It looks like the CA primary is going to be moved up to February. Suppose Arnold is thinking: Hey, I can never be president, but I can influence who the Republican nominee is. Heck, I might even be able to make sure that nominee wins in the general election.
Could he do this (ie, does he have enough pull to succeed if he wanted to)? I think so. He’s wildly popular in CA as a Republican (CA of all places!) at a time when that party is at a low almost everywhere else. He’s out there in front on some really popular issues: Embryonic Stem Cell research, Health Care reform, Climate Change, etc.
Will he? That’s a tougher question. I sure hope he considers doing so, because he’s one guy that could put make the religious right a lot less relevant in Republican politics by swaying more middle-of-the-road voters.
Suppose Arnold were, for instance, to approach McCain* and make him a deal: You let me help craft your platform, don’t go overboard pandering to the religious right, and I’ll not only endorse you in CA, but I’ll actively campaign for you in the primaries and the general election.
*could be someone else, but I think McCain is the best possibility.
Arnold has been decrying partisanship a great deal lately, though, and this kind of move would disgust a lot of Californians. He might be able to pull it off if he endorses a Democrat and talks about the Unity ticket, but that would more likely make him sound crazy and impractical.
Why would that piss off Californians. Firstly, it would be a private agreement between him and whomever he chooses to endorse. Secondly, he’s not going to piss any Californians off any more than when he endorsed Bush in the '04 general election. If he endorses a more centrists candidate, that should redeem him in the eyes of some.
Just because he’s “decrying partisanship” doesn’t mean he’s stopped being a Republican. Why doesn’t he have as much right as any other prominent Pub to endorse a candidate for the Pub primaries? The “partisanship” issue arises after the election when the Dems and Pubs have to decide how far they’re going to be in opposition and how far they’re going to work together.
What are his options for the Senate or the House? I don’t really know how these things work eligibilty wise (I know he can’t be President). Still, a remarkable man, and a frigging remarkable career so far.