In his convention address, Schwarzenegger also said: “As a kid, I saw the Socialist country that Austria became after the Soviets left” in 1955 and Austria regained its independence.

But Martin Polaschek, a law history scholar and vice rector of Graz University, told Kurier that Austria was governed by coalition governments, including the conservative People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party. Between 1945 and 1970, all the nation’s chancellors were conservatives — not Socialists.

What’s more, when Schwarzenegger left in 1968, Austria was run by a conservative government headed by People’s Party Chancellor Josef Klaus, a staunch Roman Catholic and a sharp critic of both the Socialists as well as the Communists ruling in countries across the Iron Curtain.~ CNN, September 3, 2004

Schwarzenegger’s claims sounded overly dramatic, but I had assumed that the governor would be wiser than to make statements that could be so easily checked and completely repudiated. This episode reminded me of Bill Clinton’s “memories” of seeing church burnings in Arkansas as a boy, when he had seen no such thing, not least because the events he claimed that he had seen never happened.

The dishonesty of the two statements is very similar, and the goal is very much the same: just as Clinton wanted to conjure up an older South plagued by pandemic bigotry, Schwarzenegger wanted to invent an Austria and, by extension, a Europe that is simply riddled with left-wingers. This aims to lend credibility to the gross anti-Europeanism that now rules the Republican Party leadership. The lie is also instrumental in building up the pro-immigration position that Mr. Bush has persistently and almost inexplicably pushed for the last four years, because it invokes immigration as a flight from government controls to freedom.

What is crucially lacking in these darling immigrant stories is any mention of freedom of the native inhabitants to control their own country that is routinely reduced by a political class increasingly indifferent their interests, to say nothing of the historical trend of ever-greater state intervention that grows in proportion with mass immigration. Mr. Schwarzenegger’s accomplishments in this country are duly noted. If he were a real opponent of socialism, as he claims, then he would have nothing to do with this administration, which has increased the burden of the government on the people more than any post-war administration save LBJ, and he would be a staunch opponent of new mass immigration of all kinds, because it is an engine of the left.

In addition, the deliberate rejection of the Volkspartei Oesterreichs as a culturally, socially and, yes, economically conservative party, whatever its flaws, ought to be taken as just one more slap in the face of traditional and cultural conservatives. Equating European conservatives with socialists is something one might expect from a teenager or a libertarian, but not from someone with personal experience of the two very different, radically opposed groups. Arguably, the one party in Austria that has been at the forefront of pushing for less regulation, lower taxation and immigration restrictions–all very respectable conservative positions–is the oft-maligned Freedom Party of Joerg Haider, who will be getting no praise from Arnie for trying to lift the yoke of “socialism” off of his Austrian kin.

Curiously, thanks to his own policy proposals and the new spending proposals of the President on Thursday night, Mr. Schwarzenegger is helping to make the Republican Party much more like New Labour with its myriad initiatives than any respectable European conservative party. This only underscores the reality that Mr. Schwarzenegger has, of course, never been a conservative either in the American or European sense, and the lame arguments of the Rush Limbaughs of the world (such as we see on today’s Wall Street Journal op-ed page) will never be able to make one out of him.