Monday, July 28, 2003

Ahnuld: I'm sorry California won't be favored by his candidacy. If there be a state ready-made for an apostate Republican to win, it's California. "Compassionate libertarian" is how John Fund described him in the WSJ on Friday, and I think that's the electoral future of the GOP. Arnold is pro-choice and pro-gay adoption, steering to the center on issues that have caused many a moderate to describe the GOP as a small tent. On the other hand, Fund describes Arnold as nearly worshipful of Milton Friedman, which goes a long way with the Club for Growth Republicans who hold out for a better business climate in Cali:
When Milton Friedman's PBS series "Free to Choose" was reissued in 1991, Mr. Schwarzengger jumped at the chance to introduce a show he said "changed my life." "I come from Austria, a socialistic country. There you can hear 18-year-olds talking about their pension. But me, I wanted more. I wanted to be the best," he told viewers. "Individualism like that is incompatible with socialism. I felt I had to come to America, where the government wasn't always breathing down your neck or standing on your shoes."
Fund also points out an unusual bonus for Arnold:
The Austria-born actor may have an ace up his sleeve. He is ineligible to be president. Since California governors have often been distracted by having one eye on the White House, he can claim he will have no higher priority than the Golden State's problems. Pledging that kind of "total focus" would not only serve Californians best, but could make his candidacy both less implausible and more appealing.
This is a quiet way of noting that Gray Davis has harbored White House aspirations; those aspirations would make it easy for an opponent who is technically unqualified for the presidency to point out that, for some reason (2008 -- hint, hint), Davis has avoided the tough decisions that might have kept California on track but might have been, in the short term, quite unpopular.

Of course, Mr. Olympia has some skeletons in the closet. He smokes a big old joint in Pumping Iron, after all. Rumors of extramarital affairs dog him. Still, though, if life after the religious right exists for the GOP, it will find its birth in California, and in the person of someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

More: Arnold denies, says still mulling.

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