Beware the Perry-nator

Rick Perry lays into Arnie as GOP unity dissolves in California.

It was Gov. Rick Perry vs Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this past weekend, and the prize seems to be the future of the Republican party.

Perry had been invited to attend the California Republican Party Convention in Indian Springs, CA last Friday. The major thrust was supposed to be Arnie warning the party faithful that yelling for God, Guns and Small Government strips votes away and alienate independents.

So what does Perry do? Play to the base. In a rip-roaring, moderate-bashing speech, he said that the only true Republicans were conservative Republicans, and evoked the spirit of Ronald Reagan. He went after all the traditional targets – global warming, a nuclear middle east, and the specter of a second Clinton administration. He even went after his host, muttering darkly about Republicans that vote and act like Democrats, saying "It’s a sad, sad state of affairs when liberals campaign like Republicans to get elected, and Republicans govern like liberals to be loved. We need to hold the line on what it means to be a Republican which is, of course: being conservative."

Arnie has been swinging to the center for a long time, in part due to the advice in '06 of former Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd (who has parted ways with his ex-boss in the White House, politically and personally.) Both have realized that there's a big difference between a California moderate Republican and a mainstream Texas Republican. So Perry may as well have been standing next to Arnie with an "I'm with Stupid" t-shirt on when he said, "If you see a candidate who wants to tax like a Democrat, regulate like a Democrat, and educate like a Democrat, they should not have the honor of being called a Republican. Nor should they be elected by Republicans."

So Perry might be back - but it's doubtful he'll be invited back by Arnie. Especially because, worryingly for the Governator, Perry's speech was better received by the party faithful.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Governor's Office, Election 2008, Rick Perry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, GOP

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