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  • « Hard-hearted Brownback | Main | Does fundamentalism fan the flames of violence? »

    November 26, 2006

    A uniter, not a divider

    Posted by: Chris

    Arnoldmeetthepress I've never been a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I was impressed at his message on "Meet the Press" this morning. His tone was bipartisan, centrist and unifying.

    He cast himself as fiscally conservative, socially moderate and environmentally progressive — obviously a good fit for California but also a refreshingly different approach than taken by President Bush and most of the Republicans currently aiming to succeed him: John McCain, Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback. Rudy Giuliani should be taking notes.

    This country has been bitterly divided since at least the fight over Bill Clinton's impeachment, and certainly since the 2000 presidential election. President Bush had a unique opportunity after 9/11 to bring the country back together but instead chose to leverage it as a political opportunity to push a sharply divisive agenda, at home and abroad.

    Of course partisans at both ends of the ideological spectrum relish the divide and champion the candidates who show the most promise for destroying the enemy. But most Americans in the middle will respond to a unifying message, from whichever political party. A fiscal conservative, social moderate, environmental progressive could come from either party, and could make a strong case for the presidency in 2008.

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    Comments

    1. Dan on Nov 27, 2006 2:16:21 PM:

      Isn't this the same governor that vetoed a bill by the democratically elected state legislature to enact gay marriage or some version thereof (maybe I have my details wrong on this), saying it should be left to the courts? If so, that was an unnecessary intervention in the democratic process to please one constituency--which was certainly not the center, and not an attempt to unite IMO.

    1. Citizen Crain on Nov 27, 2006 2:30:27 PM:

      Yes you are correct. Schwarzenegger vetoed democratically passed marriage legislation. While I disagree strongly with that decision, it wasn't anti-democratic. He was elected to office as well, and our system allows for executive veto.

      Also, let's not forget that every one of the top Democrats considering '08 presidential runs — including Hillary and Barack — are also on-record opposing gay marriage. John Kerry even went so far as to back a constitutional amendment in Massachusetts to ban it. So it's a fairly level playing field on the marriage issue.

      Rudy Giuliani is lone among possible '08 GOP candidates supporting civil unions, which the Dems generally back. It will be interesting to see whether Giuliani's prior support for civil unions at the state level will translate to backing federal recognition and benefits for state-issued civil unions. My guess is that may be a casualty to his inevitable move to the right for the Republican primaries.

    1. Queer Beacon on Nov 27, 2006 2:59:07 PM:

      I also take issue with the fact that Arnold vetoed that bill. Of course, it was in his power to do so or else he wouldn't have done it, but that veto killed many hopes for gays everywhere. It sets an awful precedent.

      Many Republicans speak-out against what they call "activit courts", but when the issue is decided by the Legislature (like it was in California), then they (well, at least Arnold) go and point back to the courts...that's just very sad, people against gay marriage should just continue to express their hate of the gays more openly. At least they would be wrong clearly.

      Now, will Giuliani be the only one supporting gay rights? I hope he is not. I thought that Kerry supported Civil Unions...

    1. Dan on Nov 27, 2006 3:38:44 PM:

      I accept your point that a veto is a tool of a democracy, but it is telling when and how it is used by an executive. I just take issue with the use of "uniter" used in relation to AS, as anyone willing to use these powers to deny rights is not in my opinion a uniter. Unless you mean unite others to our detriment and exclusion, then i would agree.

    1. Citizen Crain on Nov 27, 2006 4:12:16 PM:

      I see your point that vetoing democratically passed marriage legislation could be seen as divisive, rather than unifying. In my view, marriage rights are guaranteed by the state (and federal) constitution, so we shouldn't have to win them legislatively to begin with.

      All that said, the Democrats (at the national level, at least) aren't offering anything better than Arnold's position and it's arguably better for the movement as a whole to have popular Republican moderates accepting everything-but-marriage.

      So while I disagree with his veto, I welcome his more unifying rhetoric and support of other gay rights measures.

      Re civil unions: Queer Beacon, you're right that Kerry backs civil unions (and federal recognition of them). All the major Dems do. I was talking about Giuliani being the lone Republican presidential candidate backing C.U.'s. We'll just have to see whether he backs federal recognition (including immigration rights) for civil unions as well.

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