September 8th, 2007
09:50 AM ET
12 years ago

Schwarzenegger challenges Republicans

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-California

(CNN)–Arnold Schwarzenegger says his party is losing numbers, and it is time to welcome independents and centrists to the ranks of the California Republican party.

"In movie terms, we are dying at the box office. We are not filling the seats," the California governor said. "Now, while the number of California Republicans has been declining, the number of independents has been growing. They may well outnumber both political parties in just 20 years." Schwarzenegger made the comments in an address to the California Republican party state convention.

"The real opportunity for Republicans is that independents generally agree with our core principles," he said. "I want to make the Republican Party welcoming to these Independents."

Schwarzenegger has been critical of some Republicans who have proposed that independents not be allowed to vote in Republican primaries.

Schwarzenegger said the goal of any party is to win elections, to become a majority and advance its ideas. "How do we succeed at that?," he asked. "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."

"If our party doesn't address the needs of the people – the needs of Republicans themselves," he said, "the voters, registered Republicans included, will look elsewhere for their political affiliation."

Although he stressed the importance of including people with more centrist and moderate views in the party, Schwarzenegger still made it a point to burnish his own credentials. "I have been a Republican since Nixon."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made news earlier this year when he announced he was leaving the Republican party and becoming an independent

Schwarzenegger made the comments Friday night in Indian Wells, California.

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Arnold Schwarzenegger
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Kojo

    The whole story is deceptive,the writer wants us to believe that he is talking in terms of the whole country,but he is just talking about the state of California.Just as the democrat party is dying in some other states

    September 8, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Duane K; Melbourne, FL

    Arnold makes sense and the party heads should listen because they are losing thousands of party members who are fed up with both parties. Nothing getting done. At least California's governor is trying and that's more than we can say about this President and the entire legaslative body in DC.

    September 8, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Rod, Charlotte NC

    Schwarzenegger is right. Alienating so many from the republican party is the wrong way to go. We will see this when the presidential election raps up. It's hard being a member of a party that has so many stances that have been thrust upon us that we don't even believe.

    September 8, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    For the firs time since he became Governor of California I totally agree with him. I'm very interested in Bloomy and just wondering if he will enter the race for president, my money and vote will go to him if he does but if not then I'm voting for Hillary.

    September 8, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Would the real republicans please stand up?...I didn't think there were any left!Ah-nuld turn out the lights when you leave if you would.

    September 8, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. ThirstyJon, Freedomville, IL

    The end of party loyalty is a good thing. More often than not I tend to vote conservative, and I am concerned about the liberal bent of the Democrats. But I am not loyal to the Republican or any party just because of a name.

    Independent Americans thinking and discussing independently is a good thing.


    September 8, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Joy Ottawa Ontario

    If what Mr. Schwarzenegger says is true and that more and more elected officials are becoming independants...I see that as absolutely fantastic and probably the best thing that will ever happen to the U.S. Think about what would happen when it comes to passing new legislation. Elected officals would vote in the same manner the general public votes in. Much less back channel and under the table antics could only be better for everyone.

    September 8, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Marshal Phillips, Wichita, Kansas

    Stem cell research, a woman's right to choose, gay civil rights, universal health care, etc etc etc

    September 8, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. David Hilo HI

    "Schwarzenegger said the goal of any party is to win elections, to become a majority and advance its ideas."

    It just goes to show that the mainstream parties are no longer about representative government by the people and for the people... you know, the will of the people.

    September 8, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Doc, Roxboro, NC

    It's about time this subject got some ink! In my view, it is merely the American people's desire to abandon the two party system. With the choices we have today, I can't tell the good guys from the bad guys. I honestly see them all as bad guys. The Dems support too many issues which undermine the working man in America, the GOP loves big business / big Government. As the guy picking up the check for the excesses of the few, I'm hard pressed to see where the optimism is.

    September 8, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Dan, TX

    About time. Throw out the neocons and let the real republicans back in. Fiscal conservative -NOT SPEND SPEND SPEND like these neocon republicans, socially moderate – NOT RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES like these neocon republicans. I'd come back to the republican party when they come back to me. Until then, I'm voting for Obama in the democratic primary and if he gets the nomination, I'll be voting for him for president. He has something that is displayed by very few politicians these days, common sense and open honesty.

    September 8, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    Dan from TX: I could not agree with you more.

    I consider myself a Bush Democrat because until the Republicans get rid of people like George Bush and his frothy-mouthed supporters, I feel more comfortable in the Democratic Camp.

    The loan Republican exception of any stature is Governor Schwarzenegger. He talks the truth and he talks inclusion, not exclusion. His pragmatism is such a welcome change from the dogmatism currently stifling the Republican Party.

    It is unfortunate that he cannot be elected president. The country would be so much better off than with any of the current GOP slate of Bush clones. At least Arnold has had the guts to challenge Bush on several occasions.

