HNN Poll: What Does Arnold's Race for Governor Say About American Democracy?

Polls




If California's recall election were held today, Democrat Gray Davis would be swept out as governor and Republican political rookie Arnold Schwarzenegger would be swept in. -- USA Today (August 11, 2003)

He is not the first actor to run for office. Before Arnold there was Ronald Reagan; Sonny of Sonny and Cher fame; that guy from the"Love Boat"; and, in the 19th century, Phineas T."a sucker born every minute" Barnum of Barnum & Bailey.

And before Arnold, years ago, there was Pappy O'Daniel, the Depression-era candidate for governor of Texas who became famous as the singing host of a radio show. After winning two terms he went on to the United States Senate after defeating Lyndon Johnson in the 1941 Democratic primary.

But Arnold is the first Mr. Universe to run for governor and the first candidate for major office to be photographed with a bare-breasted woman on his shoulders (the picture is circulating on the Internet). And we can't recall another candidate who announced for high office on the Jay Leno show.

Polls give him the edge in the election.

Is this a positive development for American democracy?



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David Ben Ariel - 12/15/2004

"Europe's far right parties are considering forming a pan-European movement together."
http://www.euobserver.com/?sid=9&;aid=17961

Will Arnold Schwarzenegger, frustrated by failures to run for the highest office in the United States, return home to Europe and triumph in the elections as the "born leader" of the pan-European movement's party? Will the EU's strong man then vent his anger against the United States and wreak havoc on the world?

When I called Governor Schwarzenegger's office the first time to inquire "Has Governor Schwarzenegger ever considered running for president of the European Union or would he consider it?" The fellow said he was pretty sure he wouldn't. When I asked, "Is that a yes or a no," he said he hadn't heard him say anything about it. That's not what I asked.

He then put me through to Lee in the Press Office who graciously took note of my questions and said if she found out anything she'd give me a call. I called again to leave my email, rather than just my phone number. Still didn't hear anything by today so I just called and she said they had no comment.

When pressed as to does that means Mr. Schwarzenegger doesn't plan to run for European office, or doesn't want to discuss it, for whatever reasons, she simply said "We don't have any comment for your book." When I said what should I say when I write about Arnold's refusal to answer a simple question, she said say the "Press office declines to comment." WHY?

David Ben-Ariel
_________________
Check out Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall at http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?catalogid=7144


Simon Kornblith - 12/30/2003

Test reply


Frank A. Baldridge - 10/8/2003

The show is just beginning.

Pundits will read much into the election results. We might note that Porn King Flint can in fourth at the polls. Where those serious votes, or spurious votes cast by those voting no on the Recall? The two-part nature of the questions makes it difficult to tell.

And we might note that tens of thousand of votes were cast for candidates who had withdrawn. How many were on abscentee ballots?


Frank A. Baldridge - 8/24/2003

What does the millions of dollars Ahnold has made off tacky, tasteless, and improbable movies glorifying violence have to say about values in American society?


Frank A. Baldridge - 8/23/2003

The fact that Ahnold became a candidate shows that not all immigrants remain, or were ever, down-trodden. And we have strippers, porn stars, porn publishers, and all kinds of people also running for governor. Yeah for democracy.

The fact that Ahnold has become a top contender for governor without saying much beyond that he likes kids, families, and wants to clean-up Sacramento shows that many Californians have shirked their responsibilities as voters. But then his top competitor has a well-documented history of racism, Davis was re-elected after doing all the things cited as reason for the recall, and our political leaders are about to approve the issuing of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants - after license fees are doubled to pay for a 50 million dollar "security check" that will determine if they have done anything illegal (like being here).

Good luck in trying to make sense out of politics in California.


Frank A. Baldridge - 8/23/2003

What does Ahnold's candidacy say about American Democracy? Fortunately, Ahnold will not be able to run for president, so he is Callyfornias problem.

The fact that Ahnold has serged ahead in the polls without revealing any specific plans for "cleaning up Sacramento" has much to say regarding the responsibilities assummed by the average Callyfornia voter.

That would be the same voter who in recent elections has voted for the issuing of bonds totalling billions of dollars (like the fiscally conservation Ahnold's after school problem for kids) or other mandates based on "warm-fuzzy" twenty second sound bites.

That would be the same voter who managed to remain unaware of Davis' history of lying, appeassing special interests, and wall-papering over the budget crises to get through the 2002 election.

That would be the same voters (actually Ahnold's neighbors) who elected an assemblyman who during a budget crisis introduces legislation to outlaw the de-clawing of cats, and other equally helpful legislation.

And that would be the same voter who stayed home, did not vote, and thereby aided the recall effort by making it easier to qualify.

In what other state would there be a leading candidate (Bustamonte) whose slogan, in essence, is vote for the other guy, but vote for me too.

Hopefully, the areas in which most of Callyfornias voters live will soon fall into the sea.


Frank A. Baldridge - 8/23/2003

What does Ahnold's candidacy say about American Democracy? Fortunately, Ahnold will not be able to run for president, so he is Callyfornias problem.

The fact that Ahnold has serged ahead in the polls without revealing any specific plans for "cleaning up Sacramento" has much to say regarding the responsibilities assummed by the average Callyfornia voter.

That would be the same voter who in recent elections has voted for the issuing of bonds totalling billions of dollars (like the fiscally conservation Ahnold's after school problem for kids) or other mandates based on "warm-fuzzy" twenty second sound bites.

That would be the same voter who managed to remain unaware of Davis' history of lying, appeassing special interests, and wall-papering over the budget crises to get through the 2002 election.

That would be the same voters (actually Ahnold's neighbors) who elected an assemblyman who during a budget crisis introduces legislation to outlaw the de-clawing of cats, and other equally helpful legislation.

And that would be the same voter who stayed home, did not vote, and thereby aided the recall effort by making it easier to qualify.

In what other state would there be a leading candidate (Bustamonte) whose slogan, in essence, is vote for the other guy, but vote for me too.

Hopefully, the areas in which most of Callyfornias voters live will soon fall into the sea.


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/22/2003

Read something interesting on townhall.com just the other day. Schwartzenegger is the third member of the six-man rescue team from that film to run for governor of a state. Jesse Ventura was the first, of course, and Sonny Landham (Billy), ran in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Kentucky in either '00 or '02.

Is Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, or that skinny guy with the glasses who played "Hawkins" planning a run at a state office at any point? Hmm...


Jonathan Dresner - 8/20/2003

Mr. Greenland,

Rather than limit qualifications to political or business experience, I would consider someone with, say, a degree in law, or political science, or history (of course), or public policy, or city administration, or urban planning, or a few other fields, to be important considerations in evaluating a candidate's readiness for office. It demonstrates some ability to master and grapple with substantive and relevant issues.


Josh Greenland - 8/20/2003

I don't know exactly what you mean by "my undocumented theory," but my understanding from living in California all my life is that legislators who put recall into law intended that voters could recall a politician just because they felt like it. Certainly our laws are written that way, with no requirement that there be any finding at any time of criminal wrongdoing by the politician under recall. As time permits I'm making further inquiries and if I dig up anything more substantial on this matter before the Schwartzenegger forum expires, I'll post it here.

I'm told that Washington state requires a finding of cause by a judge after recall petitions are collected and verified.

Assuming things about one state's recall laws from another's is obviously not wise.

"If the recall is intended to be used at any time for any reason, why bother having regular periodic elections ?"

Given the difficult of gathering enough signatures for a recall,
periodic election is the preferred method for choosing elected officials. I don't know the legislators' original intent, but I even back when recall was passed, a lot could happen in the 2 years of an assemblyman's term, let alone the 4 years of a governor's.


Josh Greenland - 8/20/2003

The following article points to a possible involvement of Arnold Schwartzenegger with Enron. It was California's energy crisis that pushed its state government into its present bad financial situation. In addition to the Schwartzenegger meeting with Ken Lay, this article details what many Californians already know, that the Bush administration sided with Enron whenever possible, making California's financial situation even worse. Many left of center people and Democrats here are angry at what they see as a Republican-caused situation being blamed on Democratic Governor Davis:

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0817-07.htm


Josh Greenland - 8/19/2003

I agree with you about competency, but how do credentials come into candidate qualification?


Ulysses Simpson - 8/18/2003


The Rambo desecration is gone !
Now honest Abe can rest in peace.


Jonathan Dresner - 8/18/2003

Josh Greenland opines: "It would be undemocratic to limit elected office to a level of education higher than most Americans will ever attain."

Without agreeing or disagreeing with this point, I would like to point out that neither Mr. Taylor nor anyone else that I've read in this discussion suggested a specific educational threshold for political leadership, merely that candidates should hold relevant and substantial experience and/or training.

Anyone can run, but there's nothing undemocratic about questioning credentials and competencies.


Ed Carlucci - 8/18/2003


In response to Josh Greenland:

I'm not as up to speed on the historical origins of the recall as I would be if this website were more educational and less polemical, but your non-documented theory does not sound logical.

If the recall is intended to be used at any time for any reason, why bother having regular periodic elections ?


Albert Madison - 8/18/2003


Jesse, your utopian isolationist vision for American foreign policy is more intriguing than "naive", but there are a few practical problems with it.

Osama has more grievances than those you mentioned. He also thinks that Mideast Oil should only be sold for several times its current price. In California, meanwhile, Gray Davis is falling all over himself in his haste to cut the motor vehicle registration fee, which will of course deepen the state's fiscal deficit.

For your vision to be realized, Californians would have to turn their state into something much more like the Amish counties of Pennsylvania. The chances of that happening any time soon makes Larry Flynt's bid for governor look reasonably probable in comparison.


Josh Greenland - 8/18/2003

"How is the scenario above any different with regards to the administration of either local, state, or federal government affairs?"

It would be undemocratic to limit elected office to a level of education higher than most Americans will ever attain. That is ELITISM, my friend, and has no place in our electoral code.


Josh Greenland - 8/18/2003

I was trying to communicate "recall [does not equal] impeachment" in the title of my previous post, and used greater and less than signs for [does not equal]. The board's software just didn't bother to show the two signs, without giving me any error message.

Let's see if it works IN a message:

recall impeachment


Josh Greenland - 8/18/2003

"The recall IS a travesty because it was engineered as an opportunistic attempt to rerun the 2002 gubernatorial election, NOT as a special emergency step to remove a governor who has been committing egregious offenses SINCE the election."

The notion that recall is ONLY intended to remove public officials who commit "egregious offenses" is a popular fallacy, though it's cynically used by partisans against particular recalls. Recall is NOT impeachment. Voters can put recall on the ballot and vote for it for any reason at all.

For a good example of general voter antipathy and cynical misuse of the "egregious offenses" fallacy, check out the recall election against Dianne Feinstein when she was mayor of San Francisco.


Josh Greenland - 8/18/2003

"As I understand it, it is not 10% of potential voters, or 10% of registered voters, but the threshold is 10% of the voters who voted in the previous election. That's why it succeeded at this time: the weakly contested midterm election brought out very few."

Ah. That makes it more likely that recall will be made more difficult after the election. (That also is the pattern here in California: if someone can persuasively claim abuse of process, popular access mechanisms like recall, initiative or even putting ballot arguments into the voters pamphlet are then made more difficult.)

"And what exactly is the difference between a plan, strategy, tactic, plot, and conspiracy?"

I'm not sure who you're asking, since I didn't use these words. The author of the article I cited did. I think conspiracies differ from the others in that they make grown men cry.


