Schwarzenegger Takes The Oath – But Will He Take A Stand?
November 14, 2003, 04:00 AM
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We Californians are frivolous and shallow. Almost everyon agrees.

Just look. We elected Arnold Schwarzenegger, a living cartoon character, as our governor. Now Schwarzenegger, hot off his triumphant election, will be inaugurated on Monday, November 17th.

It may be that the only reason Schwarzenegger is Sacramento-bound is that he beat the other celebrities to the punch. There's a long list of Hollywood types who could have been elected just as easily as Schwarzenegger.

What about Clint Eastwood? He has hands-on political experience (Mayor of Carmel 1986-88). California's "new" residents would be impressed that Eastwood has fathered seven children by an assortment of women—some of whom he even married. Eastwood even turned out to be quite the political prognosticator, taking Schwarzenegger (and Maria Shriver) very seriously. . .

Or Joe Montana? Sure the one-time San Francisco 49er has a few divorces behind him. But one thing we're tolerant of out here is marital strife.

Our main interest here at VDARE.COM: whither Schwarzenegger on immigration?

Schwarzenegger said repeatedly during his campaign that he believes people should migrate to the U. S. legally. That might not sound like much. But for those of us who have suffered through five years of the Zedillo-Davis-Fox triangle, it's very refreshing.

Immigration was conspicuously missing from Schwarzenegger's website during his campaign. But it is now front and center, under "Arnold's Agenda to Bring California Back" in the section titled "Solving the Immigration Impasse."

In keeping with the festive inaugural spirit, I'll give Schwarzenegger a pass on irritating and misleading comments like:


  • "There are approximately 8 million undocumented immigrants in the United States; 2.5 million reside in California. The costs of providing social services to these individuals and incarcerating illegal immigrants is staggering - easily exceeding $3 billion a year." [$3 billion? My guess: $10 billion annually, if it's one thin dime].

But I'll stay focused on the big picture. On the plus side:

  • Schwarzenegger says he's determined to kill SB 60, the extremely-unpopular bill that would give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. He might simply be building a reservoir of good will by promising to repeal it. But it is great news that he will not return phone calls from California Senator Gil Cedillo, the bill's author.

And that's it. I have exhausted all the good things I have to say about Schwarzenegger's "immigration impasse" solutions.

The rest is the same tedious pap and regurgitated failed policies that are so painfully familiar.

Thus Schwarzenegger—

  • Wants to "legitimize undocumented immigrants who live their lives in the shadows."

Puh-l-e-e-z-e! If Schwarzenegger really thinks anyone is "in the shadows," he should drive one of his tinted-windows Hummers to Los Angeles' Broadway to look around. On Broadway—for the entire world to see—are thousands of illegal aliens going about their business without a care.

McCain's bill—and McCain himself, come to think of it—is a phony. All Schwarzenegger needs to know is that the US cannot administer any type of immigration or non-immigrant visa program. That's why the US has 12 million illegal aliens. If Schwarzenegger thinks that McCain's bill is a "solution," he's demonstrating advanced political naiveté.

  • Promotes organizing a "coalition of states most impacted by immigration to lobby Congress."

Schwarzenegger apparently imagines that if Texas, New York, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Illinois and California, which represent 183 electoral votes, speak with a unified voice, Bush will cough up millions to reimburse the states for health and education costs generated by illegal aliens.

Get a grip! With the exception of Texas Governor Rick Perry, Governors Pataki, Richardson, Napolitano, Bush(!) and Blagojevich are open borders sell-outs. (Perry, to his great credit, recently told Mexico President Vicente Fox that he wants Texas' water returned, will do as he pleases regarding the death penalty and is strongly disinclined to authorize the "matricula card" as valid state ID. Wow!)[Fox and Perry have not yet reached an agreement, Marco Delgado, QuePasa.com, November 10, 2003]

Schwarzenegger has a real opportunity to right California's sinking ship regarding immigration. During the campaign, he said over and again that he would listen to the people and that he is beholden to no one. I also suspect that, like Jesse Ventura, he will be satisfied by one term as governor i.e. is not paralyzed by re-election fears.

Schwarzenegger could switch off California's magnetic attraction for illegal aliens: enforce employer sanctions, vigorously oppose amnesties and guest worker programs, revoke in-state college tuition rates, re-instate Proposition 187 and invoice Mexico for accrued medical and educational expenses for illegal aliens.

He could even use his bully pulpit to draw Washington's attention to out-of-control legal immigration.

Perhaps naively, I actually think that Schwarzenegger's own inclination would be to render this service to his adopted country.

But it's far more likely that the Schwarzenegger bandwagon will vanish under an opportunistic pile of expensive, utterly conventional Republican hacks.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.