BY CHRIS GIOVINAZZO
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER is Governor of California. Even if he had lost, congratulations would be owed to the Republicans who helped come so close to taking back the California statehouse in such a creative way. In particular, I want to acknowledge your laser-like focus on gaining power to the exclusion of upholding any particular principles whatsoever. Congratulations.
The real shame of this election is that in all the hype about Arnold and the alternative “candidates” running for governor, we missed out on someone with serious gubernatorial potential straight from Arnold’s filmography. See, I had always figured that if anyone in “Predator” was going to get involved in politics, it was going to be Carl Weathers. You remember him – Action Jackson, Apollo Creed, etc. I mean, Weathers is one tough cookie – if I remember correctly, he kept shooting at the Predator even after his arm got blown off. You don’t see that kind of courage from Gray Davis, now do you?
Carl Weathers is every bit as qualified to make a run at elective office as Arnold is. Both are successful athletes (Weathers was on the Oakland Raiders) who followed up with successful action movie acting careers. Both are handsome and buff, Arnold with the help of steroids, Weathers without (I think). Weathers is fairly articulate as far as I can tell from Happy Gilmore, and unlike Arnold, he doesn’t have a brutally unpleasant Austrian accent.
I have no idea what Carl Weathers thinks about the Third Reich, but the odds seem to be pretty good that he doesn’t admire Adolf Hitler even a little bit. I’m basing this on the following premise: very few Americans have ever in their lives admired Hitler for anything – not even for silly stuff like his leadership and public speaking skills (Hitler traits that once received Arnold’s praise). I really can’t say whether Weathers has groped 15 or more women over the last 25 years, if he’s ever had group sex with a woman at a gym and bragged about it, or whether he thinks it’s funny to push a woman’s head into a toilet. Again, working purely off of baseline statistics, it seems safe to say that odds are that Weathers hasn’t done or thought any of these things.
Oh, and one last thing that usually gets talked about during these campaigns-for-incredibly-important-government-offices: both Weathers and Arnold lack any government experience. And (no offense Carl), neither knows a thing about how to run an enormous state bureaucracy, how to resolve California’s budget crisis, or really anything else about governing whatsoever. So the policy stuff is a wash.
All told, then, I have just made a convincing case for why one of the co-stars in one of Arnold’s action movies would make as good a governor as he would. That doesn’t seem to be the most ringing endorsement of Arnold’s candidacy. And that’s why mainstream, principled Republicans, standing up for good government and honest democracy, chose not to endorse this tasteless, misogynistic, ignorant, narcissistic celebrity for governor of the sixth largest economy in the world.
Oh, wait a minute. On the contrary, Republicans fell over themselves to support Arnold. In fact few Republicans – even reasonable, moderate ones – have been too proud to endorse Arnold, even to the point of making objectively laughable comments about his candidacy. According to Arnold’s website, George Pataki “thinks Arnold Schwarzenegger running for California governor is terrific. He gives fresh ideas and new perspectives.” Said another adoring Republican party leader, “I meet a lot of people interested in running for office, and his scope and understanding of the problems in California were really astounding.” Sure. Arnold was also brilliant in “Jingle All The Way.”
Senator Orrin Hatch thinks Arnold has the potential to be “the greatest Governor of California.” He’s even introducing a Constitutional Amendment that would allow a foreign-born American to become President. According to Hatch’s office, the measure was “not introduced with Schwarzenegger in mind.” Why even bother to lie so blatantly and pointlessly?
As for Arnold’s sexual past, Republicans blame the Democrats for mudslinging, even though Democrats didn’t even start the controversy and Arnold actually admits doing these things. But, hey, at least the Republicans are consistent on this one – they only complain about the consensual sexual activities of politicians. So Arnold is fine there.
In light of Tuesday’s recall, at least we’ve confirmed once again what Republicans stand for in 2003. They no longer need or want a Contract With America or anything like it. Nowadays, the Republicans have the Contract With Themselves. It has only one plank: get in power and stay there.
Chris Giovinazzo’s column appears biweekly.