5.06.2007

Lincoln, Roosevelt, . . . Schwarzenegger?

In his blurb on Arnold Schwarzenegger for Time Magazine's 100 Most
Influential People in the World, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. likens the
Governator to none other than my idol, TR. And while I haven't
followed Ah-nold close enough to weigh on the assessment, I agree he's
in the ballpark.

Reading the piece reminded me of what kind of Republican I am:
fiscally conservative and pro-business, yet open-minded, socially
progressive, and environmentally conscious. TR, after all, was a
prudish moralizer who loved it when the media tagged along, not just
because he craved the limelight, but because he was above reproach and
thought politics should be out in the open like that and not dirtied
by back-room deals.

And yet he was the first president to invite a black man to dine at
the White House (Booker T. Washington, in 1901). Many of the consumer
protection regulations on business that we now take for granted were
signed into law by his pen (like the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906).
And perhaps his greatest presidential legacy will be his commitment to
conservation (creating the Forest Service, setting aside more almost
200 million acres for national parks).

Kennedy writes that Schwarzenegger likens environmental
irresponsibility to deficit spending: "loading the cost of this
generation's prosperity onto the backs of our children." Pro-business
and anti-tax, and yet not flinching when the Bush administration
wanted him to step down his aggressive state emissions standards . . .
this is the sort of Republicanism that has done this country proud,
that I hope to see more of in the years to come.

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