SACRAMENTO — In the wake of crushing defeats for Republicans in last week's national elections, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Sunday that his party should regroup by moving away from some of its core conservative principles and embracing spending on programs that Americans want.
"I think the important thing for the Republican Party is now to also look at other issues that are very important for this country and not to get stuck in ideology," the governor said in an interview broadcast on CNN. "Let's go and talk about healthcare reform. Let's go and . . . fund programs if they're necessary programs and not get stuck just on the fiscal responsibility."
Schwarzenegger, a social moderate, long ago earned the enmity of many California Republicans who believe he abandoned some of the fiscally conservative views he espoused when running for office five years ago. They cite, for instance, his failed plan to dramatically expand health insurance in the state.
Last week, Schwarzenegger further angered Republicans by proposing a statewide sales-tax increase to balance the budget.
But the governor has not previously been so openly critical of the approach of the conservative bloc that dominates his party on the national level. He said that Republicans had "a very good party" and that he had no plans to leave it because he agrees with the GOP's push to reduce restrictions on business and remain tough on crime.