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/18/2003

Bringing up Dennis Kucinich is interesting in light of the debate over Ah-nold's candidacy, and the issue of experienced politicians-versus-entertainers. Speaking for myself, I might take Ah-nold in any office, right down to postmaster, over the former Boy Mayor, who never done anything but electioneer his entire adult life. I've never seen what Ah-hold can do in elective office, but at least he's never driven an entire city into Chapter 11 proceedings.


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/18/2003

I accept your disagreements with me, but you've got me all wrong on the United Nations. We should drop out of that organization and evict it from their headquarters. Let them go set up shop in Beijing or Harare- wherever. I'm sure the citizens of New York can find some productive use for that nice big chunk of Manhattan real estate presently occupied by the U.N..I've got no love for international organizations, or internationalism, period. As for threats from fanatics, well, call me naive, but I believe that the threat will greatly diminish once we pull up stakes and leave the places that breed the fanatics. Osama bin Laden was very specific in his grievances against the United States, the grievances that resulted in 9/11. To wit: our military presence in Saudi Arabia, our undeclared war against Iraq, and our billions in aid and weaponry to the state of Israel. We've already addressed the first grievance. I, for one, would have no problem in addressing the second and third. If we evacuate the troops from the Middle East, force the Israelis to the bargaining table on pain of losing every penny of the cool three billion they suck from us yearly, and radically tighten immigration, particularly from Middle Eastern countries, I think we'd all wind up a lot safer. Our current enemies may be heartened by this apparent show of weakness. Well, let them be heartened. Here we are, sitting on the most defensible piece of land in the world. Let them come! Besides, I'm not convinced they would. I don't think the Islamists want us conquered so much as they want us to leave their homelands. Once we're out, that may satisfy them. After all, after we left Vietnam, it's not like General Giap and the Hanoi government had it in mind to "take the war to America". Again, this stance of mine may seem naive, but no less so than the notion that we can somehow take our economic and political system, a system with roots a thousand years deep in Western Civilization, and plant it in the sands of a place utterly alien to our society and heritage.

Constant wars abroad lead directly to the slow destruction of our liberties at home. I may be guilty of some hyperbole, but this is a fact. Woodrow Wilson, the first President to involve us fully in the "entangling alliances" Washington warned of, took office in 1913. Are the American people more free today than they were in 1913? Or less? And disagree with me if you will, but please do not lump me in with the left-wingers who post here. They love tyranny, at least when it's tyranny in the same of the so-called "oppressed" or the "world community".



John Kipper - 8/18/2003

THis arguement would make more sense if the Dems didn't have a stranglehold on both house of the CA legislature. You remember, the same legislature that couldn't produce a budget.


John Kipper - 8/18/2003

Yup, the BBC looks real good right now.


NYGuy - 8/17/2003

Jonathan,

You say:

“The largest number of migrants, historically, have been economic migrants: labor moving (sometimes being moved) from places of oversupply to places of demand.”

NYGuy

Sounds good but not true. Have you heard of the Statue of Liberty and Emma Lazarus’s poem. The Colossus, on the pedestal which says”

'Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!' cries she
With silent lips. 'Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'

Aside from the Italians who did go to other lands and then migrated back to Italy, although in the early 1900’s they did tend to stay in the U. S., most other groups who came here stayed for both opportunity and freedom. The German’s who added much to our social improvement came for the democratic society that treated people as equals, the English came for religious freedoms, the Russian and East European Jews and others came to escape persecution, as did the Irish and Scotch. So your simplistic answer of coming for a job does not hold up. But, then again, some cannot give any credit to this country for what it offers. Even today, Cubans, Mexicans, Asians and others risk life and limb to get to the land of the free and an opportunity for freedom and a better way of life. Good try, but your comment is not supported by the facts.

As for your comment that perhaps you are low on your estimated of only 10% of the world governments are democratic, even with some leeway, it still leaves 85-90% of the world governments do not have societies where the peoples have a voice in their future. Do you think that these societies are superior to what you enjoy in the good old U. S. A.?

If you don’t understand the point of this analysis than it is only because you don’t want to understand and I can’t do anything about that.

Perhaps you have a country, or organization, beside the U. S., that in today’s world can lead us to peace and prosperity. Inquiring minds want to know.


Dave Livingston - 8/17/2003

IMHO Mark Safranski is correct. He sees the forest, many other folks see only the trees directly in front of their noses. That is why some folks failed to understand what the Viet-Nam War was about. It was an act in the play called the Cold War, which we won when in part due to our policy of containment the Soviet Union imploded. Of course, it helped that the Vatican was, albeit informally, allied with us, especially from 1978 onwards.

By the same token, many folks misunderstand what the campaign in Iraq is about. It is but an episode in the war against al-qaeda, rather than a stand-alone war. It serves to insert U.S. military power into the Middle East, telling governments there that they either rein in al-qadea operations in their countries or else we'll do it for them.

Despite the whimpering complaints by chairbound warriors if nothing else the campaigns in Afghanistan & Iraq have pointed out to the Islamic world that what al-qaeda accomplished with the attacks of 9/11 was the losses of Kaboul & Baghdad to the West.


Denny Wilson - 8/17/2003


The recall IS a travesty because it was engineered as an opportunistic attempt to rerun the 2002 gubernatorial election, NOT as a special emergency step to remove a governor who has been committing egregious offenses SINCE the election. (Davis was just as poor a governor during his first term, 1998-2002). The recall, furthermore, was planned, organized and funded by special interests with little "grass-roots" involvement.

HOWEVER, many California voters, including many non-Republicans, are fed up with Davis's deviousness and wish-washy non-policies.
So, while the recall procedure is being abused here, it is still fulfilling the function of providing a democratic outlet for a disgruntled and poorly-served electorate.


As for the sweeping generalization that all democracies always defeat all plots against them, I would invite readers here to consider how Lenin deposed Kerensky, what Hitler et al did to Weimar, and how Mssrs Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft have been eagerly exploiting the 9-11 disaster which they so utterly failed to prevent.




Woody - 8/17/2003


Joe,

Off the top of my head, I can't add any reasons to those you already suggest for the trans-atlantic news and commentary "gap". Simplistically, however, I might just note that "supply and demand" are at work here. The more people on the western "side of the pond" who subscribe as you do, and the more constructive criticism given to hotels that only offer guests "USA Today", the better the chances for narrowing that gap.

Cheers, Woody


Jonathan Dresner - 8/17/2003

As my father said, "any number is a good first approximation to any other number." I think the total number of democracies is well over 10%; that's just all I had time to think of.

The largest number of migrants, historically, have been economic migrants: labor moving (sometimes being moved) from places of oversupply to places of demand.

And I'm still not sure what point you think you've proven (or I've proven for you).


Non-NY Non-Xenophobe - 8/17/2003


Forget Gray Davis, Arnold Terminator and Warren Buffet. I just found a sure-fire way to solve California's budget problems.

We lend New York a billion dollars. No interest, no fees. The only condition is that "NY Guy" handles the repayment and is off by a decimal point when he pays us back.

Interesting point he makes about where people choose to move. Might have something to do with why New York has been losing population for decades.

P.S.to NY Guy: Just make sure you move that point to the right, not to the sinister non-patriotic left.


JoeK - 8/17/2003

Hi Woody:

Thanks! I didn't have those sites and I appreciate you taking the time to list them.

ALso, as a note, I subscribe to three news publications: The Economist, Atlantic, and the Washington Post (weekly...I get it via mail). Those take up lots of reading time...I guess I'm slow.

I wondered whether you might have an opinion on why the Brits do news better than we do (I mean aside from the obvious entertainment factor). I can conjecture that it might be a better political model (prime ministers questione et al), greater sense of community and responsibility in an island nation, more obvious political persuasion (i.e. our papers pretend to be neutral, fair, and balanced).


Thanks/Joe


NYGuy - 8/17/2003

Jonathan,

Thanks I think you made my point. It is just that I was off by a decimal point. Can you help us and tell us which are the oldest?

What about the other 90% what type of government do they have? Are they the type that will advance the peace of the world and provide the vast majority of people in the world with:

"By most definitions of democracy that I'm aware of (elections, wide suffrage, "consent of the governed")...."

When people chose they still want to come to the U. S. Then why do we want to give up the liberties of this country, that Jesse talks of, to others who don't even know the meaning of the word?

I fully understand that you do not respond to those whose name you don't know. So don't worry about it, you have already proved my point.


Jonathan Dresner - 8/17/2003

Normally I ignore people who don't even know their own names, but I'm intrigued by NYGuy's implication that Great Britain was a democracy before the USA. Great Britain was a monarchy then (as now), with sovereignty squarely in the hands of the monarch, not the people. Suffrage was extremely limited and the powers of Parliament would not dominate UK politics until the 19th century.

By most definitions of democracy that I'm aware of (elections, wide suffrage, "consent of the governed") the list of democracies is much longer than what's-his-name is aware, including, among others:

Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Taiwan, the Philipines, Australia, Canada, Mexico, most of South and Central America, Spain, Portugal, Czech and Slovak Republics, Israel, South Africa, India (the world's largest democracy), Poland.

Adding the anonymous list offered before, this makes over 10% of the UN member nations. And that's just off the top of my head.

So, what point exactly are you making, whatever your name is?


NYGuy - 8/17/2003

Mica,

1. The U.S. is the second oldest democrary in the U. N., after Great Britain. France, Germany and Italy came later.

2. A Government where the power is invested in the people. How many such countries can you identify in the U. N.

3. Seems you wandered onto the wrong thread. Go back to square one:
What does Bush's presidency say about American Democracy?
Posted By: Laurie Manis
Date Posted: August 13, 2003, 12:39 PM
The man lied and thousands died.

Where's the outrage?

Got oil?

Then read Markell's brillant responses.


Josh Greenland - 8/17/2003

A recent Field poll shows Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante edging out Arnold Schwartzenegger in California's upcoming recall election:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A712-2003Aug15?language=printer


Jonathan Dresner - 8/17/2003

Josh Greenland writes: "but if it is correct that 10% of voters have to sign petitions to get a recall on the ballot, that's a substantial portion of potential voters, and a large minority of actual voters, with so many elections bringing out less that half of registered voters."

As I understand it, it is not 10% of potential voters, or 10% of registered voters, but the threshold is 10% of the voters who voted in the previous election. That's why it succeeded at this time: the weakly contested midterm election brought out very few.

And what exactly is the difference between a plan, strategy, tactic, plot, and conspiracy?


Josh Greenland - 8/17/2003

"You and I may disagree totally on most matters, but I hope the implication here is that the conspiracy-mongoring of recent years is absurd and nutty, and way too prevalent in HNN discussions."

No, it isn't. Actually, I think there is too much sneering at and dismissing of some very real conspiracies, here on HNN and elsewhere. But we do have some points of agreements (read on).

"In a way it's reached the apotheosis of inanity with the contentions on this thread of an insidious "plot" to use a mechanism of popular control instituted by progressives a century ago."

There very often are such plots to use our initiative process, and I think the article I URLed establishes a plot to use this recall. But so what? That's only part of the story here. Democratic Party propagandists err in trying to make Republican plotting the mainspring behind the recall. Of course Republicans will be involved in it more than Democrats since our embattled governor is a Democrat, but the recall has grass roots, bipartisan support among voters.

"When did liberals become such defenders of the Boss Tweed status quo!?!"

Not all liberals do. But most of the anti-recall commentary seems partisan to me. I'm not saying that the recall is best for California, and maybe those 10+% of registered voters shouldn't have signed those recall petitions. But they did, and the process is working the way it should.

"It's especially silly with respect to California, where insiders with money abound at all points along the political spectrum. I, for example, would be glad to see Barbara Streisand and Susan Saranda dump some of their millions into some recall effort against Arnold, should he become governor. I promise if it happens NEVER to accuse anyone of a plot to subvert democracy."

