Not only was he was a box office action hero and buff bodybuilder from far away Austria, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is an all around American success story, and he doesn’t just plan on leaving his children a legacy of “Terminator” one-liners. He is actively challenging his own Republican party against many of their core issues, and the environment is the lynch pin. Perhaps Sunday dinners with all those Kennedy relatives is rubbing off.
Schwarzenegger, seen around L.A. driving a Hummer in the early 1990s, helped popularize the gi-normous vehicles. It fit with his macho “take no prisoners” persona he had crafted in Hollywood.
A funny thing happened to Arnold. He met pretty Maria Shriver of the Kennedy clan, married, and after establishing his family, began to get political aspirations. Re-elected as Governor of the progressive state of California, he deftly works his charm on both sides of the political divide, and has defined his politics as more Libertarian than traditional Republican.
John Pomfret of the Washington Post reports that Arnold has reformed and reinvented his public person, even altering the engine on one of his Hummer’s to run on alternative fuels.
Pomfret reports that Arnold signed the “nation’s first environmental law of its kind, committing the state to lowering its greenhouse gas production to 1990 levels by 2020 and setting up an international program that provides manufacturers with incentives to lower carbon emissions, which is supposed to begin by 2012.”
Schwarzenegger has also publicly vowed to fight off-shore drilling for oil on California’s coast.
“There is a whole new movement because of the change of people sent to Washington,” said Schwarzenegger, reports the Washington Post, referring to the Democratic Party’s impending takeover of Congress. “We want to put the spotlight on this issue in America. It has to become a debate in the presidential election. It has to become an issue.”
On key issues such as stem cell research, abortion, gay marriage and other issues, the Austrian emigre has been at loggerheads with his own party.
The Post reports that the greatest divide between Bush and the Republican elite and Schwarzenegger is that of global warming.
“We are going to find a way to do it, no matter what anyone says,” Schwarzenegger said. “. . . We have to make moves that protect the health of the people. That’s our number one priority.
“We don’t want Washington to tell us when we are allowed to be healthy or when we should get cancer,” he continued. “We don’t want people to die because pollution causes certain illnesses and cancers and so on.” Reported the Post.
The self described “sane Republican,” Arnold says he is balanced between being pro-business and being conscious of the environment as well.
Schwarzenegger cited California’s progressive acceptance and open minded population that always seems to be ahead of other states, and of other countries too.
“California’s standards have helped give birth in the United States to hybrid cars, efficient refrigerators and air conditioners, and the catalytic converter, which, because of California’s leadership, will soon be installed on lawn mowers and other equipment using two-stroke engines.” Reported the Washington Post.
Schwarzenegger recalled his initial arrival to muscleman valhalla, Venice Beach, citing the terrible smog and his burning eyes. “They were just burning all the time, and now I’ve never felt that again. It’s just gone. That is unbelievable progress,” he said. “It’s all because of the Clean Air Act and the catalytic converter. All those kind of things that were done in the ’70s which everyone fought about and said that business would go down and everyone was going to move from California and the world was going to be flat again and all this drama. And look what happened? The whole world is doing it.” Reported the Washington Post.
The entire Schwarzenegger piece can be found here
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