national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]

















Doug Gamble- Contributor

Doug Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and resides in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]

A Gov Who Loves To Be Loved
Arnold Schwarzenegger's celebrity act has already worn thin in Sacramento ...

[Doug Gamble] 8/4/04

Speaking as someone who gets nervous when it appears the laws of the universe are being repealed, there was something almost comforting in the discovery that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a mere mortal after all.

I felt somewhat the same when the Silicon Valley bubble finally burst. Just when it appeared everything we knew about the marketplace had become obsolete, with instant millionaires being created after starting Web-based businesses with no product to sell or reasonable rationale for their worth, the business world's version of the law of gravity returned with a vengeance.

Schwarzenegger, who had been politically walking on water since his victory in last October's gubernatorial recall election, had to wring out his loafers from the soaker he suffered when the recently ended bitter budget impasse sent him into the drink. And in the first poll taken since the governor failed in his pledge to deliver a new budget on time, his approval rating dropped from 64 per cent to 57 per cent.

Now that recalcitrant Democrats finally got under Schwarzenegger's skin, things are going to be even more interesting, if not competitive, in Sacramento between now and 2006. By lashing out at them for refusing to behave like members of a fan club, he looked more like Gray ("Enact my vision") Davis than the above-the-fray savior who promised a new tone in California politics.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I voted for Tom McClintock for governor last fall, and if I had to do it over again I'd vote the same way. I still believe he'd be a better governor in the long run because a politician who cares most about principles is usually more effective than one who cares most about popularity. On the budget, McClintock would have stayed in Sacramento and bare-knuckled it out with his opponents rather than soaking up adulation at shopping malls.

Actually, for all practical purposes, this governor is not so much a Republican or a Democrat as a one-person member of the Schwarzenegger Party. The compromises he has made over the months despite talking tough, pleasing Democrats a bit here and Republicans a bit there, seem more in tune with seeking approval than seeking real solutions to entrenched problems.

I can't recall anyone else in modern politics who so obviously loves being loved, with the possible exception of Bill Clinton. The look on Schwarzenegger's face when he is plunging into a crowd, surrounded by awestruck admirers, is almost orgasmic. Love may be eternal in the movie world, but the governor should have known it couldn't last forever in the political arena, no matter how many people he tries to please.

It's possible Schwarzenegger's celebrity may be wearing thin at the Capitol. It's still red-hot out around the state where supporters who show up at his rallies are mainly there to see a movie star and not because they care about Sacramento politics, but even a star loses some of his luster when you see him over and over again as legislators do. Perhaps "Oh wow, there's Arnold," is changing to "Ho, hum, Arnold again" these days in Capitol corridors.

It will be fascinating to watch how the governor reacts now that Democrats have stood up to him for the first time. He could campaign against those who didn't go along or push a ballot measure to create a part-time Legislature, two actions he has threatened. Or he could, as state Attorney General Bill Lockyer has predicted, decide not to run for re-election in 2006 and go back to the movies.

But if Democrats and other Schwarzenegger-watchers think there's blood in the water, there's one thing they should keep in mind: If he decides to stay and fight, this political warrior is not to be underestimated. CRO

California-based Doug Gamble contributed speech material to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and writes a twice-monthly column for the Orange County Register and

Copyright 2004 Doug Gamble




Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005