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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2003

 

Yes, sir, Governor Schwarzenegger, sir

If there is anyone out there who doesn't think that Arnold Schwarzenegger is not going to be the next Governor of California, they are either liberal Democrats fooling themselves, or trying waaaay too hard to take a "serious look at politics." Both are wrong.

I live in Minnesota, currently, amongst the people who elected a former pro-wrestler Governor, over a popular St. Paul mayor (now a senator) and the incumbent (I believe). Ventura had a little name recognition--none, compared to Arnie--but a "new message," one that people listened to. Combine that with a bunch of people who thought it would be cool to have a wrestler governor, and you've got yourself a victory.

Arnold has more name recognition than Ventura ever will, plus a new message (that is to say, when was the last time a Republican spoke in California, and someone actually listened?), plus a waaay stronger 'cool factor' then Ventura, or anyone else involved in the whole California fiasco. And I will suggest again that being cool is among the top three assets that any politician can have.

But Schwarzy is also very smart. One has to barely skim this article on his campaign to see his brilliance.
Schwarzenegger's new strategy is to make himself the symbol of the recall election, and to change the dynamics of the race from Schwarzenegger versus 134 other replacement candidates to simply Schwarzenegger versus Davis.

Polling data show that voter intensity is strongest on the question of recalling Davis. The Schwarzenegger campaign plans to harness that intensity, Stutzman said.
Essentially, he's harnessed the most popular political issue in California--getting rid of Davis. Bustamante can't campaign on that, and all McClintock and Uberroth can do, with Schwarzenegger taking up so much of the limelight, is to run against Schwarzenegger, not Davis.
In an election where turnout is crucial and where social conservatives are unlikely to warm to the socially libertarian Schwarzenegger, the campaign believes it must keep conservatives in the "pro-recall" fold and recruit as many other "pro-recall" voters as possible.

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger will be taking their votes, as a great many social conservatives (of whom I proudly call myself a member) will realize, as the race gets down to the wire, that the choice really is Schwarzenegger or Bustamante (or worse, Davis!). Just as the Green ship was nearly entirely abandoned by Nov. 4, 2000, The SS non-Arnie Republican will be stripped of its lifeboats by October 7. Not entirely, but I don't think they will be a factor in the race--hopefully they will each bow out gracefully by the end of the month, but I'm not hopeful.

The article also outlines exactly where Schwarzenegger falls in the political spectrum--he's a Republican populist, along the lines of Teddy Roosevelt. Some solid conservative economic sense, plus a generally unfortunate tendency to support whatever to populus supports. But it will work in California, a state that is primed, even starved, for a populist candidate. And Arnold is setting himself up as the ultimate populist--don't vote for Arnold, "join Arnold."

I'm not generally a fan of populists, but I think California needs all the conservatism it can get. And this is one dose that I'm certain it's going to get.
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!
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