    September 8, 2007 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  13. Timothy James, Las Vegas, NV

    I don't see this as any great advancement. Even if we replace the entire current crop of politicians with fresh-blood indepenents, it's not as if lobbyists and other special interest groups are simply going to go home feeling defeated. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Have we not learned this yet?

    September 8, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. James, New York, NY

    Mr Schwarzenegger seems to not understand that there is a move towards the birth of a 3rd party. It will happen as the Democrats move to the left and the Republicans move to the center. It is all just a matter of time. Maybe then we will see some actual work by politicians to serve the American people and not just themselves

    September 8, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  15. Bill Bloom, Doylestown, PA

    Arnold's on to something but he doesn't go far enough. The vitriol (from all sides) is killing us. It's the 21st century folks- time to stop marginalizing. It's time we come together and celebrate each other. Life is too short and WE ALL have so much to give. Peace.

    September 9, 2007 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  16. Andrew

    The governator is right...the party that used to claim to be a large tent has become so partisan.

    Just look at what they do with Ron Paul and his supporters. They attack him left and right...and why? Because he wants us out of Iraq.

    On all issues he is the only republican running...and yet he gets marginalized because he believes in getting out of Iraq.

    Want another example? Hagel...great senator...but now a complete and utter piece of garbage(according to some)...why? Because he is against the Iraq War.

    So to "republicans" and I use that term loosely, being against the war is un-republican, and they don't want those people in their party.

    How dumb can they be? 30% of actual republicans are against the war...thats 30% that republicans are pushing out of thier party. 70% of independats are against the war...thats 70% of the country that republicans don't want. 90% of democrats are against the war(well we all know there is no love lost there)

    And then they wonder why Ron Paul wins debate after debate with 33%...because he is the ONLY republican running, who wants us out of Iraq. Strange how that 33% is the same amount as republicans who are against it.

    But no the GOP is completely for the war, which is why they marginalize Ron Paul's wins in debates

    September 9, 2007 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  17. parousia70ad

    It is this type of nonsense that over the years has muddled the basic philosophy of the Republican Party and all but wiped out those characteristic that once distinguished it from the Democrat Party!

    The GOP is more intent on getting Republican elected, any Republicans, that is has lost its soul. We now have a Party so diverse in core principles that it can barely accomplish anything.

    The GOP has boasted of its big tent, and moderate, middle-of-the-road members put out the welcome sign for any and all to the point that the Republican Party now stands for so much that in reality it stands for nothing!

    What is the good of winning if when you win you are so divided in philosophy and values that you cannot come together to accomplish that for which you desired to win?

    September 9, 2007 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  18. Sam R, Johnston, IA

    Centrist and moderate views within the Republican party?Oh, come now. The only time that is allowed is a few weeks before the elections when they wink at the preachers and hate radio jocks spewing the hatred and waffle on thier abortion and womens rights stances.

    September 9, 2007 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  19. pete denver co

    The only intelligent thing said in this piece is that Independents may outnumber BOTH parties in 20 years. I think it has already happened. The only problem is the "independent party" by its nature is not 'organized' like either the Republicans or the Democrats. America despirately needs a third party to take the best ideas and ideals of both the other parties and form a solid, Conservative, Intelligent, center of the road Party devoid of all the baggage of the other two. I'm ready.

    September 9, 2007 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  20. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    The problem with a third party is that none is recognized. You don't get to vote in a Democratic or Republican primary election as an independent, so you have no say until the so-called candidates are chosen. Then, like most if not all elections I've voted in during my life, you're stuck picking the lesser of the two evils.

    Like it or not, the 2 parties still hold all the cards.

    And whenever a candidate runs as an independent, its some nut job like Lindon Larouche, or whatever his name was.

    In my mind, it does no good to register as an independent until there is a legitimate "indpendent" party with a uniform "independent" platform and a universally recognized, serious "independent" candidate.

    September 9, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Joe, Boulder, CO

    It's ridiculous that Mr. Schwarzenegger can't be elected President. I'm voting Democratic (Mrs. Clinton), but he's the *only* Republican that I would even consider. A true American through and through.

    September 9, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. Dan, TX


    September 9, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  23. Rodney Dallas, TX

    I'd like to consider myself an independent. The conservatives are far too right and the liberals are far too left. I agree with Dems on issues and I agree with Repubs on issues. Why can't we have a candidate that wants to outlaw immigration while accepting gay marriage?

    September 9, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  24. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Bill W, Coatesville, PA, we have many "third parties" in this country. The problem is that the Democrats and Republicans create so many artificial obstacles to their inclusion that their voices are never heard. You can bet that mainstream Republicans would rather that we elect Democrats than third-party candidates, and mainstream Democrats would rather that we elect Republicans. There's not a dime's worth of difference.

    DON'T pick the lesser of two evils. THAT IS throwing your vote away.

    By the way, if this country had stuck to its principles all along and remained a Republic, it wouldn't matter who was elected because politics wouldn't be so important. However, now that government has inserted itself into every aspect of our lives, politics becomes almost a life-and-death struggle. That's the "charm" of a Democracy.

    September 10, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |