Schwarzenegger is the new T.R.

As in Teddy Roosevelt, the great Republican conservationist. I haven't paid that much attention to the governor in recent months, but he sounds pretty impressive in an interview with Fortune at his office in Santa Monica. Is this the same guy we used to make fun of over the way he pronounced "California"? Some snippets:

How did you get to this point on the environment?

We now know that what we've done in the past 100 years has caused such unbelievable damage to the world. We didn't know better, but now we do, and now it's not okay. There are certain things we know will happen in the next 30 to 40 years if we don't roll it back. So we have to start doing it now. Every marathon starts with a first step. I know the American mentality when it comes to finances is to look at the quarterly returns. But there are decisions you will make today, right now, that will take you in a different direction if you think ahead. I have to think, How is California, with its population growth, going to get its energy supply in 50 years?

Does the GOP get this?

No. There are people in both parties who don't get it, but I would say I have a tougher time selling those things to the Republicans. here's a billboard in Michigan accusing me of costing the car industry $85 billion. [Sponsored by Republican Congressman Joe Knollenberg, the sign says, ARNOLD TO MICHIGAN: DROP DEAD! The message refers to the damage that detractors say the new emissions standards will cause the U.S. auto industry.] Those people look at this in a narrow way rather than really studying the subject and recognizing that this actually gives us an opportunity to create a whole new industry of clean cars and clean engines and components to build those engines. In California, what we call clean-tech industries are exploding left and right.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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