California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (search) Christmas gift to the Republican Party is a piece of coal in a stocking. In an interview with a German newspaper, Schwarzenegger suggested the GOP should move leftward in order to attract new voters.
What is he — a Manchurian candidate planted by the Democratic Party?
When Republicans were controlled by the lefties like Nelson Rockefeller (search) and moderate mushies like House Minority Leader Charles Halleck, they lost elections. Moderate and leftist policies were what kept Republicans wandering in the political wilderness for 40 years in the House and also kept conservative policies from advancing when the occasional Republican was elected president.
Ronald Reagan (search) and Newt Gingrich took the party to the right and Republicans have been winning elections ever since.
Even during the Clinton years, Republicans picked up House and Senate seats, as well as governorships and majorities in many state legislatures. Schwarzenegger said Republicans could win 5 percent more of the vote by moving leftward toward the center. He said this could be done without losing conservatives.
I wouldn't bet on it.
Schwarzenegger is a social liberal and fiscal conservative. Since he isn't about to move leftward on the economy, he can only mean his pro-abortion, pro-gay rights position should be adopted by the party leadership. That would guarantee conservative Republicans would either stay home or look for more conservative candidates, splitting the GOP vote and allowing Democrats to start winning again.
It's an ideal plan for Democrats. It's a lousy one for Republicans. Take this present back, governor. It's the wrong size and it has two left sleeves.
And that's Column One for this Christmas night.
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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.