Tags: Will | Warren | Beatty | Run | Against | Arnold?

Will Warren Beatty Run Against Arnold?

Monday, 23 May 2005 12:00 AM

While many thespians of the politically liberal kind have been big on talk, one successful actor had a vision for the state of California, set out to win the governor's seat and now sits at the helm.

The Golden State's current esteemed governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, drives the Hollywood Left nuts. He's been victorious, Republican label and all. And he continues to forge ahead with a resolve that makes Al Franken stammer, Rosie O'Donnell clamor and Barbra Streisand yammer.

Evidently, Warren Beatty of "Shampoo," "Reds" and "Dick Tracy" fame couldn't take it anymore. With Schwarzenegger's poll numbers taking a hit of late, Beatty apparently saw an opportunity.

While at a recent UC Berkeley graduation event, Beatty sauntered up to the podium. When he opened his mouth, he sounded very much like a guy who was throwing his hat into the ring.

Beatty's posturing makes sense, if you think in Tinseltown terms. He did, after all, portray a senator in "Bulworth." And it's common knowledge in La La Land that playing a role makes you eminently qualified to take on a real-life one. Senator, governor, close enough. Now Beatty is being touted by Left Coast Dems as a possible candidate to run against the Governator.

Similar to fellow actor, filmmaker and activist Rob Reiner, Beatty is a longtime grassroots Democrat. His political inclinations were apparent back in the 1960s when he was involved in Robert Kennedy's campaign for president.

Beatty has remained politically active over the years. He is a founding member of the Progressive Majority and the Center for National Policy. He's also a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

With wife Annette Bening and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in attendance, and in the presence of fellow speakers Maureen Dowd and Gavin Newsom, Beatty looked and sounded at the UC event like a Democratic candidate for governor-in-waiting. As a matter of fact, he left the proverbial airplane hangar door wide open as he told folks he would "think about it" if Schwarzenegger went ahead with what he described as "a totally unnecessary special election."

After firing up left-wing grads at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, Beatty told the press, "I don't think it's smart to rule anything out in life."

During his speech, Beatty explained that while he "didn't want to" run for governor, he'd "do a hell of a lot better job than he's [Schwarzenegger] done." He added, "I don't think anyone should ever rule public service out. It's a way of saying, ‘Take me out of the mix and don't listen to me any more.'"

When you want to run for office, you take potshots at your opponent, of course. Beatty confessed that he has "a real soft spot for actors, even if they are right-wing," but that Schwarzenegger should "rise to the higher level of that calling." He then chastised the governor for calling Democrat legislators "girlie men."

Beatty made no mention of Howard Dean's characterization of Republican leaders as "brain dead," "evil" and "corrupt," his labeling Sen. Rick Santorum as a "liar" or his calling for Tom DeLay's imprisonment.

Beatty's solution for the ailing state's huge deficit? What else – tax the rich. He claimed that Arnold was "bullying labor and the little guys" while embracing "the reactionary right wing."

He also had an arsenal of tired bodybuilding cracks. "Can't we accept that devotion to the building of the body politic is more complex and a little more sensitive than devotion to body building?" Beatty asked. "I'm an opponent of [Schwarzenegger's] muscle-bound conservatism, with longer experience in politics than he has," he said.

"We are not the governor's dumbbells," he mumbled. "It's not fooling anybody for him to be running around raising money ... from rich Republicans all over the country who hope that they can get this reactionary stuff started in California," he boohooed.

Beatty's speech stands as the first noise coming from a fellow actor on the "other side of the aisle." Because no Democrat front-runner has risen to challenge the incumbent up until now, Beatty actually could have an impact on the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary race. He could present an alternative to other would-be contenders like State Controller Steve Westley and State Treasurer Phil Angelides, who are both relatively unexciting political officeholders. Beatty could even run a similar campaign to Schwarzenegger's during the Gray Davis recall election: that of the non-politician.

As would be expected, the Berkely crowd gave Beatty a left-wing incentive to run with a standing ovation.

Which got me thinking: Could it be that the whole thing's a plea to the Democratic Party to draft the "reluctant" actor?


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While many thespians of the politically liberal kind have been big on talk, one successful actor had a vision for the state of California, set out to win the governor's seat and now sits at the helm. The Golden State's current esteemed governor, Arnold...
Monday, 23 May 2005 12:00 AM
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