“NEVER SAY NEVER”….Big time screwup for Arnold today. Here’s what happened.

This morning, Arnold revved up his “Economic Recovery Council” and suggested that he would solve the budget problem through spending cuts alone:

Cuts are necessary, Schwarzenegger said, but only because money is not being spent wisely ? and he reiterated his commitment to education, saying that it would not be on the table for these cuts.

Good luck! Once you remove education, there’s about $50-60 billion left in the budget, and it needs to be cut about $25 billion or so to get into balance. Even the Terminator can’t pull that off.

Still, here in the land of make believe it’s the politically expedient thing to say, and he should have stuck with it. But he didn’t.

He was fine at first in his prepared remarks, striking a very Bush-like tone: “I will not raise taxes,” he said firmly. But later, questioned by reporters, he sounded more like Bush Sr.: “Never say never ? but I am in principle against taxing.”

Bad move, Arnold! Warren Buffett’s Prop 13 musings have already gotten him into trouble with the right-wing tax jihadists, and “Never say never” definitely will not calm them down. Quite the opposite, in fact, and I expect Bill Simon and Tom McClintock to very shortly make that phrase as famous as “Hasta la vista, baby.”

If this is a taste of how Arnold performs when he’s questioned by real reporters, he could be in big trouble.