Fast forward to the first Monday of January 2007:
I, Arnold Schwarzenegger, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.”
You read it here first: Another term for The Terminator.
More wacky pronunciations, evasive spokespeople, cockeyed budget schemes, threats against the Legislature and claims of sexual harassment. And, of course, more cigars , lots more of those.
Forget about the gloom-and-doom pundits who liken him to Minnesota’s one-term Jesse Ventura. Ignore public opinions polls showing that 56 percent of Californians are not inclined to re-elect him (36 percent say they would). Never mind next month’s special election in which the unions are outspending him on four ballot initiatives (three of which he’s unlikely to win).
Barring the shocking or scandalous (and with Schwarzenegger you never know), he will figure out a way to win. He will charm anything that moves and spend whatever it takes , his own money as well as his pals’ , to convince Californians that he’s their best bet.
He will paint himself as the outsider who needs to finish the job (“I’m a follow-through guy,” he said at a town hall meeting in San Diego). He will bring out his wife a lot, and she’ll say nice things.
And somehow, people buy into the lot of it, just as they did on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” recently when he received a standing ovation. “A gubernatorial election is all about contrasts,” blogged Matt Szabo, who was Bob Hertzberg’s spokesman during the mayoral campaign and knows a thing or two about state politics. “For the Dems to unseat the governor, they will have to make a convincing case to the voters that their guy, whoever it is, is better and/or more appealing than Arnold.”
Which is part of the problem , or haven’t you heard who the two leading candidates are?
The Democrats have , are you sitting down , state Treasurer Phil Angelides and state Controller Steve Westly. Now, that has the makings of a wild and crazy campaign.
“Can you possibly imagine a scenario where the state treasurer, wire-rimmed glasses and all, would receive a standing ovation on the Tonight Show? Not in a million years,” wrote Szabo.
It’s not too late for a last-minute entrant, but who might that be? There was early talk about actor/director Rob “Meathead” Reiner entering the race, and most recently the chatter has centered on Warren Beatty, who spiced up a convention of the California Nurses Association by accusing Schwarzenegger of governing “by show, by spin, by cosmetics and photo ops.”
It’s looking like Schwarzenegger vs. the no-names, with the house money going heavily to the former bodybuilder from Austria. As it often goes these days in politics, better glitz than good.
Mark Lacter is editor of the
Los Angeles Business Journal.