Arnold: Best man for the job in California?

In certain online circles that I’ve been poking my head into, there’s a LOT of supportive buzz about Mr. Schwarzenegger, about the raw deal he’s gotten in the media of late (though if it’s due to his popularity, politics, or simply because he’s the most interesting/newsworthy legitimate contender in the whole recall is a matter of debate), and how he’s gonna win big.

One question I have that I’ve seen relatively little about, though: why is he the best candidate for the job? Anyone care to argue for or against him on this point alone to get me clued in on the whole affair?

Oh, I certainly don’t think he’s the best man for the job. (I had my hopes set on Riordan, but could not say that he was the “best man” for the job either.)

I think Arnold is just the most famous guy. But hey—it seems like he’s got a fair to middlin’ shot, and if he does win, I wish him the best, for the sake of the State of California.

He’s the best man for the job out of the candidates running, for a simple reason: California has a couple of very big problems - one is the cronyism and corruption of the Davis regime, with its shakedowns and politically-motivated schemes.

The other is that the initiatives and referenda of the past have tied the hands of government to a large extent and prevented it from doing the hard things required to fix the budget.

What kind of person do you need to solve those problems? You need a popular, charismatic outsider. Someone who has the popularity to both shake up the politicians and to go to the people and demand that they vote for new initiatives to solve the problem (basically, by repealing earlier ones). Some milqetoast insider like Bustamente can do neither, and he’s the only other alternative to Davis. So Arnie’s the man, warts and all.

Sam, how do you expect Arnold to do anything you say he will, being that he has absolutely now experience in the field? Arnold will become nothing more than a shining figurehead for the Republican Party. Ineffective, but good looking, which sadly, seems to make it okay.

Personally, I feel that McClintock would be much better for Cal than Arnold. McClintock knows the system and he seems to have the will to do what is needed. Take not dropping out of the race for example.

Just as I would not hire an electrician to shingle my roof, I have no interest in seeing a body builder run my state.

It’s a tough call though, whom to select? The Hitler admiring chikan or the unctuous, money obsessed and rightfully elected career politician.

Every politician has ‘no experience in the field’ the first time they get elected. There’s no trade association for politicians. There’s no apprenticeship.

Arnold is clearly a very successful businessman - he’s one of the 400 richest people in the United States. He made his first million in business before he made any money in show business. He has a degree in international relations and economics.

And I would argue that being an actor is in fact *very good preparation for politics. You learn to speak well. You learn to handle cameras, makeup, lighting, etc. You learn how to give interviews, deal with the press, and how to handle power. These are all important facets of being an effective politician.

Of the actors I can think of who went into politics, pretty much all of them were successful. Ronald Reagan, Fred Thompson, Clint Eastwood, Shirley Temple Black, even Fred Grandy and Sonny Bono were well respected and effective. I think Arnold will do a fine job.

It’s interesting that every actor-turned politician I can think of has been Republican. I wonder why that is?

So, who IS qualified to be a politician? A lawyer? A doctor? A scientist? A carpenter? A general? A peanut farmer? What is the Zenster-approved apprenticeship path for being a politician?

Running almost a billion dollars worth of businesses doesn’t count? Being active in politics for decades, including being the chair of the council on physical fitness doesn’t count? Rising to the absolute pinnacle of your profession doesn’t count?

You know, I expect ridiculous smears from democratic operatives. But we should be a little smarter. Do you REALLY think that Schwartzennegger is a closet Nazi? The same guy who has been donating to the Simon Weisenthal center for a decade, and who advocates opening ‘centers of tolerance’ to help overcome racial tension? The same guy who describes himself as a libertarian and a follower of Milton Friedman? The same guy who has repeatedly said he despises Nazis and everything they stood for? The same guy who, as a young man, took a bunch of other young men and physically broke up a demonstration of Nazis?

The serial groper charge is fair. The Hitler thing isn’t. It’s politics at its most despicable. He was misquoted, first of all. What he said in essence was, “You can admire things that people can do without admiring the person. For instance, I admired Hitler’s ability to speak, but I absolutely hated what he used that ability to achieve.”

There’s nothing wrong with a statement like that. But hey, leave the last sentence off, and publish it with a big headline, “Arnold admires Hitler!”, and hey, you’ve got a perfect vehicle for a good old fashioned dirty tricks campaign.