You and I agree on electoral democracy.

"I have every confidence democracy would subvert the plot."

That already seems to be happening. California Democratic Party insiders and the electorate know how fast things will happen since there isn't much time until the recall election. Things have changing week by week here. The Democrats only a week or two ago woke up to the fact that they can't "hang tough" with Gov. Davis and not run in the recall election against him, because it's known that a lot of Democrats will be voting for recall. So they've had to get it together in a very short time and put forward candidates. Already a poll is showing their best candidate, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, edging out Arnold Schwartzenegger. Poll numbers can change greatly here between when a person or initiative is first widely publicized and election day. My guess is that poll number changes will happen more quickly due to the recall's abbreviated timetable.


Mica Shurel - 8/17/2003


1. Which countries constitute the 1% of UN members which are democracies ?

2. Are you using a standard English definition of the word "democracy", or, possibly, your own definition inspired by the "Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's "1984" ?

3. How do your wide-ranging observations pertain to the question of Arnold Schwarzenegger running for governor ?


Tom Gallatin - 8/17/2003



"Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans backed Bill Clinton when he prepared to take the nation to war, for exactly the same reasons as W did this year."

Elia now indicates that, by this earlier remark of his, he thinks or pretends to think that Clinton was hell-bent on invading Iraq in late 1998 and let UN and the rest of the world be dammed if it even suggested the slightest delay.

Historians, unlike propagandists, will recall that Clinton in fact took "the nation to war" against Yugoslavia in 1999, to protect Kosovo from genocide, and amidst a chorus of criticism in America, including repeated vociferous denunciations by Congressional Republicans THROUGHOUT that conflict (e.g. while American soldiers were in active combat).

Partisan apologists for Bush and Cheney seem ready to seize any available sloppy distortion in order to claim a precedent for the unprecedented, and unnecessary, squandering of America's international reputation (in the recent war which has proved Hans Blick right).


NYGuy - 8/17/2003

Elia,

You are fighting the good fight with reason and sound judgment. In the process you are exposing a lot of shallow analysis put forward by propagandists.

It is good to see more and more posters speak up against the myopic vision of many on this board..

Mr. Lamovsky’s comment probably sums up the shallow thinking put forward by many on this board:

“So call me selfish: while I wish the Iraqi people good luck, and while I hope they can one day achieve their kind of liberty, my primary concern is OUR liberty. And as a threat to our liberty, a two-bit despot like Saddam pales in comparison to the militarist Leviathon government in Washington D.C.”

Seems many don’t think anything serious has happened with 9/11, and don’t even see how they encourage the terrorist to continue to resist. But then again it is easy to “jest at scars who never felt a wound”. The U. S has not only been attacked, but terrorism is spreading throughout the world. Sitting in comfort, and blaming the U. S. for not living up to “our ideas” at a time when our country, and the world is facing increasing dangerous fanatics, is just naive. Even more so since they have no solutions except to surrender “our liberties” to a group like the U. N. of which perhaps 99% of its members are not democracies and don’t even know what Mr. Lamovsky’s “liberties” mean.

Keep up the good work Elia. The new younger generation know about 9/11, the danger of nuclear proliferation, the threat from fanatics, etc. and they understand, as you do, that we need both leadership and action to keep this a safe world for further generations so they can continue to enjoy the liberties that represent America and makes our country a magnet for people seeking freedom and justice. .


Elia Markell - 8/17/2003

"The sniping at Clinton across the Republicans ranks in Congress in early 1999 was incessant."

The Clinton Iraq moment came in 1998, Tom, and Republicans backed the use of force. Yes, as you point out, a good share of Democrats did the same in 2002 for Bush. But unlike the Republicans, nearly all of the Democrats who have said anything have (since they tested the air among likely primary voters, that is)tried to take it all back. They now are doing their best to discredit the effort in Iraq at PRECISELY the point where U.S. backing for that effort (whatever your original position) can have the maximum positive outcome for the Iraqi people. Or do you seriously think that if the shamless body-bags strategy of Bush's opponents now did force the U.S. to cut and run too early, the Iraqis would be better off? Impossible.

As for this paragraph of yours, I will leave it to others to decide where within it lies the propaganda and where the truth.

"The Iraq war was a hypocritical travesty of American traditions foisted on us by one of the most cynical and inept administrations ever. Real historians will record this while consigning pitiful propaganda such as that coming from Elia to the rubbish heap."





Elia Markell - 8/17/2003

Okay, Albert, I will take your points seriously.

"The liberation of Iraq is the job of the Iraqi people- not ours."

I do not think it is our job to liberate every people everywhere. However, in this case, I think we had special obligations and a national interest in it. I also think it is very facile that phrases of yours "the job of the Iraqi people." I think what has been missing from the Iraq debate is any sense at all of what a totalitarian regime like Saddam's means for its people as compared even with the run of the mill tyrannies the rest of the Middle East labors under. It may not be our job to liberate a given people. But when it comes to a regime like Saddams, that effectively means it is NO ONE'S job. Period.

"I believe in what the Founding Fathers believed; that we would do a lot more good as an example of liberty than as a crusader state "looking for dragons to slay" as John Quincy Adams put it."

I agree with this. It's just that I see no evidence Bush has strayed from this wisdom. I he were looking for dragons to slay, we would be invading at least ten other nations right now (not including North Korea and Iran, by the way) and that's just in the first string.

"The best guarantee of liberty is peace."

The best guaranteee of liberty (and peace) is strength, something the Founders also understood, which is one very big reason they did their founding. Unless, of course, you have two oceans that really matter and no enemies of consequence in the neighborhood. We no longer have oceans that matter in the sense we did in 1787.

"Perpetual war, with its states-of-emergencies, its obsession with security, its militarization of the media, the politicians, and the populace, its Manichean "good" and "evil" outlook, is a straight path to dictatorship at home."

This, I believe, is an example of the hype that is all too common on this site (see my remarks to Jesse). If you can stomach it, read Robert Bork's piece in the latest Commentary on the issue of civil liberties and the war on terror. First off, phrases like "states-of-emergency" indicate to me that you have no idea what happens in an actual state of emergency. It's simply not applicable to a nation gearing up for an election with nine opposition candidates railing away against the president and organizations ranging from the League of Women Voters to the Green Party to the Workers World Party furiously fundraising, marching, and mushrooming web sites by the hour. Come back to earth. As regards the "militarized media," my God, Albert, do you read the NYTs, Washington Post and LA Times editorial pages? Military intervention in Liberia, so far for the most part correctly resisted by the Bush administration, may have made it onto their pages somewhere. And what about HERE. HNN is not militarized yet, I hope you see. As for clear distinctions between good and evil, all I can say is that the two worst dicatorships of the past century were imposed by men for whom conventional moral distinctions between good and evil were seen as (take your pick) prissy strength-sapping deceptions by Jewish parasites or bourgeois obfuscations by capitalist oppressors (though Stalin did get around to the Jewish parasites also at the end).


Elia Markell - 8/17/2003

Good point on this, Josh:

"Some Democrats have tried to claim the recall is a Republican plot from start to finish. But if that were true, Democratic voters could be trusted to hold the line and vote against it to keep Democratic governor Gray Davis in office."

You and I may disagree totally on most matters, but I hope the implication here is that the conspiracy-mongoring of recent years is absurd and nutty, and way too prevalent in HNN discussions. In a way it's reached the apotheosis of inanity with the contentions on this thread of an insidious "plot" to use a mechanism of popular control instituted by progressives a century ago. When did liberals become such defenders of the Boss Tweed status quo!?! It's especially silly with respect to California, where insiders with money abound at all points along the political spectrum. I, for example, would be glad to see Barbara Streisand and Susan Saranda dump some of their millions into some recall effort against Arnold, should he become governor. I promise if it happens NEVER to accuse anyone of a plot to subvert democracy. I have every confidence democracy would subvert the plot.


Josh Greenland - 8/16/2003

Here's an article about Republican operatives and financiers behind the recall campaign and Schwartzenegger's candidacy. I'm sure it's right about the individuals it discusses, but its generalizations about the recall are often wrong. The author claims there was "little interest" before Feb `03 in a recall until Republican moneybags funded it, but I've seen consistent interest in a recall for a couple of years on a California gun rights email list I'm on. The article author's mention of paid signature gathering may imply that the campaign has no grass roots to it: not so, many and possibly most of the petition gatherers were politically, not monetarily motivated. In fact, this article is the first I've seen claiming that paid petition gatherers were used.

Democratic party apparatchiks and democracy-haters are trying to claim that this recall is some kind of "abuse" of the electoral process, but if it is correct that 10% of voters have to sign petitions to get a recall on the ballot, that's a substantial portion of potential voters, and a large minority of actual voters, with so many elections bringing out less that half of registered voters.

Some Democrats have tried to claim the recall is a Republican plot from start to finish. But if that were true, Democratic voters could be trusted to hold the line and vote against it to keep Democratic governor Gray Davis in office. However, large numbers in both parties want him out of office.

So there won't be any mistake about my motives in writing this, my politics are to the left of the Democratic party. I never have and probably never will vote Republican, and I often vote Democratic to keep the Republicans out, but I'd much rather be able to vote for a viable left socialist party. I subscribed to the American Prospect some time ago for one year, and didn't bother to renew when I realized that it hewed unerringly to Establishment liberal Democratic Party line. Having said that, I found this article worthwhile:

http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/08/blumenthal-m-08-13.html
California Confidential
Who are the mystery men behind the recall push?

By Max Blumenthal
Web Exclusive: 8.13.03
Print Friendly | Email Article

"It's a victory. A total victory!" Howard Kaloogian exclaimed on the right-wing Worldmag.com after hearing that the petition to recall the election of California's embattled Gov. Gray Davis had gained enough signatures to qualify as a ballot question. Kaloogian, a former Republican California legislator, had plenty of reason to cheer. Because while the media have presented Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the wealthy car-alarm magnate, as the man who drove the recall, he's actually been little more than a useful idiot for a stealthy group of GOP operatives who laid the groundwork. Months before the recall was even a blip on the media radar, this consultant cabal began manipulating California's idiosyncratic electoral system, creating a muscular funding mechanism and exploiting it for its members' own ends.

The cabal includes Kaloogian, who was a right-wing backbencher in the state Assembly, Sal Russo, who handled banker Bill Simon's hapless 2002 gubernatorial campaign, and David Gilliard, a veteran GOP strategist with a career steeped in scandal. They're joined by former Enron pollster and Republican tactician Frank Luntz, who devised a strategy for the recall campaign centering around negative character attacks and avoidance of policy discussion. With the surprise announcement of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger -- who boasted on The Tonight Show Aug. 6, "I have plenty of money. Nobody can buy me off." -- the movie star's high-priced uber-consultants George Gorton and Don Sipple have grabbed the baton in the recall race, eager to take it the last mile to the state capitol. Thanks to this handful of men and the millionaires who bankrolled them, what started with a petition and a few phone calls has become an election that may unseat a twice-elected governor and dramatically affect the lives of one in seven Americans.

[for the rest of the article, click on the URL:]
http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/08/blumenthal-m-08-13.html


George OIlwell - 8/16/2003

Elia:

Yes, that fine upstanding family man Arnold, is going to be the last person for a long time to be able to exploit this latest GOP attack on democracy.

How many days do you think it will be before the California Legislature changes the law, after Mr. Schwarzenegger is sworn in?
I predict it will only be a few days, because the Republicans are scared the Democrats might pull a turn-about play agains Arnold.


