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Doug Gamble- Contributor

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

President Schwarzenegger?
So, he never thought of the possibility…
[Doug Gamble] 3/16/05

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is to be commended for spending his accumulated political capital attempting a drastic facelift of California governance and politics. It marks a sharp reversal of the popularity-over-principle stance he adopted in his first year.

If all or some of the governor’s bold reform proposals on redistricting, public worker pensions, teacher tenure and state spending pass in a possible special election this fall, California will be the better for it. And with the shrewd Schwarzenegger simplifying the issues for voters by portraying his reform package as him and them vs. the special interests and politics as usual, his chances for success have to be rated good despite stiff opposition.

Not only will Californians benefit, something I’m sure the governor genuinely wants, but so will he as he continues to build a resume of accomplishments to showcase when he runs for president. Not if, when.

For some reason, Schwarzenegger has been disingenuous lately about his presidential ambitions, pretending to back away from them. When asked last month on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” about the current drive to amend the Constitution to allow immigrants to occupy the White House, Schwarzenegger answered, “I don’t think the idea is that all the push is because of me. I mean, I have never thought of running for president, and this is not my vision.”

But much of the push is because of him; he has thought of running for president and it is his vision.

Certainly the hope of a Schwarzenegger presidency is the driving force behind the organization “Amend for Arnold,” headed by Silicon Valley money manager Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, who says the country needs a “moderate” in the Oval Office instead of conservative Republicans who she calls “the wing nuts running our lives.” And it’s unlikely that one of four bills before Congress seeking a Constitutional amendment would have been introduced by Orange County Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher were it not for Schwarzenegger becoming governor.

Schwarzenegger spoke of becoming president as far back as 1977 and when asked last year on CBS’ “60 Minutes” if he would consider a White House quest, said, “Why not? With my way of thinking, you always shoot for the top.” Exactly. It’s hard to believe he would back away now.

In a New York Times column on the proposed 28th Amendment allowing foreign-born U.S. citizens to run for president, William Safire predicted it would be ratified in 2007, in time for a Schwarzenegger presidential run the next year. I agree. Although it takes approval by two-thirds of the House and Senate and ratification by three-quarters of the states, the Constitution has actually been amended every 12 years on average since establishment of The Bill of Rights.

And it isn’t always a lengthy process. The 26th Amendment to lower the voting age to 18 was whisked through to ratification in four months. One can envision Schwarzenegger, after winning reelection as governor in 2006 and with his presidential ambitions then unabashed, campaigning state-to-state in favor the of 28th Amendment.

With travels abroad in which he has met with the prime ministers of Japan and Israel and the king of Jordan, and with trips scheduled this year to Europe and China, Schwarzenegger is burnishing his foreign policy credentials. And video of him schmoozing with world leaders will look great in his presidential TV ads.

Schwarzenegger’s ego would never allow him to settle for anything less than the top of his profession, and politics are his profession now. He may be denying higher ambitions because he does not want everything he does as governor to be viewed through the prism of presidential ambitions. But don’t be fooled. He’s running. tRO

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




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