By Doug PattonNovember 19, 2008
At the recent Republican Governors Conference in Florida, one superstar (Sarah Palin of Alaska) was center stage, while another (Arnold Schwarzenkennedy of Caleefornia) was conspicuous by his absence.
Fresh off her rollercoaster ride as the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Governor Palin gave a speech that was simultaneously humorous and serious, confident yet self-deprecating. Unshackled from the nitwits who ran the disorganized John McCain for President Campaign, she was relaxed and back in her element. She spoke of the states as a proving ground for the future leadership of the nation, and of the governors as the alternative to Washington's visionless business-as-usual. She is truly a political rising star in the midst of several political rising stars.
Conspicuous by his absence was the governator, celebrity potentate of an increasingly ungovernable state that comprises most of the Left Coast. Apparently, he was too busy begging the federal government for a bailout of his state to bother attending the RGC. Either that or he was pouting because he is no longer the biggest fish in the shrinking pond of GOP governors.
Emboldened by the largesse of the feds in recent corporate bailouts, Arnold now says his state needs a five billion dollar infusion of cash in order to maintain that infamous profligate California lifestyle -- at least for a while. Like the "Big Three" automakers, Schwarzenegger is in the process of trying to convince the nation that his state is "too big to fail." He no doubt believes that after nearly a trillion dollars of handouts to corporate America, the country is ready to start bailing out the states -- especially if it means avoiding increased taxes at the state level.
Ironically, Arnold seems to see no conflict in the fact that a few years ago (on his watch) California committed that exact same sum to the highly questionable field of embryonic stem cell research. Always compelled to live on the cutting edge of everything, the state committed to this funding to show how much more progressive it was than the federal government. (Kind of like legalizing "medical marijuana.")
God forbid that the citizens of California should actually see their government exercise some fiscal restraint and cut spending. (Where is it written that governments always have to grow?)
Consider just a few of the other expenses incurred by the Golden State in the last few years, expenses that Schwarzenegger seems to have no stomach for cutting. California leads the nation in sanctuary cities, whereby the mayor and city council of a city give their official blessing to harboring criminal aliens. The poster boy for this nonsense is Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, whose city has become a "progressive" magnet for every deviant in the Western Hemisphere.
One of the dirty little secrets hidden in the nation's mortgage crisis is the fact that five million of those bad loans were given to illegal aliens! How many of those loans were in California?
In many ways, it is unfair to compare the task of governing California and Alaska. While they are two of the largest states physically, the former is the most populous state, while the latter is the most sparsely populated. But the principles of responsible governance remain the same. For example, Sarah Palin has utilized the natural resources of Alaska for the benefit of the people of Alaska. Arnold Schwarzenegger has shackled the taxpayers of his state by embracing much of the silliness of the environmental movement: opposing offshore drilling; supporting the continuation of numerous designer grades of gasoline to conform to "clean air" standards, etc.
One other important difference between these two governors: Sarah Palin believes in the principles laid out in the Republican Party platform, including those that revere the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage. Arnold Schwarzenegger does not.
She, not he, is the future of the GOP.
Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor. His weekly columns are published in newspapers across the country and on selected Internet web sites, including Human Events Online, TheConservativeVoice.com and GOPUSA.com, where he is a senior writer and state editor. Readers may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.