George Oilwell - 8/16/2003

Mark:

Interesting comment about supercomputers (more evidence they really were a paper tiger).

What about the comments Mr. Kriz made? You didn't respond to them.


George Oilwell - 8/16/2003

"when you consider the alternative result. Neither Stalin's USSR nor North Korea ( then or now) or North Vietnam or Cuba had much to recommend them either materially or in terms of human rights."

Who taught you to believe we had to choose from any of the above?


George Oilwell - 8/16/2003

"I am sure there are some people with the challenges you mentioned who would do a much better job than Gray out Davis or Ah-nold."

Are you running?


Woody Wilson - 8/16/2003



Joe,

For less warped and better informed history than HNN’s typical fare, you could try:

http://www.h-net.org/~hns/index.html
http://www.bu.edu/historic/index.html
http://historymatters.gmu.edu/


For general current events coverage, I recommend the news and editorial sections of newspapers and magazines, which are far superior to American TV and radio (even NPR, though I find it occasionally has good insights). Here are few on-line options:


http://www.nytimes.com

(you have to register, but it’s free)

http://www.csmonitor.com/
http://www.theatlantic.com/
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/default.stm
http://www.economist.com/


I’m voting against the recall (for the reasons outlined in prior comments by my buddy Denny). On the second part of the ballot, I’m leaning towards Arianna Huffington. Her consistency and effectiveness are questionable, but I give her very high marks for logic and creativity, while her lack of experience is certainly no worse than Arnold’s. Bustamante strikes me as less corrupt version of Gray Davis (e.g. not worth the switch). As for the other major Republican candidates, they have IQs in the double digits, but only barely. Though his obnoxious personality was a major liability, Gingrich at least had brains (and knew something about American history), unlike most leading Republican politicians these days.

That should give you plenty of spreadsheet material.

Best, Woody

P.S. 187, not 197, was the anti-immigrant initiative which passed in ‘94 in CALIF but was later shot down in the courts.


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/16/2003

Fair enough, Mr. Markell- I retract the cheap shot. You're right; I don't know you, and I was out of line. But I stand by everything else I've said. The liberation of Iraq is the job of the Iraqi people- not ours. And I reject my characterizations of the liberation of the Iraqi people as "smarmy". I'm well aware that Saddam was a ruthless tyrant. But I believe in what the Founding Fathers believed; that we would do a lot more good as an example of liberty than as a crusader state "looking for dragons to slay" as John Quincy Adams put it. The best guarantee of liberty is peace. Perpetual war, with its states-of-emergencies, its obsession with security, its militarization of the media, the politicians, and the populace, its Manichean "good" and "evil" outlook, is a straight path to dictatorship at home. So call me selfish: while I wish the Iraqi people good luck, and while I hope they can one day achieve their kind of liberty, my primary concern is OUR liberty. And as a threat to our liberty, a two-bit despot like Saddam pales in comparison to the militarist Leviathon government in Washington D.C.


JoeH - 8/16/2003

I agree; I've heard Arnold referred to recently as a "liberal Republican." And I've heard references to "conservative Democrats." Language is failing us. (Or maybe our news community is not creative enough to help with this? You'd think that with their penchant for entertainment they'd be a tad more creative.)

The problem with expecting proposals and their authors to be "logical, consistent, creative, and effective" in any degree is that the system in which they operate has devolved into an entertainment-centric vortext whose output is either the sound bite (to tell you what they think you want to hear) or mush (to keep you from pinning them to a position). What I'd like is a press community that helps with politically neutral reporting that goes to more depth than I seem to currently see. If I had facts and relatively truthful reporting, I could create my own spreadsheet. (When W was running, how much did you hear about his service record, his ties to the energy industry, his record as a business person. I could lay this at Al Gore's feet, but I tend to blame the press, whose function these days seems to be mostly amplifier rather than inquirer.)

You are not happy with this website; do you have better ones I could take a look at?

As to Arnold, he hasn't said anything yet. But since he won't talk, we are left to translate his appointments into some sensible context...but even that is confusing: Rob Lowe (Democrat actor), George Schultz (Republican statesman), Warren Buffett (Democrat financier), and most confusing of all, the governor who gave you 197 and began the downturn of the Repiblica party in CA. I'd be casting a questioning eye in Arnold's direction I were Latino.

In any event, I think I might start to create a spreadsheet of issues and candidates and see if I can't create some sort of helpful framework, if only for myself!

Cheers/Joe


Tom Gallatin - 8/15/2003



"Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans backed Bill Clinton when he prepared to take the nation to war, for exactly the same reasons as W did this year."


No fair-minded historian could possibly support this 180 degree spin on reality. The sniping at Clinton across the Republicans ranks in Congress in early 1999 was incessant. (Unlike the ridiculous impeachment farce, they at least had half a leg to stand on). The Democrats in late 2002 were much much meeker. They gave NOT a limited authorization to Bush (like what Clinton got) but a blank check that was unprecedented in American history.

I am not "ideologically driven" (I voted against Clinton, incidentally), by the way, unless you want to maintain that having a healthy respect for basic honesty is "ideological".

The Iraq war was a hypocritical travesty of American traditions foisted on us by one of the most cynical and inept administrations ever. Real historians will record this while consigning pitiful propaganda such as that coming from Elia to the rubbish heap.


What does all of this have to do with Schwarzenegger ?

Not much, one hopes. He made a lot of dumb movies, but has apparently not destroyed millions of his own brain cells with alcohol. And he seems to understand (like Reagan but unlike Dubya) that an unqualified leader at least needs qualified assistants and advisors.






Michael J. C. Taylor - 8/15/2003

When you have a tooth that has a cavity, or worse yet you break one, which is the better option: going to a dentist who has had a meticulous education and years of practice in the craft, or simply tying a string around the tooth and slamming the door? If the tooth is merely hurting and the object is to quell the pain, perhaps a visit to the dentist's office can be averted by the slamming door. However, there could also be a whole host of other problems that could complicate the matter. What if the tooth is abcessed? What if it is a hooked-root tooth? Would such serious and complicated problems demand the expertise of one trained and experienced?

How is the scenario above any different with regards to the administration of either local, state, or federal government affairs? Are we truly, as a nation, better off with the Terminator as governor, the heart surgeon as the Senate majority leader, the exterminator as the House majority leader, or the ne'er-do-well self-professed "C" student as president. C'mon! When we look back at the six men who inhabited the presidency prior to Andrew Jackson, they were qualified by their education and their experience. As an American historian I can state without hesitation that I am quite pleased that men such as Washington was there to quell the Whiskey Rebellion and not "W"; or, in 1800 when American citizens clamored for war with France and John Adams was there to keep us from giving in to the whims of the mob.

Should laws be made by those who are unqualified by their education and experience to do so? If we will not allow teachers in either elementary or secondary school to teach without proper qualifications, or persons without a terminal medical degree to practice medicine, or persons without a terminal law degree to practice law, why shouldn't the citizens of the nation and of each state demand the same of its political leaders? Hey, I'm just looking for some consistency! Just as I would not let an unqualified teacher instruct my 14 year-old son, or a non-licensed physician practice on my family, nor an unqualified lawyer handle my family's legal affairs, I would never accept the legitimacy of a public servant who is unprepared, unqualified, and unfit to hold the reins of governmental power over a state.

. . . And as for anti-intellectualism not rife in America. Though Richard Hofstadter's book was the one I cited, there are dozens of contemporary writings on the subject -- one that springs immediately to mind is Morris Berman's treatise "The Twilight of American Culture." And if that is not enough, look at the cultural icons -- Wiley Coyote and the Road Runner, Forrest Gump, and Frasier to name but a few -- who make out those who use their intellect to be buffoons and those who prevail from nothing more than dumb luck as the heroes. Any appeal to "common sense" is group think, the emotion of the mob -- "common" and "sense." These words together put forward the notion that enough people believe it, then it must be true. As educated people we know better: common sense was a device invented by uneducated people to allow them to believe themselves superior to educated people. If that is not anti-intellectualism, then what is?

In "The Republic," Plato warned that the most dangerous element of democracy was that it brought to power "those who would merely call themselves 'the people's friend.'" And if enough Californians believe that Aaahnold is their friend, that he has their best interest at heart, then he will be governor of California. However, if enough people believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, is that going to make them real too?


Elia Markell - 8/15/2003

This is the usual mangling of history:

"By Mr. Markell's pro Bush Administration rationalizing, the "alternatives" to operation Iraqi Freedom were well "exhausted" by the late 1990s. And where was the focus of the bogus patriots in Washington then ? Stained dresses and youthful indiscretions snuffed out any sort of proper attention to Iraq."

Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans backed Bill Clinton when he prepared to take the nation to war, for exactly the same reasons as W did this year. Clinton has himself suggested to the likes of Mr. Weigh that the Democrats spend a bit more time trying to be constructive about an essentially positive outcome in Iraq. But, no, the great triangulator will not be listened to by the ideologically driven who pretend to defend him about the indefensible while ignoring what he has said and done that was defensible. I for one had my doubts about his pinprick attacks (especially the infamous pill factory), but like just about every other Republican, I backed his threatened use of force in 1998 and wished he had followed through instead of getting snookered by Kofi (and I bet HE wished he had also, frankly).

And speaking of Kofi, when will the left abandon its inane concept of an "international community," as in

"with a clear ultimatum at the end of that interval after which the international community could have quite legitimately invaded Iraq under proper UN authorization."

Can there really be a one of you out there who thinks that after three more months of Hans anyone would have supported a U.S.-Brit invasion any more than they did. I regard the 17 UN resolutions prior to the invasion has legitimate authorization. I'd be happy to site the wording in several of them that makes it crystal clear. But, really, why bother.


Curtis Lemarck - 8/15/2003


The placement of James Buchanan, between Washington and Harding on the political "evolutionary scale", is strange.

Of Harding my American history text* states: "He was probably the least-qualified candidate ever nominated by a major party."

The fit with Schwarzenegger is clear.

On the other hand, Buchanan, before coming to the White House, served in the House and Senate, as ambassador to Russia and England, and as secretary of state. A great president he was not, but he did have qualifications and national political prior experience.

Anything, it seems, to avoid having to show the obvious missing link, the great God of the Modern American Republican Party: Ronald Reagan.

Not that there weren't already ample grounds for doubting HNN's objectivity and relevance to History.

Curtis


* Blum et. al. "The National Experience", 1st edition 1963, p. 594. The judgement of Harding is not, perhaps, a strictly objective statement, but not far from one either.


John Weigh In - 8/15/2003


By Mr. Markell's pro Bush Administration rationalizing, the "alternatives" to operation Iraqi Freedom were well "exhausted" by the late 1990s. And where was the focus of the bogus patriots in Washington then ? Stained dresses and youthful indiscretions snuffed out any sort of proper attention to Iraq.

The Canadians and many others were floating very reasonable proposals in February and March of this year involving giving Blix a limited fixed amount of additional time, e.g. 3-6 months more, with a clear ultimatum at the end of that interval after which the international community could have quite legitimately invaded Iraq under proper UN authorization. Those alternatives were torpedoed by cowards Cheney and Rumsfeld and are being swept under the rug by would-be partisan supporters such as Markell. But the real historians (who are miles from this website, by the way) are not and will not be fooled by these cheap propaganda maneuvers. Whether Californians will be fooled by expensive entertainment trickery in the upcoming Governor election is another matter.



Elia Markell - 8/15/2003


I'll get around to your specifics in a bit. But this is typical of what you get when you take my kinds of stands:

"Besides, I'm not convinced Mr. Markell gives a rat's ass about the Iraqi people anyway, quite frankly."

