The Corner

Spirit Vs Ideology

Andrew Sullivan appears to still be miffed at Ramesh for saying the comparison of Schwarzenegger to Reagan is fatuous. I still agree with Ramesh. But there might be an apples and oranges thing going on here. After linking to this op-ed about Reagan’s optimistic spirit , Sullivan writes, “Arnold is certainly far closer to Reagan’s spirit than Dubya.”

I’m not sure I agree with this either, but let’s assume it’s true. It seems Sullivan is talking about personality more than ideology (this would be consistent with his recent obsession with McCain as Kerry’s VP). Ramesh is clearly talking about ideology. No matter what Schwarzenegger’s boosters may claim, at the end of the day Schwarzenegger is a liberal Republican. Reagan was not a liberal Republican. Maybe — maybe — Schwarzennegger and Reagan have similar personalities, even similar political personalities, but in the realm of substance and ideas, Bush and Reagan are far closer than Reagan and Arnold. And unless we’re going to get into the truly fatuous debate over whether or not labels “mean” anything, that should count for a lot more.

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