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Arnold Underestimates Conservative Distrust of Buffett

By Doug Patton


Arnold Schwarzenegger no doubt believes that he is being very clever in bringing the second richest man in the world on board his celebrity-driven campaign for governor of California. This contest is, after all, taking place in California. Perhaps voters there will be impressed. But conservatives – especially social conservatives – should be very concerned.

Shortly after announcing that Warren Buffett would serve as chief economic advisor for his campaign, we got a large clue as to the sort of public policies a Schwarzenegger administration might pursue. Buffett opined that property taxes in California were too low! That should come as a shock to those who are struggling to pay them.

But there is more to Warren Buffett’s liberal views than just taxes, much more. There is a dark side to the man’s view of life.

It is said that if one had had the foresight to invest $10,000 with the unpretentious Mr. Buffett in 1965, when he was first starting out as the head of Berkshire Hathaway, one would now have a fortune in excess of $50 million. Not bad, considering that the same investment in the S&P 500 would have brought one a relatively paltry return of just under a half million. The man is without question a genius when it comes to investing.

But he is completely out of the mainstream when it comes to public policy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger may have miscalculated badly in his understanding of just who Warren Buffett is and what he represents to social conservatives.

Having lived in the same community as the “Oracle of Omaha” for most of my adult life, I have witnessed the paradox that is Warren Buffett: a man of incredible means who donates large sums of money to far-left causes, yet lives modestly in the same Omaha neighborhood in which he settled four decades ago.

Warren Buffett is more than just a committed Democrat – although he is definitely that. He is a flaming liberal who is deeply involved in social engineering. His support for abortion on demand would have made Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and her friends in the Eugenics Movement proud. Buffett almost always supports Democrats, contributing time and money to Republicans only when they are liberal – which should give us all pause now that he is on the Terminator Team.

As a social conservative who cares deeply about pro-life and pro-family issues, I have taken great interest in the causes Warren Buffett supports with his billions. He provided major funding for the development of RU-486, the morning-after abortion pill, as well as contributing heavily to other so-called population control organizations like Planned Parenthood. It is well known that he plans to will his billions to these same kinds of “charities.”

This is not a man whom social conservatives can simply dismiss as a “financial advisor” to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Buffett will push the Terminator in social directions he already leans, but probably farther than he would have gone on his own.

The entrance of Warren Buffett into the inner circle of the Schwarzenegger for Governor campaign should give principled conservatives everywhere a cold chill. In fact, the retention of Gray Davis is starting to look better all the time – not because he is a better governor, but rather because the election of Schwarzenegger is looking more like a lose-lose situation for conservatives: if he fails as governor, the California GOP may not recover for a generation. Worse, if he succeeds, conservatives will be unable to convince the party hierarchy that a true Republican can be elected in California.

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Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor to candidates, elected officials and organizations at the federal, state and local levels. His weekly columns can be read in newspapers across the country, and on selected Internet web sites, including www.GOPUSA.com, where he serves as the Nebraska Editor. He also writes for Talon News Service (www.TalonNews.com). Readers can e-mail him at dpatton@neonramp.com. __________________________________________________________________

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