Arnold, You’re no Jesse. And We’re Worse Off Because of That.

The recall campaign is beginning to wind down and all sorts of predictions are being made. Personally I think the only accurate prediction to be made at this point is that there will be a recall election on October 7th.
Should Mr. Schwarzenegger get elected we’ll have more Politics As Usual in Sacramento led by a Yet Another Typical Politician.
Nothing will change, nothing will get reformed, and we’ll be living with the consequences for years to come. Meanwhile the state’s problems will remain.
I’m probably the only Venice Beach lefty who’s actually disappointed in Arnold and his campaign and was naïve enough to think that there was some good potential in Arnold’s upstart campaign. After all, Arnold’s a good neighbor and businessman in our community, and got his start just blocks away from my home.
Arnold had a chance to use the historic recall to lead a movement and use his celebrity status to cut through the media clutter, talk to voters about the issues, and if elected do some good for all Californians, regardless of party, skin color, geographical location etc. etc. etc. He certainly isn’t a dumb person, and hasn’t been the “bad guy” that most Typical Politicians end up after years on the rubber chicken circuit.
In fact, I often felt that should Arnold run for office he’d have a chance to run a higher-level version of Jesse Ventura’s successful campaign for governor – a campaign where a media-savvy political reformer used extensive unscripted debates, a campaign message that motivated voters to come to the polls, and a commitment to real reform of state government.
( The fact is once you got past the colorful metaphors Ventura was as qualified and as well versed on the issues as any of his Democratic or Republican counterparts. As a former elected official and businessman he was well aquainted with many of the mundane issues of government. He certainly held his own in countless debates on TV around the state!)
As misjudgments go, this is a pretty big one. To paraphrase an oft-used line “Arnold, you’re no Jesse Ventura.”
Yes, Arnold’s campaign has made it clear – he is no Ventura and his opportunity to bring a fresh view to state government and politics was pissed away the moment he signed on former Gov. Pete Wilson and his mafia of assorted political hacks and corporate donors to carefully manage Arnold and his efforts.
Wilson and his guys had their chance in the 90s to make their mark, and instead left us a legacy of bad laws and crummy budgets that were the fiscal equivalent of putting band-aids on axe-wounds. Their way is to run campaigns with media manipulation, raising money from corporate interests, and applying the Wilson-patented racially divisive attacks on whomever seems easiest to hit in order to win. It goes without saying that lying is perfectly acceptable as long as you’ve got an “R” next to your name.
It’s time to pull the plug on the circus. Much as it pains me to say it, recalling Gray Davis won’t do any good under these circumstances. Throwing out an elected governor because he has the personality of a doorstop and replacing him with Yet Another Typical Politician blows the whole POINT of a recall.
All we’ll be doing is replacing one problem with another – and in Arnold’s case with someone who apparently we’re supposed to trust since he’s told us nothing – but has a history of stretching and dodging the truth, Clinton-style.
Apparently Arnold’s smart enough to lead the state, but isn’t up to the challenge of a real debate (one where he can’t rehearse interruptions and bad one liners in advance) with the likes of Tommy McClintock, Arianna Huffington, and our other genius candidates like Gary Coleman and Mary Carey. Arnold’s campaign won’t let the press get near him during this last week of the campaign. Do they know something we don’t?
Arnold, you’re no Jesse Ventura. You’re just Another Typical Politician, playing political games, and avoiding issues during a campaign. Not unlike most politicians in Sacramento. You had a chance to do better, and you failed. You’re smarter and better than this, but chose Pete Wilson’s way instead.
So this is why we’re doing the recall? To replace one Typical Politician with another? I’m done. Next.
(PS: Note to Arnold: I saw The Rundown starring The Rock opening weekend. You know what? It was great.
Perhaps its better you follow Pete Wilson and his gang’s tricks in the political arena, and get out of movies. The Rock’s movie was better than T3 and I liked T3 a lot too. And I bet if The Rock were running he’d have the courage to debate Governor Gray.
Then again, the Rock was a wrestler like Jesse Ventura, wasn’t he? Hmm…

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

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