I don't really care to prove it to you, Jesse, but like other lefties and former lefties (Hitchens comes immediately to mind), I was opposed to U.S. coddling of Saddam in the mid-1980s, and was saying so. You can take that word or leave it. The reason I am gung-ho about this war is in fact the reason you decide to smarmily pass off -- because the Iraqi people are free of a hideous fascist dictatorship, one whose removal the left utterly failed to put first on its agenda in order to do what it now knows how to do best (only), bash the United States. THAT's the priority of the side you are defending. Don't include me in those who do not give a rats ass about the Iraqi people. You don't know me at all.


Elia Markell - 8/15/2003

"at least a pretense of having exhausted alternatives first.

See, the reason you won't be convinced is this sort of thing. Fifteen days after the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam was already in violation of his ceasefire with us. At that point we already were legally entitled to reopen hostilities. In the intervening years, Saddam made a total mockery of the UN, something your side says it cares about. (And please, don't give me the standard "what about Israel" riff. The UN resolutions Saddam violated were Chapter 7s, absolutely binding on one party, which is NOT what the others, including Irael's, are at all.) Yet you say the alternatives were not exhausted. Face it, for your side, they would never have been exhausted, ever. You know it.


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/15/2003

I'd like to try this little format here. I'll call it "Answers for Mr. Markell".

MR. MARKELL
Yes, we did (win big in Iraq)
ME
Hold on just a second, there. Yes, we overthrew the Iraqi government and have at least nominal control of the country at large. But the Soviets could have claimed victory in Afghanistan on the same grounds in 1980. When they finally left, almost a decade later, they did not leave as victors. The U.S. can't consider itself victorious in Iraq until a friendly, popular government is established, the rule of law is re-established, and all of our troops are OUT of the country.

MR. MARKELL
Wherever Saddam is, in particular, he is not shredding people and torturing kids in front of their parents.
ME
This answer is pure sophistry. Instead of just answering the question: "How the hell should I know where Saddam is?", Mr. Markell gives a response designed to put the questioner in a with-us or against-us box. You don't think attacking Iraq was a good idea; you're wondering where Saddam is; not attacking Iraq would leave Saddam in power; ergo, you're a big fan of Saddam Hussein and all other murderous dictators. Besides, I'm not convinced Mr. Markell gives a rat's ass about the Iraqi people anyway, quite frankly. He's certainly doing enough cheering over a war that took the lives of thousands of Iraqi non-combatants (perhaps he thinks Iraqis prefer to be killed by Americans than by the dastardly Saddam).

MR. MARKELL
Wherever they (the WMD) are, or were, they are not much less of a threat -- unless they've fallen into the hands of others we will have to deal with later. In any case, Saddam sure can't use them (or his feigning of them) to carry on with his insane desire to dominate the entire region, now, can he?

ME
Oh, boy- where do I start? Let's see- we've scoured the country from top to bottom, found nothing, and Mr. Markell still thinks the darn things are gonna turn up? IF Saddam had such weapons, it's silly to think he'd hide them, like a teenager stashing porno magazines under the bed when Mommy America comes into his bedroom. And even if he did have them, so what? He definitely had them in 1991, and he didn't use them against us then. Saddam Hussein was (and is) a pure survivor. He's not going to just attack the strongest country on earth- how would it benefit him? And why does Mr. Markell believe Saddam had "an insane desire to dominate the entire region"? Just because President Bush told him so? The last time he showed any expansionist designs was in 1990, when he occupied Kuwait. We kicked his butt out in quick time, and since then- nothing. Not even his neighbors- Saudi Arabia, Iran, even Kuwait- considered Saddam to be a serious threat in 2003. The fact is, the only Middle Eastern country in possession of disputed territory, the only one with openly expansionist aims, the only one dominating the region with nuclear weapons, is the State of Israel (this isn't "anti-Semitism", or even "anti-Zionism"; just a statement of fact). And the "others we will have to deal with later?" My guess is that Mr. Markell's "we" consists of a lot of people whose names are NOT 'Elia Markell'.

MR. MARKELL
Probably long before those defending Germany, Japan, and South Korea, I bet -- no thanks from any of those ingrates notwithstanding.

ME
This is Mr. Markell's idea of an answer to the question, "When are the American troops coming home?" This is the second legitimate question Mr. Markell has chosen to shuck-and-jive, and the reason is simple- no one, not Mr. Markell, not me, not President Bush- knows when they're coming home. It could be years. As for the dig at Germany, Japan, and South Korea, well, these are sovereign states, and sovereign states are supposed to act in defense of their own interests, not out of "gratitude" to another power. Should we toe France's line in foreign affairs because Louis XVI's navy bailed out the Continental Army at Yorktown? Besides, what on Earth does Japan have to be grateful to us for? Didn't we drop two atomic bombs on them? And pray tell, who are we defending Germany and Japan against these days, anyway? Actually, we should pull our troops out of those three countries, as well as Iraq.

MR. MARKELL
Yes, obviously (we are safer)

ME
Obviously? To whom? I guess to people who were quaking in their boots and scanning the skies, looking for the first wave of Iraq's armada of hand-me-down MIGs to darken the skies over American cities. To the rest of us who exist in reality, a reality where a tin-pot country like Iraq hasn't, won't, or ever will attack the U.S., nothing of the sort is "obvious".

I'm going to stop here. But in passing, I'll venture to guess that Mr. Markell considers himself a conservative. So do I. Only, I know that "wars of liberation" and "spreading democracy" are anything but conservative conceits. This kind of messianic, utopian rhetoric and action is communist, and all of the self-styled conservatives who cheer on Mr. Bush's war ought to realize this.


Woody Wilson - 8/14/2003


Tom Gallatin - 8/14/2003


The rest of us need a bit more convincing before Elia's unmitigated Cheney-Bush-worshipping can have much effect.

Whatever its ultimate causes, the PNAC Iraq invasion was not a typical American war, where there is at least a pretense of having exhausted alternatives first. The objectives, as stated by those who concocted this insult to American democracy, were that we would be a safer country. To one not blinded by his own propaganda, it is not at all obvious that we are safer. Until that day comes, it is nonsense to talk about "winning big", as though desecrating the heritage of our past is some kind of sports event.

Bush, and those who hold his puppet strings, spent a great deal of money, squandered incalculable amounts of international goodwill through the clumsy bullying of Chickenhawk Rumsfeld & Co, and have done their alchemistic best to turn Saddam into an Osama-like Saudi-Wahabi Islamoterrorist. Clinton was fairly incompetent in foreign affairs, but not a bull in a china shop to this degree.


Ralph E. Luker - 8/14/2003

Hey, Dave, slow down. If I read your first sentence correctly, I have assume that you're a lefty aiming at right-wing kooks. But if I read further, that appears not to be the case. And why bring up the sexual inadequacy of self-respecting "gin owners"? I own a gin, myself, and resent the innuendo. I'm told that gin actually enhances performance. I've had no complaints.


Dave Livingston - 8/14/2003

The complaints that the recall election is unfair is so much right-wing humbug. In the first place, Davis will be recalled only if a majority of those who go to the polls vote to boot him out-of-office. If a majority do not want him recalled, hre will not be recalled. So where's the problem?

The attributing of the recall election to some nasty right-wing plot fails to take into account the legislation permitting a recall election was pushed through the Calkifornia legislature near the beginning of the previous century by "progressives," aka Liberals. Now that their dog has turned around tio threaten to bit them, they no longer acknowledge their paternity of the dog. :-)))

This is typical of the Left, refusing to acknowledge objective reality. Another example of its turning the truth upside down in self-serving lying proipaganda is the frequent refernce to gin owners as those who require compensation for their sexual inadequacy, but IN TRUTH what Freud actually said was that those squimish about guns have sexual inadequacy problems.


Elia Markell - 8/14/2003


Albert, like Laurie, puts a great deal of stock in one-liners. Funny that he would then tell ME to go back to the Terminator movies. I rather think he'd do looking in on them to hone what is clearly his own preferred mode of communication. Anyway, here goes.

ALBERT
"We won big" in Iraq ???? !!!

ME
Yes we did. Or do you think conquering an entire country with a couple hundred deaths in three weeks happens every other month? I really cannot imagine what would have to happen for you to say any nation won big in a war if you can't see this one as a big win. It is also big for the many already apparent ramifications on the region, ALL of which so far are better than trends before the war.

ALBERT
Where is Saddam (or Osama for that matter) ?

ME
We knew where they were before we forced each into hiding. I prefer their current condition to that one, however. Wherever Saddam is, in particular, he is not shredding people and torturing kids in front of their parents. In the meantime, the vast majority of the deck of cards has been folded. A lot of al Qaeda are sunning themselves in Cuba. What's wrong with that?

ALBERT
Where are the weapons of mass destruction that we could not let Hans Blick not find ?

ME
Wherever they are, or were, they are not much less of a threat -- unless they've fallen into the hands of others we will have to deal with later. In any case, Saddam sure can't use them (or his feigning of them) to carry on with his insane desire to dominate the entire region, now, can he?

ALBERT
When are the American troops coming home ?

ME
Probably long before those defending Germany, Japan, and South Korea, I bet -- no thanks from any of those ingrates notwithstanding.

ALBERT
Where is the great wave of democracy that was supposed to sweep over Iran and North Korea ?

ME
This is a hoot. Have you been paying attention to the unraveling in Iran? Have you noticed how the key criticism about the Iraqi Interim Council from the Arab League was that it was not elected? Do you have any idea of the irony and the significance of that, given how the 22 Arab League govts were chosen? You are even crazier than your craziest fantasy about Paul Wolfowitz if you think evidence beyond this of the seeds of democratic change should have appeared in the region already. More than 100 newspapers are publishing in Iraq now, without censorship. Shiite demos now are about water and electricity, not an Islamic republic, an incredible triumph of democracy that only our obtuse media could construe as a negative sign. Even the degraded and suicide-bombing besoted Palestinians realize they have to disguise Arafat's factotum as a real alternative to him. He isn't, but their embarrasment is at least a start. A start is all any of us has a right to expect. We are getting it.

ALBERT
Are you safer today than you were when the Democrats had the White House ?

ME
Yes, obviously. Your point is?

ALBERT
Go back to your Terminator movies, Elia. Cheney and Bush have better speechwriters on their staffs already.

ME
Good suggestion at last.


Kay of Washougal - 8/14/2003

The recall and Arnold's race for governor are great reminders that politics and even governance are forms of entertainment. The Founding Fathers wanted to set up a long-running show, one that would ensure the blessings of liberty for their posterity; we, their Floundering Foundlings, want immediate gratification, no matter what the consequences. Arnold is a great political joke, now central to an even larger set-up gag. However, American democracy has endured such tricksters before (Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan) and even benefited from their tenures in office.


Denny - 8/14/2003


Quite right you are about Harrison in 1888. Slipped my memory, and I don't know anything about the Prohibition candidate who was (possibly) the "spoiler" that year.


Josh Greenland - 8/14/2003

"Rather than deferring to those among us who have sought education, knowledge, and wisdom, and have built upon their experiences in order to better the society in which we live,"...

What pompous, elitist nonsense!

If Americans won't defer to their educated betters, why do most elected politicians have post-graduate degrees?

..."Americans would rather, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, not build somebody up but try to drag everybody else down into the hole that they're in."

Yeah, Americans want to drag everyone else down so much that they identify with sports and screen stars and are fascinated with the lives of geniuses and wealthy people.

"In his 1963 book "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life," Richard Hofstadter made the case that Americans distrust intellect, they disdain breadth of vision and depth of understanding."

