The Corner

California Gaffe

I’m not a big fan of Schwarzenegger philosophically, but he is a compelling politician. Regardless, he’s showing me something here when he “accidentally” says what’s obviously true:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told a gathering of Hispanic journalists that immigrants should avoid Spanish-language media if they want to learn English quickly.

“You’ve got to turn off the Spanish television set” and avoid Spanish-language television, books and newspapers, the Republican governor said Wednesday night at the annual convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

“You’re just forced to speak English, and that just makes you learn the language faster,” Schwarzenegger said.

“I know this sounds odd and this is the politically incorrect thing to say, and I’m going to get myself in trouble,” he said, noting that he rarely spoke German and was forced to learn English when he emigrated from Austria.

Schwarzenegger was responding to a question about how Hispanic students can improve academically. Many journalists for Spanish-language organizations in the audience were surprised by the remarks.

“I’m sitting shaking my head not believing that someone would be so naive and out of it that he would say something like that,” said Alex Nogales, president and chief executive of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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