Tags: Terminator | Meets | the | Perfect | Storm

Terminator Meets the Perfect Storm

Monday, 23 June 2003 12:00 AM

Assuming that the “no one I think better” litmus test applies only to the prospective Republican field, there may not be much of a dilemma here for the former Mr. Universe and key proponent of California’s Proposition 49 (the multi-million dollar program to keep children busy in the hours after school closes, when crime peaks).

When a state the size of France, with a population of 34.5 million and the sixth-biggest economy in the world is in trouble,

So far the Terminator has the option of stepping aside for (a) Rep. Darrell Issa, a conservative Republican from Vista, who anted-up $800,000 of his own money to back the signature-collection effort; (b) former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan; (c) Bill Simon, who was narrowly defeated by Davis; (d) Calif. Secretary of State Bill Jones; or (e) State Sen. Tom McClintock, who ran unsuccessfully last year for state controller.

Not necessarily a lot of “gravitas” or name recognition in that lineup.

Sheri Annis, a political consultant who worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger last year on his successful Proposition 49, told CNN that in her opinion the Democratic wishful buzz that Arnie was making candidate noises just to hype his new flick is way off base.

“I do think he’s serious, and he’s serious about politics. And this, frankly, could be the perfect storm for Arnold Schwarzenegger. This recall election has been served up on a platter just for him, in a sense. California, as we know, is not great at electing Republicans for governors. The last one was Pete Wilson, and he was a moderate. Other moderates have tried, and have not succeeded. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a perfect California moderate. And with this recall, he can basically bypass the primary election and just go to straight essentially to a general election.”

As to whether Arnie has the right stuff and thick skin needed to go the distance in the “perfect storm” may be a different matter opined Annis:

“He is going to face a more hostile press than usual, if he jumps into the ring. As we know, the entertainment press is somewhat different than the political press. It’s the little secret that’s not very secret. Entertainment media happens to coddle. They try to coddle their subjects a bit more so that they can get the next interview. Political media are going to keep nudging him, prying until they get the information out of him. And how he handles that will really determine the outcome. Having said that, he is an astute candidate. He’s savvy; he’s smart. He has a great sense of humor, too, and he’s not boring.”

“Arnold has gravitas like no other candidate has,” Annis concluded. “When I worked with Arnold, political reporters would ask for his autograph. Cameramen would ask for an autograph. There were high-fives during editorial board meetings. From my experience, that’s not typical for a candidate. So he is the rock-star candidate for California.”

Schwarzenegger, 55, who became a U.S. citizen in 1983 and was made chairman of the president’s council on physical fitness and sports by George Bush Sr. may indeed be that “perfect California moderate,” as described by Annis.

When the Arnie buzz first got underway, commentator and former Democratic party adviser Bill Bradley said Schwarzenegger was more moderate than his screen image would lead folks to believe: “He’s pro-choice, pro-gay rights. He’s a member of the Kennedy family and some of that, I think, has rubbed off on him.”

Bradley also opined that the California penchant for unreality might also augur well for Annis’s rock star spoiler: “Californians want to have their cake, ice cream, apple pie and Diet Coke. They don’t want to cut any services but they don’t want to raise any taxes other than on cigarettes. There is an air of unreality.”

But Bradley also concedes that Schwarzenegger is a grounded and “meticulous” man who will carefully weigh the pros and cons and perhaps bide time until 2006. The Terminator himself has said his family life and movie career come before politics, and he confided to TV Guide magazine that he would toss his gauntlet in the ring only if wife Maria Shriver, of the Kennedy clan of Democrats, gave him her blessing.

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has delivered up some tough fighting words: “There comes a point when we the people must demand more out of our elected officials than for them just showing up. Howard Jarvis used to say it is time to show the politicians who is the boss. We are at such a point right now. Our elected officials in Sacramento are facing a budget crisis unseen in this state since the Great Depression, and it was entirely avoidable. Entirely avoidable.”

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Assuming that the "no one I think better" litmus test applies only to the prospective Republican field, there may not be much of a dilemma here for the former Mr. Universe and key proponent of California's Proposition 49 (the multi-million dollar program to keep children...
Monday, 23 June 2003 12:00 AM
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