Baffled by Pussycat Arnold
Where are the Governor's true loyalties?..
[Patrick Mallon] 1/4/05
In his classic
1977 bodybuilding movie Pumping Iron, Arnold
Schwarzenegger loved to psyche out his opponents, diverting their
attention and focus with humor and anecdote. Even then, at age
28, he was a nimble politician: smart, likable, if a little bit
cocky, and capable of using it to expose the psychological weakness
Today as governor with a 66 percent approval rating, no one
is more confident, nor personifies power better. He's accustomed
to pounding his rivals into the dust. He doesn't just overwhelm,
he crushes. People can't get enough of the tough guy image. President
Bush and his handlers literally begged Arnold to come out to
Ohio to campaign for the Republican ticket last October as vigorous
enthusiasm for the GOP in California is either ambiguous or strictly
verboten. Just ask former U.S. Senate candidate Bill Jones.
Meanwhile Sacramento goes ga-ga, lawmakers are intimidated,
and none can stand up to the attention-grabbing persona. Back
to the job description: what does any of this have to do with
fiscal and cultural reform in state government?
governor helped the state stave off bankruptcy, has vetoed
bills signed into law by Gray Davis,
and he has made constructive headway on previous deals made with
Indian gaming interests and with workers compensation, but where's
the force of personality on social issues? Is it now the job
of Republicans to "move a little left" as he told the
German media recently?
It is high time voters ask some serious questions, so perhaps
we'll see a sliver of an answer when the governor goes to Sacramento
this week for a special legislative session with the threat of
a special election next fall if he does not see receptiveness
to real reform from far-Left Democrats.
Is Arnold Recoiling from Conservative Revolution?
11 of 11
states passed laws banning gay marriage, a term of art that
is framed deceptively.
How is it possible to ban something
that doesn't exist in the first place? Arnold has little if any
opinion on the subject, other than "crazy ideas."
Democrats are routinely treated like lepers by their own party,
which differs little from how the governor
treats the same within the GOP. While Arnold and his wife Maria
recently befriended Nancy Reagan, and the governor proudly displays
a bust of "The Gipper" as a centerpiece in his office,
he continues to prove the maxim: politics is not a team sport.
Let's make no mistake, the man is sincere and passionate in most
everything he does, but this is politics where a whole different
set of rules applies.
state legislator Maurice Johannessen, famous for bringing home
the bacon to
his Northern California district said recently: "If
you get elected for the purpose of doing what the party wants
you to do, then stay home."
Piper said voters "wanted change." Arnold
promised to clean house. What happened? At least with Davis,
we knew what we were getting. Values, traditions, family, faith,
all combined to energize the Republican base and re-elect George
Bush. This broad transformation has been well documented over
the past several years.
handlers read the tea leaves and their man, a movie star who'd
held elective office, rode the coattails, but
he laid low on established GOP stances in his adopted home state.
Fear of criticism? Fear of Hollywood's elite? Fear of honoring
cynical voters on both sides of the aisle who bought into his "taking
on the special interests" message?
And respecting the balanced budget amendment passed by the voters
last year, coupled with $15 billion in borrowing, how is it humanly
possible to paper over the basic question of receipts and expenditures
supporting the state's 30 million residents? Since Arnold ran
away scared from conducting the statewide audit he promised before
the recall, the audit that would have revealed that a significant
portion of the working population (30 percent?) do not file state
and federal tax returns because they work in California on a
cash-only basis, there is no way he can truthfully call his fiscal
reform package comprehensive.
Without including this key ingredient in the equation, his partial
reform plan means a partial solution. Following the political
correctness circle back to square one, examination of California's
huge under-the-table economy goes right back to the taboo of
illegal immigration. People: unless Arnold can break through
the dishonesty on this subject - we're stuck.
Since politicians are so adroit at diverting attention from
the larger issues at hand, we're likely to see political attentions
more focused on redistricting and the long shot of a part-time
legislature. This approach is no different from both Democrats
and Republicans on a national scale. Neither party wants to touch
our hugest American issue: the entry of thousands of people into
this country every day, illegally. The majority of them from,
and through, Mexico There are good people, and bad people coming
in, unabated, at a rate that ranges from 4,000-10,000 a day,
crossing into California and Arizona.
Building a Stale Legacy?
leave California a better place after he's gone? That's still
to be seen as there's lots of time left. But
at the present rate, he'll likely fall prey to the legacy of
almost every statewide elected Republican since Gov. George Deukmejian:
too infected with the decade-long fallout of Prop. 187, too fearful
of the legislature's most influential provocateurs: the Latino
Caucus (an organization that embodies one-fifth of California
lawmakers) and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)
Caucus that pursues gay marriage like salmon swimming to spawn,
along with the "progressive" press that routinely characterizes
Republicans as "rednecks" and religious zealots.
how does an ambitious politician fundraise when he or she belongs
to the party that has been effectively labeled
as a bunch of racist homophobes? The frustrating part about Arnold
is this: there's nothing he cannot accomplish when he puts mind
and will to it. It's his core formula for success. But that's
not the problem. It's his heart party loyalists need to be concerned
about, and the impression that their leader is ashamed to be
associated with the values and platform that put an actor in
the very office he refuses to exploit for anything more than
incremental partisan causes.
So let's walk through the logic of this, reasonably, sans ideology:
1.. If the
national party really thinks a guest worker program is a solution
the illegal immigration issue, there's no reason
to expect Arnold will be any different.
2.. If Arnold
thinks he's going to solve the state's budget problem without
the question of who pays for services they don't receive and
who receives services they don't pay for, then he's fooling
voters no differently from opponents in a bodybuilding contest.
America is the world's most generous, humane nation, and
a beacon for freedom and opportunity. While our citizenry demands
at the border, our politicians seduce the world to come here
for a basket full of goodies to "do the jobs Americans won't
do." The mixed messages are baffling.
and America love Arnold. They want to see the tiger roar while
the right thing. So why is he acting like a pussycat? Perhaps
for the same reason Democrats and Republicans often appear
to be one and the same, celebrity notwithstanding. CRO
Mallon is a political journalist and author of California
Dictatorship: How Liberal Extremism Destroyed Gray Davis.
[read an excerpt]. Patrick
is a regular guest on talk radio programs throughout
and nationally. He'll
be on with Joe Scheibinger of KFIZ AM 1450 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin,
Mon Jan. 3 at 7:10 a.m. PST, and Bob Gourley of "Issues
Today" on Wed. Jan. 5 at 11:00 a.m. PST. He can be contacted
2005 Patrick Mallon