Arnold Schwarzenegger has played some great characters. John Matrix in Commando. Dutch in Predator. Conan in Conan the Barbarian. The Terminator in Terminator. But can he play the role of David Cameron, the green-tinged British Tory leader, in today's Republican Party, particularly on economic policy? He's sure trying to:
The Republican idea is a great idea, but we can't go and get stuck with just the right wing. Let's let the party come all the way to the center.... Let's invade and let's cross over that [political] center. The issues that they're talking about? Let them be our issues, and let the party be known for that.
A Schwarzeneggerian-style president would, one could imagine, increase spending on education, ramp up aid to Africa, welcome illegal immigrants, and create a new healthcare entitlement. But President Bush has already done all that stuff. It was called compassionate conservatism. The only issue where Bush has deviated from what Schwarzenegger is pushing is on the issue of climate change. And John McCain aims to rectify that with his cap-and-trade plan that's little different than what Democrats are calling for.
Interestingly, Cameron has started to focus less on green issues—having established his bona fides on the environment—and more on traditional conservative goals such as lower taxes and smaller government. (Maybe he's seen British polls that show voters skeptical of paying higher taxes to combat climate change, thinking it is just an excuse for a government money grab.) This from the Herald, Scotland's largest newspaper:
David Cameron picked up the mantle of Margaret Thatcher yesterday, echoing the former Prime Minister's speeches to signal that a Conservative government would lower taxes and cut government spending. Quoting directly from Margaret Thatcher's 1979 pre-election promise of a return to "good Conservative principles of good housekeeping", Mr. Cameron claimed that under Gordon Brown, Britain had "reached the limits of acceptable taxation and borrowing".