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So Tired

Aug
24
2004

Wired magazine has discovered politics.
Yes, Wired (which doesn’t have its own web address) the former home of writers who looked forward to the withering away of the state has discovered U.S. politics. You know the stuff that concerns your daily life. It’s so retro, it’s really cool. It’s only a matter of time before people with pierced lips and Treo600 phones start running for office. Oh, wait, I live in San Francisco….


Following The New Yorker, they’ve done a story on Arnold Schwarzegger and, following Fortune, put him on the cover in extreme close-up. Following Vanity Fair, Wired’s done a piece on Move.on’s Wes Boyd and Joan Blades. Following me they’ve done a piece on Craig Newmark. And following pretty much everybody else, they’ve done a story on the Deaniacs and how they’re still — gasp! — in politics. My God! The election’s not for another two months! Imagine.
The September issue: you won’t miss it, you’ve already read it.
The Arnold profile is pretty much what regular readers here already know: Schwarzenegger is a new kind of politician, one who speaks for a rising and increasingly important group of moderates. I call them – I call you – Progressive Libertarians. Stewart calls Arnold typical of the “Radical Center” although she fails to give New America Foundation CEO Ted Halstead and foundation fellow Michael Lind credit for that idea which is a lot more Liberal in scope and tone, I think, than Progressive Libertarian thinking.
But the fact that Wired has commissioned Stewart to write the piece tells you how hard they’re trying. Stewart is a Sacramento fixture, a woman who knows her way around the state capitol. She was one of the first to understand what Schwarzenegger’s candidacy meant and minced no words when she took the LA Times to task for its reporting of the Terminator’s groping women. She is also a good friend Secretary of Education Richard Riordan.
But she’s no Connie Bruck. So Wired gives Schwarzengger the once over lightly, skips the ties between him and moderate technophiles — the stuff you’d think would be in Wired, no? — and generally misses at chance at doing something different. They’re trying. But Bruck can’t be beat.
UPDATE: Speaking of Big Media and Arnold, Josh Benson from The New Republic writes into say 1)he’s not big media 2)he’s from California and pays in-state tuition cause he’s really from here and he has the paperwork to prove it and 3)I got him all wrong on Gov. Terminator.
Take it away, Josh:
I definitely agree with you that Arnold’s approval rating is stratospheric and he’s a new kind of politician. My point was to puncture the myth that that has translated into any radical POLICY achievements. And it hasn’t. 57 was house-keeping (that’s why everyone but paging-Ralph-Nader Angelides supported it.) 58 is a joke any governor can override with a pen. Worker’s comp reform was a BIT to the right of what Dems wanted, but if rates don’t fall we’re going to get rate-capping. And the budget left intact all major spending programs.
So what, pray-tell, has Arnold’s new kind of politics achieved for Republicans? Not much. (Don’t get me wrong. That’s fantastic. A far-left leg and center-right gov are turning out to make a rather impressive team for pushing centrist policies. For now, I won’t argue with that. But that’s not exactly revolutionary.)

Did I mention that Josh is enrolled at Boalt Hall, Cal Berkeley’s law school? Who said anything about Gov. Terminator and policy? Good lord. No, when it comes to Schwarzenegger, we’re gonna be talking politics for a bit longer; it’s just the nature of the superficial, get-it-going mentality at work here. But it’s gonna end. And soon. Repeat after me: “California Performance Review”

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