And if he wasn’t ready for it he wasn’t ready for politics.

I expect Arnold to win if the recall goes through and I expect him to botch up California as bad as it currently is. The problems there are inherent in an expectation of high levels of services with an expectation of low taxes. And there’s not a thing any politician can do with a situation like that.

Sure, Arnold can use his fame and Q-Rating to influence people to support him. But the first time he cuts a program they favor or benefit from they’ll turn on him like wolves.

Well, if that’s the case, then there’s nothing *any politician can do, and it doesn’t really matter who you elect.

In fact, I think this is the position of the national Republican party, which was against the recall. If the ship is going to sink anyway, better to have a Democrat at the helm.

Expressing the least admiration for a demon like Adolph Hitler should come back to haunt you at any time in the future. I could give a rip about his donations. After the fact concern for the victims of those you have praised is too transparent a matter.

Having sufficient disrespect for women to treat them like sex objects harmonizes a little too easily with the preceding statement’s central issue as well. Dehumanizing people is symptomatic of a much greater malaise and one to be extremely wary of.

While charisma may be of some use to a politician with otherwise limited skills (look at Shrub), actual involvement in politics at a grass roots level (i.e., city council, mayoralty, congress, senate) makes for a lot more substantial credentials in my book.

Making lots of money is nice, if there is a demonstrated track record of real leadership or exceptional executive ability. Making popular movies does not fall into that category. Ahnult has little to recommend him when it comes to governing one of the most powerful economies in the entire world.

His prior history of narcissistic body building, gang sex, groping women and celebrity status all point towards a self absorbed person who is attempting to cash in on their fame while entering a field completely outside of their expertise.

To extoll acting ability as a political virtue is about as comforting as admiring a military general for being a snappy dresser. Neither of these superficial aspects have anything to do with the more important core issues involved.

Where the hell do you get that idea about how the system works down here? Of course there is. You work your way up from local organizing and activism, to local offices of increasing rank, to statewide offices of increasing rank, to national ones. At each step you do gain experience and competence. Very rarely do you skip major steps successfully. How does it work up there, then?

As for your other fantasy assertion that he’ll be effective essentially because he’s popular (with some men, anyway), that is not a particularly good sell anymore, not at this point in the Bush administration.

Re the Hitler-admiring charge, you also seem to be unaware, perhaps from confining your newgathering to partisan blogs, about Schwarzenegger’s continuing admiration for Kurt Waldheim.

Ho hum.

I wonder… How many governors were elected WITHOUT moving up through the grassroots as you describe? It seems to me that this ‘unqualified’ issue only comes up when the person in question is, A) an actor, and B) not in your party.

If Paul Newman, Martin Sheen, Tim Robbins, or any number of other hollywood heavyweights ran for office as a Democrat, you know what would happen? I’ll tell you - Democrats would be proclaiming their advantages, and Republicans would be claiming that they are mere actors, and therefore unqualified.

Last week, I heard Bill Maher express support for Arianna Huffington, because, he said, she was the most qualified candidate. Anyone who can think that Arianna Huffington has any qualifications for public office at all, let alone the most qualifications, is completely blinded by partisanship and/or personal friendship. So it goes.

I’m not unaware that some have claimed that Schwartzennegger has expressed admiration for Waldheim - It’s just something that has not come up in this discussion or in the media during this kerfuffle. And now I’d like a cite from you, in context, so we can debate what it means.

But hey, it did give you yet another opportunity to get in a little personal dig at me. Good on ya. You never miss a beat.

Personally, of all the names floating around the recall, I’d peg either Peter Uberoff or Richard Riordan as the best person for the job. Unfortunately, neither of them are in the running.

Calling Arnold Schwarzenegger the best person for the job just because he’s got the name recognition (and the all-important “Republican” tag next to his name) is ludicrous beyond belief. I’d be more impressed if he would spend less time dodging the issues and more time spelling out what specific plans he has in mind if elected.

I didn’t say he was the best person because he’s got name recognition. I said he was the best person primarily because the other two major candidates are very, very weak. My point about his charisma is that it’s a valuable commodity for a politician to have, and should definitely be listed in the asset column.

It seems to me that Schwartzenegger is at least as well qualified as many, many people who have become governor of various states, and vastly more qualified than many. Bill Clinton, for example.