He was writing about a receding wave - how's that for wisdom? There may have been anti-intellectualism in the 1950s, but I only heard a little grumbling about "point-headed intellectuals" in the `60s, and no more of it after that. I have continued to hear a lot of screeching about the supposed anti-intellectualism of Americans, to the present day.

For such an anti-intellectual population, Californians have a lot of education under our belts. A few years ago, 46% of California whites with jobs had bachelors degrees at least, 40% had attended college but hadn't graduated, and only 14% had only a highschool diploma or less education. 60% or more of Asians with jobs here had at least a bachelors degree. (I'm not trying to make any "racial" point here, these are the education stats I can remember.)

Many people have claimed that the problem with California is its Southern majority. People can decide what they think about that one, but like attacks on "pointy-headed intellectuals," calls to split the state almost completely died away after the 1960s.
- Josh Greenland, San Francisco


Josh Greenland - 8/14/2003

"I have a problem when slickly-branded political ciphers get elected in the face of more substantive candidates."

They usually don't do well in California. I'm thinking of Bruce Herschensohn [sp?] who if memory serves ran against Barbara Boxer for her spot in the US Senate in `92, and lost. Herschensohn was and I think still is a rightwing media personality in Southern California.

I can't remember the year, but Michael Huffington ran against Dianne Feinstein once for US Senate, and also lost. Huffington was a wealthy guy with one of those opaque private fortunes who seemingly "came from nowhere." He lost to Feinstein, and disappeared.

Al Checchi ran in the Democratic primary against Gray Davis in `98. He was a rich corporate shark with a pirahna smile who no one had ever heard of before. He seemed to be the Democratic front runner for a while, but Davis won the primary and Checchi disappeared, too.

Rich people and media personalities seem to think they can get elected here with no previous political experience. Perhaps Ronald Reagan's example encourages them, but this state is a tougher place than people who move here, or try to run here, think. I should say, though, that Herschensohn's loss was a close one, and for all the love that Feinstein supposedly has in this state, her win against Huffington was not by a big margin.

Perhaps some good guesses about this recall could be made based on California's initiative process. We pass and kill many laws by ballot in every major election. We've had controversial measures go down to defeat after starting out with big leads in the polls, but voters had a fair number of months to change their minds about them. There won't be very much time before we have to vote on the recall and Davis's possible successor.


Ralph E. Luker - 8/14/2003

Sorry, Mr. Wilson. Decisions were made outside the electoral college for John Quincey Adams in 1824 and, as you say, for Rutherford B. Hays in 1876. The president who won less than the largest popular vote but a majority of the electoral college: Benjamin Harrison in 1888.


Stephen Kriz - 8/13/2003


Tom:

I know that there is no recall provision at the federal level. The Founding Fathers had more sense than that. Thank God!

SK


J.W. - 8/13/2003


Where are all these fluttering "progressive historians" ?
Don't see any under my bed.

As for Arnold's "program", dodging press questions left and right seems an unusual way of publicizing it.

J.W.
(not a machine politico socialist social historian)


Herb W Horton - 8/13/2003


Many might find the image of draft-dodger George Junior aboard the carrier even more "offensive", but at least it is historically accurate, and more "on-target" towards the theme of acting and politics.


Clare Spark - 8/13/2003

How hilarious it is to witness "progressive" historians all aflutter because something like a real populist revolt is under way in California. What is bugging them? Could it be the specter of similar reforms in academe that would threaten the tenure system, and open up academic jobs to competition from outside the club? They are sounding like machine politicos.
I would think that historians, like all serious intellectuals, would wait until a concrete platform has been announced and then make relatively informed judgments as to the likelihood of California's horrendous fiscal crisis being repaired. The notion that Schwartzenegger's acting career is decisive in making him a dreadful leader suggests the assumption that great or very bad individuals make history--all by themselves. Odd from the mouths of those who teach "social history."


Jonathan Dresner - 8/13/2003

Yeah, he's a Kennedy by marriage, not birth. But to suggest that he is politically unconnected to current power groups and lineages, as Mr. Perkins did, is an immensely shallow position. Especially considering the number of Republican heavyweights and operatives who are rallying around him.

But thanks for clearing up the geneaology: what kind of liberal am I not to know that?


Stephen Kriz - 8/13/2003

Oh, I know, the conservatives will use their favorite line, "Yeah, well what about Bill Clinton". They are so utterly predictable. Let's see if they defend Arnold against the charges of serial groping, unlike what they did with Bill Clinton..... Let's start with this one: http://eightballmagazine.com/diatribes/volume01/diatribes024/diatribes475-494/diatribes493.htm NOTE: For the Internet-challenged, if the link doesn't work by clicking on it, copy the entire URL [HINT: Highlight and hit CTRL+C] into your browser address line.


Albert Madison - 8/13/2003


"We won big" in Iraq ???? !!!


Where is Saddam (or Osama for that matter) ?

Where are the weapons of mass destruction that we could not let Hans Blick not find ?

When are the American troops coming home ?

Where is the great wave of democracy that was supposed to sweep over Iran and North Korea ?

Are you safer today than you were when the Democrats had the White House ?

Go back to your Terminator movies, Elia. Cheney and Bush have better speechwriters on their staffs already.



Ralph E. Luker - 8/13/2003

This conversation began off-target, because Abe's outfit doesn't derive from Arnie-Rambo headlines. It appeared here as a riff on Bush's landing on an off-shore ship to declare official hostilities in the invasion of Iraq. One can find any use of Lincoln's face offensive if you want to, but seeing any neo-confederate meaning in it is simply wrong. Neo-conservative, maybe.


J.W. - 8/13/2003


Lynn, I will not argue with you if you are repulsed by the KKK, but is anyone agitating for them here ?

I was only expressing my opinion that dressing Abe Lincoln up like Rambo is "offensive", to use your term.

Your attributive leaps are off target. I would not, for example, accuse you of wanting to turn the Lincoln Memorial into an arcade of militaristic video games just because you hurl irrelevant criticism at me .

I do nevertheless congratulate you on your above-average knowledge (for this website) of American history.

Of course Schwarzenegger has every right to run, but normally people start with the basics and work their way up. That's part of American democracy too. Let's see how Arnold does as mayor of Santa Monica and take it from there, okay ?

Or should any farm boy from Austria expect to go straight from the cow shed to a leading role in a major film ?






Wesley Smart - 8/13/2003

Sargent Shriver is the brother-in-law to the Kennedy brothers, having married Eunice.

It would be difficult to imagine Arnold Schwartzenegger amicably chatting away with Maria's uncle, Teddy Kennedy, but it must happen. To consider Schwartzenegger a "Kennedy" though doesn't seem to be too realistic.


Woody - 8/13/2003


Dear JoeH,

I've spent many person years working with spreadsheets so I can only agree that they are important tools, but only a tools.

Rather than replace worn-out and obsolete terms like "liberal" and "conservative" with new pigeon holes, I personally prefer to judge political proposals and candidates on the degree to which they are logical, consistent, creative, and effective. That does not cover all bases, but it works as a set of criteria for most political choices. I suppose one could construct a spreadsheet as a comparative tool for this sort of measurement process, but I'd be happy if we could just liberate ourselves from trying to put everything political into one of these rather meaningless old boxes, either "left" and "right".

I have little hope that this modest concept will be adopted any time soon on this website, because, despite its non-substantive sound-bite shallowness, the old left-right dichotomy still markets well. Only we in the "market" can change that, I guess.

As for the choices in this recall, I would rate Arnold relatively low on consistency and creativity, so far, and dubious with respect to logic and effectiveness.

Woody of California


Elia Markell - 8/13/2003

The West Wing TV show, you mean, I presume.

What infuriates all the Dems and lefties here is a very simple fact: Ahuld threatens to end the lock of the Democratic Party on California. As governor, he will help W put California in play in 2004, sucking the Dems into a black hole they can ill afford to pay for. Might not get W victory there, but perhaps we can dislodge Boxer.

As for Ahnuld's inability to shmooze like a Clinton, mingle like a Kerry or snipe like a Dean, on which failings, for reasons I am at a loss to fathom, the enlightened repititiously and repulsively look down, as if these had something to do with being smart, NO ONE ELSE CARES, FRIENDS. Go Running Man.


JoeH - 8/13/2003

Aha! I have been doing my homework! Your belief seems to be that terms like "progressive" (or "liberal") and "conservative" are not very useful. I'd have to agree with that.

But language is our major communications vehicle, wouldn't you say? And since you don't like these terms, what would you use instead?

Spreadsheets are just tools, by the way, and are not religious. I'd note, though, that spreadsheets are the soul of marketing, which is what all of the politics I've seen lately is all about...very little substance and lots of sound bites and numbahs!


Wesley Smart - 8/13/2003

You are right to note the prestige associated with being an ambassador, and it is a potent reward for a political person should they receive one. The political appointees to diplomatic positions are often placeholders, though, and oftentimes the reciprocal emissary is the primary conduit for information in a bilateral relationship. Additionally, the bulk of the work for important and not-so-important posts is done by the staff of the embassy, not by the ambassador him or herself, and so sometimes a nice smile and personality is all that is needed.

Because of the appointive nature of ambassadorships, however, the example of Black is still substantively different from your other examples of entertainers running for elective office.


Jonathan Dresner - 8/13/2003

Ms. Schwartz writes "In my view, those that fret over Schwarzenegger are merely political partisans, who call themselves "liberal," but nevertheless see the American political process as elitist."

Personally, I would be equally concerned were someone like Martin Sheen to run for an office of this magnitude. He's a fantastic actor (better than Schwarzenegger), and his political views are very close to my own, but aside from speechmaking, his preparation for public office is minimal.

Is it elitist to want someone who is highly qualified and competent in relevant fields doing the job? Even Jesse Ventura served as a mayor before running for governor of Minnesota; not the same thing, but something. The California governorship is one of the most powerful elected positions in the United States, influential well beyond the boundaries of the state, and not a simplified govenorship like Texas.

I want my surgeon to be a medical school graduate; I want my lawyer to pass law school; I want my taxi driver to have a license. Elitist?


Lynn B. Schwartz - 8/13/2003

I think that the answer to what candidate Schwarzenengger says about American democracy is reflected in the responses. It is interesting that some people feel democracy is threatened because certain people run. Is it not hypocritical to cry democracy and then say there are some people who are not worthy to participate? Who, then, is qualified to run in a democracy of supposedly free and equal citizens? In my view, those that fret over Schwarzenegger are merely political partisans, who call themselves "liberal," but nevertheless see the American political process as elitist.
Secondly, I would like to express my displeasure at the level of discussion on this website and this subject in particular. I enjoy HNN and go to it several times a week. However, many who respond with comments clearly do not have an academic bent. Some are down-right offensive. I am speaking particular to someone calling themselves "J.W. Booth." Speaking to "J.W. Booth" directly: Your pathetic attempt to be a rebel by using that name repulses me. I suggest you stick to the Klan sites that seem more your speed.

Yours, Lynn B. Schwartz


Woody Wilson - 8/13/2003


"I wondered if there is a spreadsheet somewhere on the web that maps candidates to issues and gives assessments on how progressive or how conservative they are".

Your interest and involvement are commendable, Joe, but to be an informed citizen in a functioning democracy you need more than a spreadsheet to tell you how to vote.

You might never realize it from reading this website, but the terms "progressive" and "conservative", like "left" and "right" are actually largely an anachronism..

Self-designated "conservatives" support the turning of purple mountains and fruited plains into sterile sprawling wastelands of look-alike malls, freeways, and cookie-cutter houses. Those who are called "right wing" endorse the recent overturning of centuries of American foreign policy traditions in order to adopt a "we'll kill first" policy of preemptive war worthy of Ariel Sharon on a bad day.

