diet coke for breakfast

Monday, August 11, 2003

Posted by Matthew
An Actor, Yes, but No Ronald Reagan

Well this little article is the "most official" ("official" as in its from the NYT, via CNN) of the inevitable Schwarzenegger/Reagan comparisons. There were a few points where insomnia and I felt the need to comment on:

The author is painting Reagan as very conservative, and Arnold as not conservative enough for CA Republicans. Conservative enough for whom? Granted there is a "traditional" group of Republicans in this state, and they represent a non-trivial voting block, but I think perhaps they think too highly of themselves:

"If he gets elected, and the recall is a convenient adjunct to his candidacy, then it is not going to work," said Mr. Khachigian, who was advising Mr. Issa. "He has to realize that this is a true rebellion. It is a Republican and conservative rebellion."

Now I don't mean to go off on a rant here, but for the last time: NO IT ISN'T! There is no "Great Republican Uprising" in California. The ideological nature of the state's electorate has not changed. It is, and will continue to be a little left of moderate. Just left enough that we fear bible-thumping "traditional" Republicans and won't usually elect them, but when times are tight, we tend to vote in a conservative governor because we all believe the stereotype that Republicans are good at accounting. When times are good, we let the Democrats spend unless they break the bank, which they did. Neither party seems to understand this. There is constant talk of "mandates" and "rebellions" and its not going to get either party anywhere. So along comes the Terminator, a (gasp!) social moderate fiscal conservative who happens to be popular, and people freak out like his politics are some sort of dangerous anomaly, when in reality, he's just identified the same way as the majority of people...

So go ahead, and vote for looser Bill Simon, and divide the republican voting block which for once has the opportunity to get votes from the huge moderate voting block in Schwarzenegger.

At least this guy gets it:
Kenneth M. Duberstein, who served as Mr. Reagan's White House chief of staff, is less pessimistic about Mr. Schwarzenegger's ability to romance the conservatives. Victory for a Republican, Mr. Duberstein said, trumps ideological purity.

Okay the second thing that's annoying me is the whole "Ah-nuld isn't qualified" chant that keeps getting repeated:

Mr. Schwarzenegger also steps into the political ring with virtually none of the preparation of Mr. Reagan.

When Mr. Reagan ran for governor in 1966, he had not only been a well-known actor, the host of a popular Sunday television show and a dashing figure around Los Angeles, but a visible Republican activist across the country.

Um... hello? Ah-nuld has been stumping for the GOP for a well over decade... granted he hasn't exactly been making political debate or setting the Republican agenda, but he's been a part of many campaigns and fundraisers: he's got the connections and inside knowledge. As for people skills, he's a seasoned pro... As an actor you have to be able to sell yourself. I've even heard people describe Arnold the same way they've described Bill Clinton: "personable, charming, intelligent, the willingness to talk to anyone about anything, and the knack for making people feel like they have his complete attention." Lastly, from an administrative point of view, he's a successful businessman (he was even doing quite well for himself before acting with businesses and investments). What else does one need to be a politician at any level? It's not like you need a formal education in political science to be governor. As far as I can tell, all you need to be governor is a willingness to make decisions and people willing to support your decisions. In that perspective, Arnold is already more qualified than Davis.

At least the general electorate is getting that idea: Seventy-three percent of those polled said they regard Schwarzenegger's candidacy seriously

Okay, end rant.... I know I'm starting to sound like a fanboy, but the more I think about it, the more enthusiastic I am for the Terminator.


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