Jessie Ventura comes to mind, along with Ronald (1920’s style death) Reagan. I’m sure there’s others, but probably not too many. Feel free to dig up the actual numbers. I’m confident they aren’t going to be huge.

For you maybe. I look for relevant professional qualifications in the people I vote for.

Sounds like you have some very curious friends on both sides of the aisle. However, I’m not too fond of their voting criteria nor the candidates you suggest.

I agree. Maher doesn’t strike me as a reliable source of voting advice.

Right up until some Hollywood yahoo thinks he can step in and snatch up the reins of one of the most productive nation-states on earth. I think politics and entertainment would both be better off if they refrained from mingling their businesses.

Maybe so, but (if shown to be true) it sure puts that admiration of Hitler right back on the old front burner, now doesn’t it?

Me too, because if it’s true, Ahnult has no place in the political arena.

I calls 'em like I sees 'em.

PS: Here’s some links for you. All it took was a 0.16 secong Google search for Arnold+Kurt+Waldheim.
Some excerpts from the linked articles:

Not the sort of person I want running my state, 'nuff said.

*Originally posted by Zenster *
His prior history of narcissistic body building, gang sex, groping women and celebrity status all point towards a self absorbed person who is attempting to cash in on their fame while entering a field completely outside of their expertise.

Well, if he’s narcisstic, then getting into politics is just being consistant. What, beaver-face Davis isnt narsisstic? Mr ‘I know best where you should spend your money’ Davis? C’mon.

And I dont want to hear one dem, ONE, talk crap about anything Arnie may have done to women 20 odd years ago, when gee whiz didnt we just have a dem pres in office who got BJs from interns?? Where was all the self righteous concern for womens rights then?

I didnt care about Clintons BJ habits, and I dont care about what Arnold did 20 years ago. What people did in their 20s rarely has anything to do with what kind of peple they are in there 40s-50s.

Davis is so out of touch, he actually thinks these tactics are going to work. All theyre doing is backfiring.

Which is exactly what needs to change. If you want the status quo to continue, vote for politicians with ‘experience’. If you want the status quo to end, get rid of the abhorant political class that you describe. My god, you make it sound as if running for office is some kind of union-esque seniority entitlement. No wonder that one of the biggest obstacles to change/progress in this state are the public employees mafias, er, I mean unions.

If the system is so entrenched that only ‘insiders’ who know which brown bags to take and which to leave can make any changes, than it seems to me that after the governers office, we need to start on the assembly.

One thing Cal has never been short of is self important pompous people who think they know best how everyone should live. I for one get tired of dealing with their religous beliefs all the time.

Is Arnie the best for the job? Out of those running, probably. I guess it depends on what one thinks ‘the job’ is. He certainly isnt the worst; the worst is allready in office.

*Originally posted by Voodoochile *


Ehm - Zenster’s handle somehow got into the quote block above. He obviously did not make the rather silly point of equating consensual sex with harrassment - Voodoochile has that honour.

Well pretty much all of the interviews that Arnold has given in his campaign have been fluff pieces - no hard questions, nothing unscripted, no indepth Q&A about his actual policies. His only debate was the one in which everybody was given all the questions a week or so ahead of time, and he basically spat out a series of one-liners. “We’re going to tell the special interests that it’s Game Over” is not a policy, it’s a sound bite that tells us nothing. In that one debate I was also not very impressed with his vocal style - he just came across to me as pushy and wanting to talk over everyone else (not that he was the only one!).

For all the people who think he likes Hitler or the Nazis I think that’s just way off - he’s got a great relationship with the Simon Wiesenthal Center (not exactly known as a bunch of Adolf-lovers) for starters (and he was the one who paid them to study his father’s past, long before he was a political candidate). As far as him goosestepping around with one arm in the air for laughs, that same criteria would make John Cleese the biggest Nazi on the face of the earth.

The groping stuff I do take seriously - Clinton did something scummy but it was at least consensual. Arnold is accused of grabbing women and feeling them up. First he denied it, then said he didn’t remember doing anything like that, then admitted that some of that stuff happened, then apologized “in case anyone was offended”. To me that’s some pretty serious weather-vane like behavior about what are pretty odious actions. And these aren’t anonymous accusations, several of the women have come out publicly. This also isn’t just about things that happened over 20 years ago, the most recent accusations are from 2000.