Dean Barnett

Are you ready for trans-partisan politics, a type of politics that transcends partisanship? Some of America’s leading politicians think you are. And really – after the last six years, why wouldn’t you be?

We saw a sign of things to come with Al Gore’s testimony before Congress this week. Actually, it was a rather seminal moment, and not because Gore’s endless prattling about methane, greenhouses and carbon footprints was remotely interesting.

In most of his past incarnations, Gore has been a rabidly partisan pit-bull. Remember, he is the man who pounded the podium repeatedly shrieking “How dare they!!!” before a convergence not too long ago.

Yet in his congressional appearance, Gore was the very picture of placid accommodation. When James Inhofe basically labeled him an ignorant, alarmist hypocrite, one would have expected Gore to lash back at Inhofe with his typical partisan fury. Instead, Gore suggested that the two of make a breakfast date so that they might seek out some common ground while munching on croissants.

It’s one thing for Al Gore to decide that partisanship is a loser. After all, one wouldn’t label something a trend just because the erstwhile veep is doing it. No one has ever accused Gore of being one of our canniest politicians.

But Arnold Schwarzenegger is a different matter. The Governator is a gifted politician, even if he has been a disappointment to many conservatives. So when Arnold takes trans-partisanship out for a spin, we best take notice.

According to the Politico’s Roger Simon, Schwarzenegger said some rather provocative things about the presidential contenders this week during a speech in California. “Don’t buy into their big lines,” Arnold warned. “They can’t just come and give us a résumé and a nice dance.” He continued by reminding his audience that every presidential candidate since Teddy Roosevelt had promised universal health care.

But Arnold was just getting warmed up: “They say: ‘Fight global warming.’ How? The United States is not even in the game right now when it comes to global warming. Do they believe in offshore oil drilling? I want to know that. They can’t escape that. They say: ‘On immigration, we should be firm but compassionate.’ What does that really mean? Does it mean we should build a border fence? Does it mean we should send millions of people back? And what if they have children who are citizens?”

Interestingly, throughout this litany, Schwarzenegger never bothered to distinguish between Republican and Democratic candidates. “A pox on all houses,” he seemed to be saying.

Dean Barnett

Dean Barnett blogs almost daily at He has also been a frequent contributor to the Weekly Standard's online edition, The Daily Standard. He can be reached for comment at

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