Former GOP Govs Show Rift in Party

Two former Republican governors made news over the weekend, showing displeasure with their party in the process.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times to call on the GOP to be more inclusive and less rigid when it comes to ideology. The former actor and body builder writes that this year marks his 44th as a Republican and he can't imagine being anything other than a Republican, but he is bothered by what he is seeing in his party.

He notes that Ronald Reagan raised taxes when necessary and worked with Democrats. In 1983, for example, Reagan doubled the federal gas tax to pay for highway infrastructure improvements. “Today, that would be enough for some of the ideological enforcers to start looking for a ‘real' conservative to challenge him in a primary,” Schwarzenegger wrote.

He accused Republicans of not willing to have conversations about protecting the environment, investing in infrastructure or improving healthcare. “By holding their fingers in their ears when those topics arise, these Republicans aren't just denying themselves a seat at the table; in a state such as California, they also deny a seat to every other Republican.”

He lamented the party's recent loss of two up-and-coming Republicans: San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, currently a state assemblyman and former assemblyman, and current Congressional candidate Anthony Adams. Both left the party to become Independents. “I'm sure they would have preferred to remain Republicans, but in the current climate, the extreme right wing of the party is targeting anyone who doesn't meet its strict criteria.”

Another former Republican who has left the party is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, whom the U.S. Libertarian Party Saturday chose as its presidential candidate in the November 6 election, Reuters reported.

Johnson, who announced in December he would run for president as a Libertarian after trying for the Republican nomination, won 70 percent of the votes in the first round of balloting, receiving 419 of 595 votes cast during the party's convention in Las Vegas, the party said in a statement. Johnson, a Taos businessman, served as the Republican governor from 1995 to 2003, and he touts that he cut taxes 14 times while never raising them during his tenure.