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A Quick Rewind on The Arnold Tapes

Sep
8
2006

In a front-page exclusive, the Los Angeles Times offers what may be the most damaging evidence in the case against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s re-election: the man behind the curtain is not the one we see on stage. That’s true with most actors—and I suspect, politicians—but I am not convinced that the Governator’s version of the Nixon Tapes won’t work to his advantage.
In the tapes, Schwarzenegger is heard ridiculing the Republican leadership in the State Assembly, saying that the Minority Leader is like a deer in the headlights and suggesting that the only Latina in the Republican caucus is “hot” because of stereotypical traits of people of Cuban or Puerto Rican dissent, we’re not sure.
Stereotypes hurt—and it’s even worse to hear them coming from elected officials. The tapes are sure to create a firestorm of internet venom from the left. But the right is fuming too.
Ultra-conservative blogger Steve Frank comes thisclose to accusing the Schwarzenegger camp of intentionally releasing this tape in an effort to distance himself from the often-wacky right-wing State Assembly Republicans. He asks, “Was the purpose to show his disdain for the Assembly Republicans (“the wild bunch”), to show he was a “real man” in his discussion of a female member of the Assembly?”
My first thought was that, if the release of the tapes was intentional, it was one of the first maladroit moves by the new Steve Schmidt-led team (no relation). But then, I considered the matter further.
Schwarzenegger does not have allies in the Assembly Republican Caucus. They’ll work with him when they agree with him, but when he needs their critical votes in order to strike a compromise on, say, the minimum wage or fighting global warming or passing a budget, they’re as reliable as allies as the French.
Schwarzenegger’s distance from the right-wing crazies of California politics is probably as well-known to Californians are as his disagreements with President Bush…as in not very for most Californians. The revelation of these tapes will educate or reinforce for the general public the perception that Schwarzenegger may have an (R) after his name, but that’s about as far as it goes—he’s a centrist at heart. That can only help him in November.
As far as the ethnic stereotyping is concerned, don’t forget that, although there are a lot of Latinos in California, there are very few Cubans or Puerto Ricans…
Now I don’t know about how relations are between various ethnic groups in Latino communities, but if it’s anything like Western Europeans—where Germans mock the Swiss, who ridicule the Belgians, who make fun of the French, who disdain the Poles, who hate the Hungarians whose word for “German” is derivative of the word “stupid”—then it’s possible that the few Mexican immigrants reading this morning’s Los Angeles Times are saying to themselves, “yeah, he’s got a point.”
The political-correctness brigade which is going into a tizzy over the tapes today, I’d suspect, were not going to vote for Schwarzenegger anyways…so in the end, what was supposed to be a gift to rival Phil Angelides from the Governors “great friends” on Spring Street, may end up as a win, a win, and a draw for the Governator.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 10:02 AM | Permalink

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