The so-called "progressive left" tends be a label applied to groups advocating racial discrimination, euphemistically called "affirmative action", and politically-correct censorship.

Take an issue like immigration, one which may subject Arnold to some scrutiny. Is the Wall Street Journal "liberal" because it advocates letting more foreigners in ? Are labor unions and the Sierra Club "reactionary" because they want to make it harder for people to move to America ?

Do your own homework, Joe, don't waste too much time on this weird website, and good luck.

Woody


Elia Markell - 8/13/2003

Robert, all good points about the absolutely democratic nature and origins of the recall. As for this question of yours...

"In other words, if the California system is flawed, why has it taken just a bit less than a century to discover its shortcomings?"

... The answer is simple. It took the emergence of a Republican who might actualy WIN for the Democrats and other libs (who claim La Follette's mantle, by the way) to suddenly discover these shortcomings. In their book, that is, shortcoming number 1 is the possibility that they might LOSE!


James B. Jones - 8/13/2003

The important question is what will it mean if he wins? It will mean movie stars with connections to the GOP can win elections. There is always an element of celebrity in politics, but his victory would most likely usher in a close and more purposeful connection between Hollywood and the Republican party. You don't have to "be good" to run and win power, you simply have to "look good." Money and cinematic reputations will triumph over issues and policies. So, where does this leave the Democrats? In the West Wing?


James B. Jones - 8/13/2003

The important question is what will it mean if he wins? It will mean movie stars with connections to the GOP can win elections. There is always an element of celebrity in politics, but his victory would most likely usher in a close and more purposeful connection between Hollywood and the Republican party. You don't have to "be good" to run and win power, you simply have to "look good." Money and cinematic reputations will triumph over issues and policies. So, where does this leave the Democrats? In the West Wing?


Jonathan Dresner - 8/13/2003

Thanks for the clarification on Cleveland and Cincinnati.

I'm not convinced that my citation of Shirley Temple Black is substantially different: an ambassadorship is a position of authority and prestige. Unfortunately it is quite routine for those posts, in spite of their importance in intelligence and information gathering and in presenting a coherent and substantial US voice, often go to people of questionable credentials. I'm really not sure what Ms. Black's credentials were when she was first appointed to a diplomatic post, or why she has served on so many corporate boards, though by now she is certainly quite experienced at both. For what it's worth, she has only been appointed under Republican administrations, as near as I can tell, so she's clearly a political appointee rather than a career FS officer.


Tom Gallatin - 8/13/2003


Stephen, there is no recall on the presidential level. You might advocate impeaching Cheney for his contemptous refuse to release the minutes of his energy pow-wows with poor old "Kenny Boy", who so tragically lost his Aspen mansion.


Elia Markell - 8/13/2003

Laurie, woman of few words. Let me elaborate on your text.

"The man lied and thousands died."

No lie? (By the way, is this a Jesse Jackson riff?) Thousands died? -Even minus the tens of thousands who would have died had we not gone in? Like Al Franken, do you think using the word "lie" over and over will make it any less implausible than it in fact is? It is this implausibility to most Americans, by the way, that leads to the next part of the Lauri text

"Where's the outrage?"

Who are you, Bill Bennett? I hate to tell you, Laurie, but Iraq is NOT (repeat, NOT) Vietnam. We WON. And we won big. Oh, yes, I know we are up to 55 or so killed since (as the AP, Reuters, the NYTs and NPR insist on repeating mantra-like after ever one of these deaths) George Bush declared major hostilities over (which they were). At the current rate, that means it will take well over two CENTURIES to get to Vietnam war dead numbers. I fear Iraq may by then have a vast budget deficit due to social spending and a growing chorus of complaints about the frivolity of the ICLU's defense of students' rights to wear short-shorts during summer school. But I doubt U.S. soldiers will be around.

"Got oil?"

Gotta get away? Again, the pithiness of this makes its point a bit hard to fathom. I don't know about you, Lauri, but I for one am not sad that oil prices have not skyrocketed (one of many brilliant but failed predictions from those who know are banking on the constant repitition of the word "lie" to substitute for real ideas). So, what is the point then?

You gotta love it. Where's the outrage? Outrage about what? Poor Iraq, no Saddam. Poor Americans, cheap oil.


Stephen Kriz - 8/13/2003


Cordovan:

5th - 7th, whatever. The point is that California's economy is huge. The further point is that nothing in Ahnold's background would suggest that he has any of the skills necessary to assuage California's economic ills.

As far as my "diluted" [sic] ideas, I have nothing against you personally. If we agree on something, all the better. I just think this recall nonsense is another symptom that the American political process has fallen apart and we are watching the decline of the American empire. If the people of California want to elect a turd like Arnold Schwarzenegger, then they get a superficial, vacuous and ineffective government they deserve.....

Peace,

Stephen Kriz


Stephen Kriz - 8/13/2003


Mr. Wilson:

Well put. If the only "wrong-doing" that Gray Davis is guilty of, that the conservatives can point to is turning a budget surplus into a budget deficit, when does the recall of George W. Bush begin?

You might also mention the piracy of Enron in bankrupting the State of California. The same Enron that was headed by Ken (Kenny Boy) Lay, George W. Bush's largest campaign contributor.

Stephen Kriz


Denny Wilson - 8/13/2003


The intention of those who put the recall clause into our Constitution in California was to have it as an EMERGENCY device. A SPECIAL power, like impeachment, where in unusual circumstances, a office-holder who commits some heinous act AFTER being elected can be brought to account.

This is manifestly NOT the case here. All the many faults of Gray Davis and the many just criticisms levied against him were known and valid in November, 2000 when the normal election was held.

This recall IS an abuse perpetrated by a small clique of well-heeled, so-called "conservatives" who trash American traditions and have no respect for American democracy. They, and the California voters, have been severely provoked, however, so it is also misleading to claim that the recall is THE (only) problem. There can be more than one big problem without the "sky falling", folks.


JoeH - 8/13/2003

Maybe one of you can help...I am not nearly so steeped in CA politics as I clearly ought to be in these times.

I heard an interesting comment on a news commentary about Arnold being somewhat to the left of Gray Davis, especially on social issues. So I wondered if there is a spreadsheet somewhere on the web that maps candidates to issues and gives assessments on how progressive or how conservative they are.

/joe


Denny Wilson - 8/13/2003



"The Court did award FLA to Bush II, thus giving him the Electoral votes to win".

In other words we have "Knucklehead Bush II" as our clothesless emperor BECAUSE of the Supreme Court. The Electoral College was just a technical mechanism.

To my knowledge there has never yet been an American presidential election where the candidate with largest popular vote did not win BECAUSE of the Electoral College (The 1876 election was effectively decided by a special commission) even though that is theoretically possible.

In California, however, we may well end up with a candidate winning with 10% or 20%, on part 2 of the recall ballot, even if Gray Davis loses on part 1 by getting only, say, 48% or 49%. Especially if your idea about lack of experience being a virtue catches on.


David Little - 8/13/2003

I don't see what all the fuss is about. The California law provides for a recall. Over a million Californians decided to avail themselves of that law, and now the politicians/media are all decrying about a loss of democracy. I agree that it's a real train-wreck for the people of California, but the recall people followed the law (and following the law is NOT an "abuse of the system"), and Gov. Davis is forced to defend himself at the polls.

I disagree with the notion that once an election is over, then the people must remain mute until the next one. There must be some recourse, and whether Mr. Davis stays or goes is up to a majority of voters, a notion that seems lost on those complaining about the "end of democracy".


Laurie Manis - 8/13/2003

The man lied and thousands died.

Where's the outrage?

Got oil?


Michael J. C. Taylor - 8/13/2003

As an native Angelino [a born and bred Californian from Los Angeles] I am appalled at the notion of somebody without any experience in the art of governance seeking a position he has not the qualifications for. As an historian, I am not surprised. With the advent of the democratic society, brought to us courtesy of Andrew Jackson, American citizens abandoned substantive policy making years ago and, instead, embraced public image over intellectual substance. In the 19th century it was war heroes, now its celebrity. How else could a Sonny Bono, a Fred Grandy, a George Murphy, and, yes, a Ronald Reagan -- all of whom were grossly unqualified either by education or experience -- be elected to public office? Aaaahnold is upholding a political tradition.

We are an anti-intellectual nation! In his 1963 book "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life," Richard Hofstadter made the case that Americans distrust intellect, they disdain breadth of vision and depth of understanding. And we wonder why the American public would support bone-headed education reforms as embodied by "No Child Left Behind." Rather than deferring to those among us who have sought education, knowledge, and wisdom, and have built upon their experiences in order to better the society in which we live, Americans would rather, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, not build somebody up but try to drag everybody else down into the hole that they're in. This explains much as to why Californians would accept second-rate movie actor Ronald Reagan -- who during his 1966 campaign stated that "Universities should not susidize intellectual curiosity" -- to supporting the Terminator. Jeeze Louise, is my home state really going to submit to Conan the Governor?

And they wonder why the state is so screwed up!


Wesley Smart - 8/13/2003

Shirley Temple was appointed ambassador; she didn't run for an election. The use of entertainers in the diplomatic role is substantively different from your other examples, which are quite apt.

Springer was the mayor of Cincinnati, not Cleveland. I'm not sure who would be more offended by the confusion, but them Ohioans can be pretty uptight about the difference between the two cities. In the same year Springer was elected mayor of Cincinnati, current presidental contender Dennis Kucinich was elected mayor of Cleveland.

Your caution over the course and outcome of the campaigns is commendable.


Corevan - 8/13/2003

Wow Kriz, some thing we agree on! But I think Calif is the 5th largest economy, check that and get back to us will you.

Please pay more attention to what I say, or do you twist it intentionally to serve your own diluted ideas?


Corevan - 8/13/2003

Thanks for the correction James.

In my zeal to thrust right with my virtual quill, I skipped over a few details. But if my memories serves me, and please correct me again if I am wrong, the Court did award FLA to Bush II, thus giving him the Electoral votes to win.


Robert Cook - 8/13/2003

What that says to me about "American democracy" is that our state governments, like the federal government, are based on the republican concept that government is composed of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The eightteenth-century idea was that those three entities would balance one another in such a way that no single entity could assume overwhelming political power.

That an individual has a right to attempt to have a court hear his or her case is consistent with the constitutional foundations of American government.

At the time of this writing, we do not know if the assumption that the recall in California will be ajudicated is correct or incorrect.

But I must take exception to the implication that a citizen does not have a right to plead his case in a court of law.

It seems to me that you are affirming that "American democracy" really works, but you are not always satisfied with the outcome.

That's fine, but it should not be confused with the constitutional legitimacy of the process.

Americans have a right to vote, and they have a right to go to court. Democracy is a process. Discontent with the outcome does not, in and of itself, negate the utility of the process.

Robert Cook


Jonathan Dresner - 8/13/2003

I have no problem with actors running for office; frankly almost any politician in modern history has been an actor in some sense, and increasingly so over the last 40 years. And yes, the site was being a little sensational (and a little tongue-in-cheek, which you surely noticed), but then the historic nature of the recall has been entirely overshadowed by this one candidacy, so it's worth discussing.

I have a problem when slickly-branded political ciphers get elected in the face of more substantive candidates. I have a problem when anyone campaigns fraudulently, misrepresenting their policy positions, or claiming neutrality on issues they have already decided for themselves, or representing themselves as "independents" then voting with the herd.

I'm sorry if your intent was otherwise, but those of us who are professional historians and history educators do happen to take ourselves just a little seriously. We do have a sense of humor, even about ourselves, but what you wrote really wasn't that funny.


