Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on NBC’s “Tonight Show” last week that he is running for governor in California’s special Oct. 7 election on whether to recall incumbent Gov. Gray Davis.
If he stands by his record, however, Schwarzenegger will not be running as either a conservative or a proud Republican.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) who led the drive for the recall, made a surprise announcement on Aug. 7 that he would not run. Meanwhile, Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock, and Republican businessman Bill Simon, who narrowly lost to Davis in last year’s gubernatorial election, moved forward with their own campaigns. Both McClintock and Simon are conservatives.
On March 5, 2002, the day Simon was winning last year’s GOP gubernatorial primary, Schwarzenegger appeared on CNN’s “Inside Politics” in an interview with Judy Woodruff.
Woodruff asked Schwarzenegger if it was a problem for Republicans that conservatives tended to dominate the party’s California primaries. “Well, I think, and I hope, that the California Republicans are smart enough when they go to vote to think about that,” he said. “Because there is no two ways about it, that a conservative Republican will not win against Gray Davis, or will not win in the state of California.”
In its November 1999 issue-almost a year after the Republican House of Representatives impeached President Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice-George magazine ran a profile of Schwarzenegger. (The late John F. Kennedy, Jr., a cousin of Schwarzenegger’s wife Maria Shriver, was the publisher of George.) In the profile, Schwarzenegger indicated he was infuriated with the GOP for what it had done to Clinton. “That was another thing I will never forgive the Republican Party for,” said Schwarzenegger. “We spent one year wasting time because there was a human failure. I was ashamed to call myself a Republican during that period. Instead of devoting all this energy and all those hearings to how we’re going to solve the problems of the inner cities. . . . No, it’s like, ‘This man has to be removed from office because he’s a national threat.’ Yeah, that’s a good one.”
The cover story of the May 12, 2002 magazine section of the Sunday Los Angeles Times was a lengthy feature on Schwarzenegger. In it, the paper reported “the actor also calls himself ‘very liberal’ on social programs. He favors legalized abortion, ‘sensible gun controls’-including a ban on so-called assault weapons-and adoption by gay parents.”