I’m running against Schwarzenegger and Bustamante. And I have a lot to say about Bustamante. I will keep saying it every day. For him now to appear as a progressive when he’s cast so many anti-environment votes — when he voted for energy deregulation. He voted for deregulating workers’ comp. And he took money from the tobacco industry.
But you are proof that a person can evolve to the left.
But I have made it very clear. He has not made it clear. He hasn’t said, "I’m sorry. I was wrong in 1996 and 1993 and whenever. And I’ve seen the light, and I’m thinking differently."
There are a couple of votes he semiapologized for. He said he regrets having voted to deny driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Yes, he did say that. But I have made a mea culpa about my past mistakes. I mean, there has to be a statute of limitations for my past mistakes. You know, it was like seven years ago, and there’s been a record of thinking and writing since then. All candidates in this race probably have made their mistakes in the past. For some it was alcohol; for others group sex. For me it was Newt Gingrich, right? We had different vices. But remember, when I was a Republican, Enron was a great energy company. And George Bush was running a mediocre baseball team. It was a very different world.
If you weren’t in the race, would you vote against the recall?
Would you suggest legislation banning recalls?
No, no. What I would recommend is reforming [the process]. I would eliminate the possibility of paid signature gatherers. I think it dramatically changes the whole initiative process [if] you could have an initiative put on the ballot because people are really going out and collecting signatures, and they really want to do it. As opposed to bringing them from other states and paying them. The second point is that we would need to raise the bar in terms of being a candidate. It would have to be substantially harder to qualify as a candidate.
Meaning more signatures?
More signatures is one way to do it. There are a lot of ways to do it.
One more question. You seem to be a progressive candidate, but you don’t like labels of left and right —
I love the term progressive—
What is an example of an Arianna position that is not traditionally liberal?
If you take the positions that I have been espousing and present them to people, they would support them. The minute you identify them as left-wing positions, the support drops. So for me it’s a communications strategy. When I spoke at the conference of Fortunemagazine and Moneymagazine, I spoke to them about corporate abuses. And I asked them, "Why is it supposed to be left-wing?" Why is it supposed to be on the left to want corporate reform?