The Birthers Ruined Schwarzenegger’s White House Chance

Arnold Swartzenegger

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Schwarzenegger White House Chance Ruined

Imagine you have an action hero head of state: his bronzed muscles rippling as he battles balancing budgets, bureaucracy and lobbyists. He’s a retina-searing international superstar who sets the political world ablaze. His occasional character “complexities” are always forgiven by perfectly timed press conferences. He’s a cigar smoker – a Humvee driver. And yes, the nudes of him from the ‘70s are tasteful – he’s a Republican. He believes in smaller government, lower taxes and gun ownership. This is the sexy image every leaner-to-the-right wants to think they’re just a little like: meet Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In 2003 what has been described as a “perfect storm” in California breached the levees of the governor’s mansion occupied by Governor Gray Davis. The dot-com bust, a recession, and an Enron-sponsored energy crisis coupled with rolling blackouts all battered the not-so-charismatic supporter of illegal immigrants getting drivers’ licenses. A massive and expensive special election was called.

Suddenly everyone from the neighborhood security guard (Gary Coleman) to the local bikini-clad porn star was on the ballot to compete for the prize of governor of the most populated and richest state in the Union. Then on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan the Barbarian announced he’d also be running for governor. After that there were lines around the block to cast a vote for The Kindergarten Cop. Reporters everywhere were giddy with the mountain of funny film monikers to bestow on the then-Governator hopeful.


When the votes were tallied, the electorate overwhelmingly said “yes” to the recall and “yes” to the star of Total Recall.

The “actor” mega-superstar Schwarzenegger was able to do what even Richard Nixon could never accomplish: be governor of California.

When gazing over the footage of not-too-easily-galvanized Californians lining up by the millions to vote for a Republican, the next thought was obvious: he’s going to be the president. His only measly little obstacle is to amend the Constitution, which is outdated on the subject after all. It states, “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” Who was a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, anyway? Not even Reagan. John McCain, if you’ll remember, was born in Panama.

The Austrian-born now politician who took the governorship in the least figurative way by storm seemed destined for the White House! The dude is married to a Kennedy for Pete’s sakes!

But hold on there, GOP Dreamboat (er turbo engine yacht), you’re about to be sunk by a group of paranoid nativists called The Birthers. The Birthers believe President Barack Obama wasn’t born in America and his birth certificate is a fake. It’s a conspiracy so elaborate, clever and void of any real evidence that they’re the only ones who believe it. You’d think a real Manchurian Candidate wouldn’t be black with a foreign sounding name so as not to arouse suspicion from these folks, but that’s just what the Commies would want you to think.

The Republicans siding with the Birthers and generally ramping up of the anti-immigration sentiment, are shooting themselves in the foot. And not just with Latino voters. Schwarzenegger is by far the most popular and (gasp) competent of any other candidates vying for the nomination in 2012. An amendment requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states. The Democrats, smartly, won’t bring it up and the Republicans shortsightedly won’t either. If the Democrats suggested an amendment – the Birthers would shriek that it’s proof of Obama’s foreign birth. If the Republicans suggested it – the Birthers would…well, pretty much the same.

Last week, Schwarzenegger, again on the Tonight Show said, “without any doubt,” he wants to run for president. He described the quagmire as painful to him.

Tina DupuyHe’s an unimaginable immigration success story foiled by an antiquated technicality clung to by his own party. My hope is the Governator becomes a champion for comprehensive reform. Currently, he’s a reasonable yet heavily accented voice in a wash of economically ignited xenophobia. He may not be able to run for president because of his country of birth, but he could do a monumental service to his country of choice.

Tina Dupuy

Tina is a nationally syndicated political columnist, investigative journalist, award-winning writer, stand-up comic and wedge issue fan. Reposted with permission from True/Slant.


  1. Jefferson from the grave says

    A stretch of logic to assume that just because one office holder born in another country is in the position to run for the presidency, that everyone would fall all over each other to change a basic tenant of the constitution is a bit far fetched. One part of Democracy is that everyone in office is, at some point is replaceable, even those not yet in the office. So, in summary, if a candidate does not meet the basic requirements for the office, we can do without. No one person is that needed to change the rules for. He can serve in another capacity.

  2. Steve Lamb says

    Arnie ? Competent? Those two words are not found together in California. What blew Arnie’s chances to be President is the fact that he made it clear it was all about him being loved and not about achieving policy objectives or managing the state back to health. The Birthers had nothing to do with it. He has been such a awful Governor that people, even Republicans, actually miss Gray Davis.

  3. says


    You must live somewhere other than California if you think that Arnie has been a success as governor. He has ruined our education system, screwed up the state budget with his regressive taxes favoring the rich, now attacks the public employees pensions systems, shutters state parks while but still funds higher incarceration rates, sells off state office buildings to wealthy corporations who will now lease them back to the state at a profit, refused to sign excellent legislation proposed by California Nurses Association over the years that would have improved medical care for all Californians, he has refused to sign single payer health care and on and on. Or from your comments I wonder if maybe like too many others you are in a sexist manner looking at Arnie from the neck down instead of from the neck up as too many men look at women mistaking physical form for competence instead of considering the whole person.

    Tina, I guess you have forgotten all the women Arnold sexually harassed, perhaps even molested, and they came forth publicly so it wasn’t rumor, or you excuse it because he is well “a movie actor” and what can we expect. If when I was a public employee at a community college I would have harassed or touched female students or co-workers the way he did I would have been fired. And what is with the Humvee comment?

    Usually I don’t like the constitutional requirement for Presidents to be native born [We have enough trouble with native borns, consider McCain and Palin.], but now I am glad it is in there. If it were someone of the stature of Nelson Mandela then perhaps I would work for changing the constitution but we don’t need anymore of the destructive policies of the near far right Arnold. He only seems to be a moderate Republican because the comparison is to mean spirited, boot licking corporatist totalitarians such as Mitt Romney or nut case evangelicals and their ilk.

    Tina, please study Arnold Schwarzenegger a little more and then perhaps discuss him with a more rounded perspective, or perhaps your article was pushing irony.

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