Carol Platt Liebau: It's Not "All About Arnold"

Friday, January 20, 2006

It's Not "All About Arnold"

This story outlines the dispiriting efforts of Arnold Schwarzenegger to hold onto his Republican (donor) base even as he kisses up to the Democrats in Sacramento.

Of course it's disappointing that the governor has veered to the left. Of course it's pathetic that someone who's supposed to be so tough is so easily swayed from his reform course by one bad outcome.

But at the heart of Arnold's problems is this: He has lost our trust. Many center-right Republicans who supported Arnold Schwarzenegger did so because we believed that despite our disagreements on social issues, he was (1) a fiscal conservative and (2) genuinely committed to the reforms he was talking about -- because there was no other reason for a rich and famous movie star (who couldn't ascend to any higher office) to bother to go to Sacramento.

His recent proposals demonstrate that he is hardly a fiscal conservative. And his willingness to change course radically, on a dime, suggests that the reforms couldn't have meant that much to him -- and couldn't have been the motivating factor in his decision to seek the governorship. More and more, it seems that perhaps the governor wanted to be governor for some kind of weird ego-gratification (which, given the slings and arrows of modern politics, is never a reliable plan).

At this point, one sad fact seems clear: Arnold Schwarzenegger's behavior demonstrates that he believes that the most important thing isn't the principles he spent the last year touting (now, he characterizes the whole election as a "mistake." Memo to those who contributed to and/or worked for it: Oopsie!).

Rather, what matters most for him is being "successful" -- in some definition of the word. If he can't be a reformer, what the heck -- he'll be a builder! Yeah, that's the ticket! As long as he's doing something "big" that will make him look like a "winner" of some sort, and help position him to argue that he should be reelected -- well, who really cares about the pesky details?

As the Governor embarks on the newest phase of his ego-gratification tour, he seems to have forgotten: It's not all about you. It's supposed to be all about California, and what's really right for the state and its people. That doesn't include an unconditional surrender to the forces that won last November.

2 Comments:

Blogger Pete said...

Indeed, Arnold is verrrry disappointing. His new mantle may be, "I won't be back!"

11:42 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Pete,

Well said.

I think Carol's analysis is exactly right. I am so disappointed in Schwarzenegger who (I thought) was still the wily strategist depicted so memorably in Pumping Iron.

Jamie irons

6:55 PM  

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