California may never lose its reputation as the source of “Hey, Martha!”-type news stories. Maybe that’s a good thing, since it indicates that out here we experiment and mix it up and reach for new ideas.
But the “edgy” notion that hack Hollywood actors can evolve into great politicians has now, over time, proven to be false. Ronald Reagan, Fred Grandy of The Love Boat…there’s more evidence supporting a reverse theory that hack politicians often evolve into better actors. Although for some, there’s no hope either way: Bush’s policies have been a catastrophe, but could he at least improve his clumsy and weak public appearances to defend them?
That said, I’m starting to have real trepidation about Schwarzenegger’s current reelection ad campaign. Paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose governing board includes major donors to Schwarzenegger’s political campaigns, the TV spots skirt election rules by pretending to be “issue” ads as they present a revisionist view of the Doofinator’s reign.
That Arnold’s team has learned how to more effectively bend reality is hardly a sign of progress, but that’s all the dude can do and he’s going for it. I hate to throw cold water on the Oafinator’s newest propaganda, but maybe a refreshing splash or two will give us a view of him with eyes wide open instead of a squint.
What Got Better?
The current TV spots coordinate Schwarzenegger’s efforts to pass an ambitious public works plan and win a second term: Highways that will apparently get children to crumbling schools faster. Hearings were held last week on the pain inflicted on disabled workers by his worker’s comp cutbacks. His economics are astonishing: He vetoed $4 billion in car taxes, raised user fees to balance the budget, then won nothing in a special election conservatively costing the state $45 million.
A Lack of Ideas
The Mistakeinator’s core idea going in was that special interests were somehow pulling the strings in Sacramento and he would put a stop to that, targeting nurses and schoolteachers as “special interests.” He would “streamline” bureaucracies; nothing has happened except for some changes in state prisons.
It Was Always Ego
Nothing in Arnold’s gubernatorial performance gets you off the notion that he was looking for a wider screen for his ego. There were always specific, smaller clues such as the cigar-smoking tent outside the governor’s mansion. Or the numerous trips to far away places that had the same effect in the media that exotic locales have in a bad movie: They kept you from noticing that the story stank.
The Past IS Prologue
Sexual harassment, the magazine deal and achingly dumb quotations: It isn’t necessary to pull on threads, like statements about Nazis, to demonstrate that this guy simply isn’t executive material. No one in their right mind would make Arnold the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. However…
A Shot at the White House
This alone is reason enough to derail the Clodninator’s political train. In 2004 there was a “movement” (translation: the story got bigger play than it deserved) to amend the Constitution such that foreign-born citizens could run for President. You scoff, you poo-poo…but you forget that our current President’s only qualifications were a record number of executions as governor of Texas. End Arnold-mania here, in California. His next stop should be a cable TV series with Pamela Anderson called “Meatbots”…not an office in Washington.