Tags: Star | Born

A Star Is Born

Thursday, 07 November 2002 12:00 AM

That man, a star transplanted from Hollywood to the political arena, had more influence on the Republican Party than any other person in the 20th century. Later, when Ronald Reagan was elected president, he helped change not just the party but also the world.

Tuesday marked yet another dismal election for the California GOP – a sweep for the Democrats in this West Coast state – at least on the surface that is what appears to be the case.

Democrats also retained control of both houses of the State Legislature and won every constitutional statewide office. At first glance, the only consolation for California's Republicans are the 20 GOP House members, who all won re-election, despite redistricting.

However, as in 1964, all was not lost for the GOP in the Golden State, as a new Republican leader is emerging in this bastion of leftists, liberals and loonies.

The real winner on Tuesday was not Gray Davis. It was The Terminator – that's right, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Within hours of confirming the political demise of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon, pundits in both parties were talking about Arnold as the heir apparent.

Schwarzenegger is poised to fill the leadership void of California's hapless and hip-less GOP. The Terminator Slate is just the shot this sick dog of the Republican Party needs. With Arnold in the lead, the state GOP will be inspired and invigorated and the opposition will risk – of course – being terminated.

The Austrian-born actor epitomizes the American dream: arriving here as an immigrant in his early 20s, longing to be rich and famous. He started with little more than his personal strength, which for Arnold is a colossal asset. He and fellow Euro-bodybuilder Franco Colombo ran a brick-laying business to pay the bills while they did everything they could to jumpstart their celebrity careers.

Bricklayers, they soon found, are plentiful and even if one lowers his price, it's hard to attract customers. European ingenuity and American opportunity culminated as Franco and Arnold brashly raised their prices and advertised themselves as "specialty European bricklayers"; this savvy promotion tactic sent their business through the roof.

Schwarzenegger went on to become Mr. Universe and then a mega Hollywood action hero with blockbusters such as "The Terminator," "True Lies" and "Kindergarten Cop."

Schwarzenegger still pursued a shrewd business strategy and became a self-made billionaire businessman through restaurant and real estate ventures.

Arnold married a Kennedy and now wants to embark on a political career as the next governor of the state of California. And despite the Kennedy connection, he is a Republican.

Proposition 49 is indicative of the creative politics that can be expected from Arnold. His brainchild mandates schools to remain open and available for latchkey kids with no place to go between 3 and 6 p.m. This will put to full use already existing education assets. Using your assets wisely, especially if it helps the kids, is what Proposition 49 is all about.

California voters overwhelmingly agreed: Proposition 49, put on the ballot by Schwarzenegger, passed by 12 points on Tuesday. He's already done fundraising around the state for Republican officeholders, who now owe him a chit. He has also proven highly popular with the GOP grassroots ground troops. He's tanned, toned and ready.

Arnold will attract youth back to the party and would expand the party base. He is a hero figure to moviegoers, and in California a high percentage of them are immigrants of every stripe.

People in the music and entertainment world, or anyone who earns money doing hip things, are usually uncomfortable around geeky Republicans. With Arnold leading the ticket, those folks would feel more at home voting Republican. Arnold would, in short, bring coolness back to the Republican Party.

Ronald Reagan came from Hollywood and provided some glamour and style to an otherwise stale GOP, giving the party a boost at a time when it needed it the most. Arnold offers that same potential.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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That man, a star transplanted from Hollywood to the political arena, had more influence on the Republican Party than any other person in the 20th century. Later, when Ronald Reagan was elected president, he helped change not just the party but also the world. Tuesday...
Star,Born
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2002-00-07
Thursday, 07 November 2002 12:00 AM
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