Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California says the lights will go out for the populist Tea Party movement as soon as the economy recovers.
Schwarzenegger, who has his own economic woes to deal with in California, said in an interview with Fox News
, "I'm just saying they're not going anywhere with it because nobody is coming up and saying, 'Here's our candidate, here's our solution, here's what we're going to do.' "
While Schwarzenegger is keeping his distance, other Republicans, including former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, are currying favor with the grassroots, conservative movement that formed around opposition to President Obama's policies, particularly on health care, spending, taxes and government expansion.
Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, isn't impressed.
The Tea Partiers are inflamed by joblessness, the housing slump and a belief that "government is not acting fast enough," he told Fox's Greta Van Susteren
. But it's the "same anger they're expressing in Austria and Italy, and all over the world."
"In the end, when the economy comes back, I think that the Tea Party will disappear again," he said. "It will, you know, twinkle and disappear, and that will be it."
Schwarzenegger, in Washington for the National Governors Association winter conference, said he told President Obama that the federal stimulus package has been good for California, helping to create or save 150,000 jobs.
"I am happy about it and I told the president, and I will tell the world, that during a time of crisis like this, anything is helpful," he said. Schwarzenegger, in his second term, cannot run for re-election because of term limits.