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Revisionista Arnoldista

Aug
20
2004

The Arnold Assessments won’t stop. Must be a sign that Big Media – the East Coast version – is as bored with all the “hero/not-a-hero” arguments as I am.
Josh Benson at The New Republic has turned his attention to Arnold Schwarzenegger and he makes a few good points. Yup, Gov. Terminator has made it more expensive to go to college in California which is a lot more of a problem for folks trying to get the basics – into say, D’Anza, a community college in San Jose – than it is for out-of-state grad students. And yup, Gov. Terminator is vulnerable. And no, he’s not as much of a powerhouse in Sacramento as he is perceived to by from New York and Washington, D.C.


But Benson doesn’t seem to have read too many polls. Even at 65 percent approval ratings – that’s a low that anyone else in elected office would be happy to have – he’s doing well. Because – and this is half the battle in politics – people think he’s doing something. He’s an action hero, get it? He keeps going and going and going……declaring victory all the way.
And, yeah, a lot of it is PR. But anybody out there remember Ronald Reagan? Or how about that Internet term “first-mover advantage”? Schwarzenegger’s one of those oddly old-fashioned pols – or smart, aggressive businessmen, take your pick – who are all about the deal. Getting the deal is winning. And that, for Democrats, long used to consensus building on their terms and only their ideological terms is what’s so different – so hard to fight – with Schwarzenegger. Gov. Terminator could give a damn about conventional wisdom or accepted ways of doing things. And, that’s what public loves about him. And that’s why he’s a new kind of politician, the kind that appeals — very specifically — to men like him, that crowd I call Progressive Libertarians.
So keep an eye on Schwarzenegger’s plans to reform state government. He’s already getting support from some interesting quarters. Here in San Francisco, Supervisor Michela Alioto-Piers told business leaders that she wants to launch a “reinventing government” initiative similar to the one she helped run in Washington, D.C. when she worked for Vice President Al Gore. And former Governor, now state attorney general candidate, Jerry Brown pretty much endorsed the California Performance Review (they call it “CPR” and say it’s bringing the state back to life – cute, no?) when he was on KRON Sunday night. Brown went a step further, however, saying Schwarzenegger should convene a meeting to re-do the state’s constitution and oh, yeah, throw in some tax reform.

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