War, how will you pay for it?

    If it’s a 10% cut in Social Security, say so.

    Where would you cut hundred of billions of dollars from the budget to pay for an ongoing occupation of Iraq?

    If it’s an increase in taxes on everyone, let us know where the dollars are coming from.

    Please feel free to let us know how you will fund Bush’s war, without borrowing more money. Republicans controlled Congress and the White House for six years, and never, ever tried to balance a budget.

    Or just continue to be another nutjob hypocrite.

  21. And, Cunningham, your answer seems to be to pay for more expenditures with tax cuts.

    That doesn’t seem to be working.

  22. I hope every person who read this blog notes Matt Cunningham’s answers above, where he concedes that six years of Republican rule, without any principle beyond greed, cronyism, and power, resulted in budgetary catastrophe.

    If only we had stayed true to core Republican principles, which Cunningham seems to describe as paying less taxes.

    And these clowns wonder why people like me can’t support them anymore? I was registered as a Republican for decades, and believe in good government. These clowns make me want to puke.

  23. Matt —
    I’m doing the same thing tyou are; I don’t mind paying more in taxes to make life better for everyone. I am not advocating a tax hike, but pauying a little more won’t impact my lifestyle much

  24. Actually Aunt Millie I haven’t answered because I’ve been working. I wouldn’t have answered your question in this thread though, as I usually try to stay focused on the subject of the post.

  25. So d’Anconia is too busy, and too on point to be able to answer how to pay for Bush’s war, or what core Republican values actually are.

    He’s with Matt Cunningham, who thinks my loved ones should bleed out in the sands of Iran, and my children and grandchildren should pay for Bush’s war, while we keep borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars a year to fund this war, and the Republicans espouse tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That’s shared sacrifice if I’ve ever seen it.

  26. I hope every person who read this blog notes Matt Cunningham’s answers above, where he concedes that six years of Republican rule, without any principle beyond greed, cronyism, and power, resulted in budgetary catastrophe.

    Aunt Millie, I hope every person who reads this blog reads how you you not only put words in my mouth, but routinely substitute vitriol and invective for reason and argument. When you’ve expanded your vocabularly or debate beyond spitting out “Greed!” or “Cronyism” then I we might be able to have a conversation.

  27. Matt –
    I’m doing the same thing tyou are; I don’t mind paying more in taxes to make life better for everyone. I am not advocating a tax hike, but pauying a little more won’t impact my lifestyle much

    Great, Dan — since serfdom suits you better, I’ll forward my tax bill to you.

  28. As for you Aunt Millie, your hysterics and bromides aside, I’m not particularly concerned about ho to pay for the war or getting boxed in by your false choices about ho to “pay for the war.” Frankly, I don;t think you care about how to pay for the war .You just want out. Now., Consequences be damned. Besides, you Lefties show no particular consideration for how to pay for your priorities when the budget is in deficit. After all, there are always taxpayers to be shaken down.

    My concern is with winning the war. I realize from past experience that you don’t care about that. You’ve no problem with defeat. I do.

  29. He also fails to mention how many voters the Democrats have lost in this same time period that the Republicans have lost 370,000 voters to DTS.

    Is there a point to this statement? If I were a republican what difference would it make how many voters the democrats have lost? The fact is, dems control enough of the legislature so that if republicans lose a few more seats in the senate the dems have cloture. At that point in time the republicans are relegated to being nothing more than a voice howling in the darkness or on the FlashReport. Take your pick. Either way, few if any will pay attention or care.

    D’A. Keep spouting your statistics to make yourself feel good. But the GOP is in the minority and it is shrinking. Arnold has issued the clarion call but it seems it has been ignored. D’A, you have little, and you are headed to having nothing. The choice is yours.

  30. RHackett:

    She’s making the very valid point that there is dissatisfaction with both parties. When the party of the Left is also losing voters to the DTS column, it argues against those who think the GOP’s path to salvation is in being more like Democrats.

  31. Jubal,

    I understand the point of voter dissatisfaction. Even though there may be more dissatisfied dem voters won’t give the GOP a majority in either house anytime soon.

    A minority party doesn’t set the agenda, it reacts to it. About the worst possible situation in just about any line of endeavor.

  32. Matt —
    If you send me your tax bill, then we’ll all know how much you actually make 😉

    Serious, your take on social security is wrong. Your social security tax doesn’t go into your account; its a generational contract from younger workers to retired workers.

    You are free to make private retirement investments as you wish.

    Social security, like public education and law enforcement, is the price we pay to live in a free society. Where government plays a role in the needs of the very young, the very old and those who need protection.

  33. RHackett:

    Democrats are losing voters to DTS at a faster pace than Republicans. In this thread we are discussing party platform and its effect on capturing voters in California.

    My argument is that Republicans losing voters due to their inability to capture independents doesn’t stop the fact that the Democrats are losing more of them at a faster pace.

  34. D’A. I guess there is some comfort in your premise. But the GOP is still in the minority and given their recalcitrance on the issues driving away their base, it won’t be changing anytime soon.

  35. so still no answer here to the core premise that the right winger in OC are out of step with the mainstream of their own party? Mmmm, let’s us ponder this some more.

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