On May 30, 2004, Sacramento Bee reporter Daniel Weintraub sat down with Governor Schwarzenegger for a one-on-one interview. The interview with Arnold revealed a maturing political mind, humble but sophisticated. For the first time I feel like I really like this guy; like I want to vote for him and respect his leadership. Some choice statments:
On Ideology & Being Wrong
Well, that’s why I’m not an ideologue, you know? Because ideology and political philosophy, many times, you know, falls apart in front of your very eyes when you go out there into the real world and you start working, for instance, in the cities, and you provide after-school programs… And as I saw the complexity and the problems in real life… I saw that some of the stuff that I was thinking of originally – I mean, I was more conservative. I felt like that when you deal with reality, it’s different. …So, that’s why it is very important to not get stuck with certain principles, but to be able to be flexible… So, it’s a mixture of things, and so it’s based on what is going on in the real world, the way I see it, rather than reading someone’s book and sticking to that, and saying, “This is the Bible, and I will never change from that point of view.” So, that’ s what I have learned. And when you learn that, you become more tolerant about the various different issues and situations, and you kind of back off from your original stand.
And the key thing is to be able to back off, and to just say, you know, I was wrong on that, the way I thought. I don’t care – I’d rather say that I’m wrong and correct myself than get stuck with that, and then make mistakes.
On Special Interests & Integrity
One of the things that came up quite frequently was the special interests. I included it in my speech, and I said, “Special interests, if they push me around, I will push back,” and all those things. But I didn’t quite know when I was saying those lines what it really was like, because I had to only imagine, since I was never here in the Capitol dealing with it…
Well, you know, I think I’m not yet experienced enough in this arena to tell you how to fix it. That’s a whole other issue. But I think that the key thing is, is that – first of all, the key thing is that I’ve nothing against special interests, per se, nor against lobbyists. But I think that you have to find a way of making it clear that certain things… [Y]ou lay it right out there – I said, “Look, you maybe have given my campaign some money, but I will not go and sell out an entire state and all these millions of people because of $35,000. It won’t happen.”…
In the end, when I look in the mirror, I have to deal with it myself. I have to look at it, and if it says, “You sell out,” what does that say?
On The Budget
[T]he only approach that we can take is the approach that we ask every American to take, that is spend only the money that you have. That is basically – that does not mean that you cannot have bonds and borrow money for big projects and all, for housing or for the schools, I should say, for all those kinds of things, like we do when you go out and buy a car or buy a house, you go and get financing on the house. That’s OK.
But you can’t just continue going and saying, you know something, I just ran out of this credit card, let me get another credit card, let me get another – eventually someone has to pay for it…
On His Weaknesses
I would say that in general there’s still a lot I have to learn. That’s the bottom line. There is a lot of the issues that are still – I’m studying and learning, a lot of endless amount of briefings that I’m getting. It’s just so complicated, the whole thing, that it’s a huge learning process for me.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this makes many of our
national professionals look like carpet-baggers. I’m really impressed
with the man.