In 2010, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his last months as Governor of California, 70% of the public disapproved of his job performance. This was a lower polling number than his predecessor, Democratic Governor Gray Davis. If history was to repeat itself, the California electorate, if poked, would rise up and throw Schwarzenegger out of office.
It didn’t happen. Why not? The Democrats had no now-Congressman Darryl Issa to make false charges appear real nor right-wing money to repeat the charges often enough. In addition, in 2003, Davis was early into his term and in 2010 Arnie was about to leave.
In politics, timing is everything!
In 2003, when Gray Davis was on-the-rocks, the time was ripe for a Republican onslaught against the California electorate. Davis, himself, said that the recall was a “right-wing power grab.” He was right. And the stars were aligning for a Republican power-play.
Enter Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Republicans, always on the look-out for a front-man for their rich-take-all political schemes, couldn’t believe their good luck. Imagine, another Hollywood personality wanting to add California governor to his resume. They quickly zeroed in on Arnold. He was a true movie star with a take-charge, I can do anything personality. Not quite like Ronald Reagan who was really just a movie star wanna-be. But there was a possible problem with Arnie, he wasn’t quite as perfect as Reagan. Arnold was not married to a Nancy. He was married to a Democrat. And, not just any Democrat. It was Maria Kennedy Shriver, niece of revered Democratic President John F. Kennedy.
However, in reality, the right-wingers saw this as a plus. They knew, in blue California, they had to put the right kind of lipstick on their pig. And, what better lipstick than a Kennedy? They also thought that Schwarzenegger would help them regain footing with the immigrant community. After all, wasn’t Arnold foreign and famous for saying “Hasta la vista, baby!”? They knew that wasn’t English and, since all foreign languages were Greek to them, they assumed it was Spanish! So, they did what all smart Republicans do to be elected in California, they swallowed their principles and nominated Arnold.
Overnight, California became a Red State!
So how big a surprise is it that muscle-bound Arnie was sleeping with the hired help? That he was a liar and a cheater during his 25 year marriage to Maria Shriver? Seems to me the “hired help” deserve special protection judging by what Schwarzenegger has done and what Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with doing to a maid in Manhattan this past week.
We knew Arnie was a pompous jerk. Always ready to denounce as “girlie-men” anyone who didn’t meet his visible physical dimensions. (Of course, the part of his manhood we don’t see is probably smaller than his morals and character.) He sucked on cigars like they were a psychological substitute, raised obscene amounts of money, took special trips. As you can tell, I have no respect for men who judge other men by the size of their swagger and muscles rather than the content on their character.
Arnold is not alone, pick your favorite:
Worst hypocritical Republican politician:
A) Mark Sanford
B) Newt Gingrich
C) John Ensign
D) Larry Craig
E) David Vitter
F) Arnold Schwarzenneger
Worst behaving movie star?
A) Mel Gibson
B) Gary Busey
C) Charlie Sheen
D) Hugh Grant
E) Robert Downey, Jr.
F) Arnold Schwarzenneger
And, as for Maria Shriver, I admire and love her. Period.
And, just for the record. I discovered that “Hasta la vista, baby,” was first used in the popular song “Looking for a New Love,“ from Jody Watley’s 1987 album:
My love was true
Still you threw it all away
But now you’re like the rest
Unworthy of my best
Hasta la vista, baby
See you later, Schwarzenegger!