Does Arnold Want This Job?
By John H.
On August 6th, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy
for the governorship of the State of California on that most
august of political forums, "The Tonight Show" with
Jay Leno. In the nearly two months that have followed, Americans
haven't been able to turn on the TV, tune in to a radio station,
check a news website, or pick up a newspaper without seeing
that epic Teutonic name or reading some inane headline about
the Austrian-American actor/politician-sans-portfolio ("Total
Recall?" and "Hasta La Vista, Gray Davis?" are among my favorites).
In two short months, Arnold Schwarzenegger has become The
Great White Hope of the CA-GOP. Within days of the Terminator's
announcement, Darrell Issa, the so-called "Father of the Recall,"
had tearfully withdrawn from the race. Bill Simon, who faced
Gray Davis in the last legitimate election in California,
decided to take a year off from losing elections and dropped
out as well. Soon, they had both endorsed Schwarzenegger.
There's no question why GOPers are backing out of the California
recall and supporting Schwarzenegger: The California Republican
Party is weak, and as we have all learned, winning is everything
to the Republicans. Schwarzenegger can win, not on qualifications
(although the pundits assure us that he has plenty), but on
The bigger, and more important question is: Why does Schwarzenegger
want this job?
Has he taken the time to consider what he will be facing
come October 8th? Perhaps he ought to take a pause from his
Gas Guzzler Bus Tour and think about it. Arnold loves Hummer
references (a big, dumb vehicle for a big, dumb man); I have
one for him. California's budget deficit is like a Hummer:
You can't just turn it on a dime. A lot of talk about "bringing
businesses to California" and "making sure everyone has a
fantastic job" may get you elected, but it won't bring in
Has he stopped to consider his biggest opponent in the recall
election? No matter what happens on October 7th, Cruz Bustamante
will still be in government come October 8th, either as lieutenant
governor or as governor. Schwarzenegger has not just criticized
Bustamante's job performance; he has insulted the lieutenant
governor's appearance, and even his receding hairline. Does
he not realize that he will have to work with this man?
Judging by his comments at the September 24th debate, he
doesn't. "On October 7th, you guys are out," Schwarzenegger
told Bustamante. Wrong. Bustamante will still be there, and
it's obvious that he views the Kindergarten Cop with a strong
mixture of condescension and disdain. Is Arnold's naiveté
so deep that he expects civility from his bitter rival when
the battle is finished? Does he expect the Democrat-dominated
state legislature to bend to his will after their party leader
has been thrown out of Sacramento on a rail?
Does Arnold expect the tacit cooperation and support of
the public and the press? Chances are that, if he wins this
election, he will not have a majority of the vote, or a larger
percentage of the vote than Gray Davis received in 2002. In
other words, the majority of California voters will have supported
someone other than him.
This makes him extremely vulnerable for a recall of his own.
The "Recall Schwarzenegger" talk is already beginning. If
he doesn't achieve results, and achieve them quickly, he may
be out within a year. Is he prepared to defend himself like
Davis has been forced to? The California press is already
starting to go after him. It won' t stop when he's governor;
if he fails miserably, it will accelerate.
So, why does Arnold want this job? Perhaps only God and
Arnold Schwarzenegger know...
...or maybe only God knows.