But even a RINO - Republican In Name Only - can drive Democrats crazy, and, in desperation to find an attack angle, Dem operatives are currently testing three themes:
1. Arnold is a Nazi.
Okay, Arnold's not a Nazi. He was born in the Austrian town of Thal, but not until 1947, and thus was technically unable to join the Nazi Party no matter how much he may have wanted to. But he certainly has family ties to the Nazis. His wife's grandfather, Joe Kennedy, was one of America's most prominent Nazi sympathisers.
Oh, wait. That's not the Nazi family ties the Dems had in mind? No, as Katie Couric put it on NBC's Today Show, "He's the son of a Nazi Party member. He said he was prejudiced, before overcoming those feelings by working with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles, and the dean of the centre said an investigation of Schwarzenegger's late father, conducted at the actor's request, found no evidence of war crimes."
Sorry, folks, you'll have to do better than that. The more you bring up the "son of a Nazi" line, the more you remind voters of what Arnold is: an immigrant who escaped and transcended his past. You can't saddle a man who chose to be American with the baggage he left behind in the old country.
2. Arnold is unqualified.
Yes, he's not a professional politician. And that's a disadvantage? The professional politicians are the ones who got California into this mess. This is a "throw the bum out" election, so the successful challenger will be the one who looks least like the bum. Gray Davis has been on the public payroll his entire adult life: he represents the full-time political class. Arnold represents the other California: entrepreneurial energy, wit and invention, the California that understands that if Hollywood and Silicon Valley were run by "qualified" people like Davis we'd still be watching flickering silents and you'd need union-approved quill-feathers to send e-mail.
Arnold made his first business investment at 19, using savings from his bodybuilding contests to buy a failed Munich gym. He turned it around. The first really big money he made in America in the early 1970s came when he and a fellow bodybuilder started a bricklaying business. He's one of a very few actors who was a millionaire before he ever acted. And, if you think it's no big deal being the world's highest-paid movie star, you try it - with a guttural German accent so thick you can barely do dialogue and a body frame so large you're too goofy for playing love scenes. From his gym to his mail-order company to his masonry business to his shopping malls, Schwarzenegger has shown a consistent knack for exploiting the fullest financial value from even his most modest successes. Who would you say best embodies the spirit of California? The guy who has made all his own money? Or the fellows who've squandered everybody else's?
Monday, August 11, 2003
Mark Steyn has another great column looking at the Gubernator.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 12:51 PM