John Weigh In - 8/13/2003


1. The USSR was certainly an much nastier empire than the US (if your definition of "empire" is rubbery enough to cover the US).

2. The Soviet empire was brought down by various factors. Gorbachev ranks ahead of Reagan in helping to have brought about that welcome fall.

3. Kim Jong Il is not a candidate for governor of California.

4. The "likelihood" of Arnold winning will depend in no small part on whether the press asks him tough questions about how he proposes to tackle California's many challenges.



Albert Madison - 8/13/2003


Without attempting to manufacture Darwinian analogies, how about a simple comparison between the 20th century's second and third-to-last presidents ? Both were Republicans, interestingly.

Who was better for American democracy:

HISTORIAN Theodore Roosevelt, who successfully saved millions of acres of national forest, implimented campaign finance limits, and was awarded the Nobel Peace prize,

or

ACTOR Ronald Reagan who said "you've seen one redwood, you've seem them all", bankrupted the Treasury, and supported drug dealers and terrorists in Central America ?


James Jefferson - 8/13/2003


Amidst the flying feathers and pillow fighting between "Corevan" and Stephen Kriz, a simple factual correction:

The Presidential election of 2000 produced NO MAJORITY for any
knucklehead. Indeed, because the margin of error far exceeded any conceivable margin of victory in Florida, the Clarence Thomas (speaking of major knuckleheads !) Supreme Court was asked to intervene. Instead of turning matters over to the U.S. House of Representatives, as the American Constitution specifies, the new age strict destructionists there, by a majority of one knucklehead, handed the White House to Dry Drunk Dubya.



Richard - 8/13/2003

When I saw HNN's topic suggesting that US democracy was suffering reverse evolution because of actors running for political office and that anybody voting for one was proving P. T. Barnum's dictum, it was obvious that they were being deliberately provocative. Throw some chum off the boat and watch the waters boil. "What Does Arnold's Race For Governor Say About American Democracy?" was the tongue-in-cheek question. HNN's high water mark for democracy was provided by George Washington, the homo sapien sapiens on the evolutionary scale.
Never mind that in Washington's time only a few could vote: "free white and 21" was the phrase. No women, no Blacks, no Indians. For that matter not all white men could vote. Eligible voters were reduced by having a property ownership requirement, a poll-tax, and if that was insufficient, a test administered by the registrar. Even then you could not vote for the President, you could not even for a senator--you could only vote for an elector or legislator who would "represent" you. Obviously HNN needs another exemplar.
This led me to question what gives the right for historians to be so dismissive of actors. I wrote what I thought was a tongue-in-cheek comparison between historians and politicians as a lark (the start of this thread) but it appears everyone took it seriously. It reminded me of when I worked with engineers and joked with them (they had a low opinion of surveyors) about the two professions. Washington was a surveyor, and Jefferson and Lincoln also did some surveying; the two engineers were Hoover and Carter. Forget about actors, let's be sure and stop the next engineer who wants to run for something.
But where are the historians, or even better, the political scientists? This should be their forte, they study this stuff all their lives, why aren't they at the forefront? Well, there was Newt Gingrich, but he was in the House of Representatives. The founders thought that was where rough and ready politics should be fought. Barney Franks, Henry Waxman, Newt and Dick Armey, these were fellows that would be right at home in the early 19th century House. And I guess this is where HNN would consign actors and other Neanderthals.


Corevan - 8/12/2003

Kriz,

It is very mean spirited for a lefty like you to make fun of people with disabilities. And I am sure there are some people with the challenges you mentioned who would do a much better job than Gray out Davis or Ah-nold.

We have the current knucklehead in chief because the American Electoral College gave him the majority of vote. (another one of those pesky laws that must drive you nuts) And he is not so inexperienced in politics, or do the facts of history escape you narrow mind?

I'll bet you are just drooling now, crouched for the attack. Do you just wait in the shadows to attack people, or do you really think you are making some profound intellectual statements?


Horace Mann - 8/12/2003


Add Wolfman DeVoon to the long list of mediocre (ex) students commenting on this website who are jealous of those more intelligent and better educated than they.


mark safranski - 8/12/2003

The Soviets were not a " paper tiger " so much as their strengths and weaknesses were wildly imbalanced due to the strategic investments of their Military-Industrial Commission and GOSPLAN. For example, by the late 1980's the Soviets could muster more than 50,000 first-rate battle tanks but not one indigenously made supercomputer. They were superb at industrial engineering but crude at best at advanced composites or metallurgy and the blame for this lies squarely with their socialist political economy - which is why the Chinese junked Marxism except as a rationale for one party rule.

In any event prior to the impact of the Information Revolution the Soviets easily reached military parity with the US by 1972-73 and eventually eclipsed us in nuclear arms ( the CIA oversetimated the Soviet GDP but also undercounted Soviet warheads by almost 80 % - they had almost 50,000. So much for SALT) They may have stopped the terror at home but the Politburo had few or no scruples about exporting 1930's practices to places like Afghanistan ( where it provoked an Islamist revolt) and Ethiopia ( where the local Communists starved millions).

Note that the Bush family had little or nothing to do with these atrocities, except perhaps siding with those in American politics like Reagan who wished to put a stop to them.


Stephen Kriz - 8/12/2003


If the steroid-laden Schwarzenegger can't even manage to turn a profit in an eatery chain, how is he going to extricate the world's 9th largest economy from it's economic plight?

http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,5916,00.html

Oh yeah, per Corevan, it's most important that our politicians not have any relevant experience.......


Richard - 8/12/2003

Actually the election by the voters is only one step in the process in California. Final decisions for many ballot measures have been made by judges, and I predict that Gray Davis will sue if he loses. The real question is "What does that say about American democracy?"


Stephen Kriz - 8/12/2003


Mr. Safranski:

With over 150 military outposts scattered all over the globe, I believe "empire" is an apt description. The Soviets were always a paper tiger in that the CIA grossly overestimated their strength. They were barely able to hold sway over the Baltic states, let alone Afghanistan. They were a bugbear for the Redbaiters to use to scare Americans into ceding their civil liberties to greedy capitalists, like the Bush family. Peace is the only answer.

Stephen Kriz


Stephen Kriz - 8/12/2003


Cordovan:

Interesting comment - "less experience is what all forms of American governments need." I guess that would explain how we ended up with the knucklehead we have in the Oval Office, wouldn't it?

What's next? Brain-damaged Senators? Representatives with ADHD and multiple learning disorders?

Sir, I grew up with the expectation that people in political office would be refined, intelligent and have the people's best interests in mind. This "all government is evil", race-to-the-bottom mindset of conservatives is bearing bitter fruit, indeed.

Does your "less experience is better" philosophy also hold true for your family physician and your automobile mechanic?

Hey, GARY COLEMAN FOR PRESIDENT!!!

Stephen Kriz


mark safranski - 8/12/2003

Well Mr. Kriz, describing the United States as an " empire" is highly fashionable these days. It's also quite silly if the term is to have any real meaning as a word.

As for " the aggressive hegemonic behavior " of the U.S. in resisting the spread of Soviet influence that was a good policy, morally speaking,when you consider the alternative result. Neither Stalin's USSR nor North Korea ( then or now) or North Vietnam or Cuba had much to recommend them either materially or in terms of human rights. About all those regimes did well was build military strength and concentrate absolute power in the hands of a narrow,cruel,self-appointed far-Left elite through the use or threat of terror.

Better a Reagan with Alzheimer's than a Kim Jong Il with all his faculties

cheers !


Corevan - 8/12/2003

Denny

In my opinion less experience is what all forms of American governments need. All these people learn when they are in office to long is how to make deals to line their pockets and the pockets of their contributors.

Ah nold has some experience, more than most in the race currently, he was the nations chief PE teacher under Bush 1.

But I agree that if he does get elected the prospect of the world 5th largest economy getting any relief is limited.


Jonathan Dresner - 8/12/2003

I'm sorry, but I think your math needs work. 9 contact hours and 1-4 hours of preparation per contact hour is a total of 18-45 hours per week just for teaching. Perhaps my prep times are high, but I put a lot of thought and work into the material I present.

The rest of your comments are snide and unworthy of response.


Denny - 8/12/2003


But a lot of ostriches with heads buried in the sand. Focusing on underlying causes is not the same as embracing denial.
Schwarzenegger has no experience, no platform, and very little likelihood of being able to even address the problems which led to the recall, let alone make progress towards solving them.


Corevan - 8/12/2003

Dennis,

Whoa dude, even chicken little stuck to one issue. focus focus the world is not that bad, although living in Cali I can see how you would think so.


Corevan - 8/12/2003

Ah Kriz only you could spin this as an attack on the right wing. But then again you don't like the laws and processes established to maintain a Republic like the State of California; law and process only interfere with your visceral and emotional way of dealing with issues.

“When 10% of registered voters can force a recall, what is the point of an election anyway? Where does this end? If Ahnold is elected, should Democrats begin an immediate push for recall?”

This is where it begins, not ends. The point of a recall is to be a check on government’s power, not a tool for political parties. In today’s apathetic political environment if 10% of the population feel the need to support the recall an elected official that says a lot about the performance of that official. Thank God for the laws passed to us to efficiently remove ineffective representatives of the people. The real problem is who will those apathetic people chose to represent them next?

I'm almost sure you and I agree on that at least.


C. Terentius Rufus - 8/12/2003

If Schwarenegger is elected look for him to push for greater deregulation of California's energy industry. This will mean higher utility bills for the state's consumer, less governmental oversight and diminished service, much like the deregulated telephone industry.

If this happens in California look for other Republican controlled state legislatures around the country to follow suit.


Stephen Kriz - 8/12/2003


Good point, Mr. Safranski.

After all, California survived having a lousy B-actor and even worse stand-up comedian named Ronald Reagan as governor. Governors are often figureheads and have little real authority. Schwarzenegger couldn't muck it up any worse than the Alzheimer-riddled Reagan.

What is much more troubling is this notion that a small minority can overturn a duly elected state official. This threatens the very foundations of our democratic republic. Just one more symptom of the decline of the American Empire, which was inevitable after the onset of the aggressive, hegemonic behavior of the United States during the Cold War and the overreaching internationally and the takeover of both political parties by moneyed interests that could give a crap about We the People!

Arnold might even provide some unintentional comic relief as he bumbles his way through policy speeches and provides a humorous, Republican serial groping politician as a foil to Bill Clinton.


Robert Cook - 8/12/2003

Robert M. La Follette, one of America's most well-known Progressives who was elected as governor of Wisconsin in 1900 on a ticket of higher taxes for corporations, stricter utility and railroad regulations and political reform, would no doubt feel that the democracy in America is alive and well.

La Follette and other turn-of-the-century Progressives believed that state governments were controlled by and for the benefit of special interest and party bosses. They recommended three reforms: the initiative, the refendum and the recall. All three reforms, Progressives believed, would return political power to the people.

The Progressive Party was successful in the first decade of the last century to have many and sometimes all of these reforms incorporated in state constitutions and laws as well as many municipalities. California was one of several states who embraced these reforms and through the twentieth century continued to believe they were important enough to keep them as part of their legal, political process.

La Follette today would probably argue that the current California recall is exactly what he and other Progressives had in mind: the people have a chance to speak between scheduled elections.

One may have various opinions about various candidates. But in a democracy the only opinion that counts is that of the voters. The voters of California now have an opportunity to select from a much broader (not to mention longer) list of candidates than they did in the last scheduled election.

To that extent, the Progressive reform movement was a success and democracy is doing very well in America.

If, however, the question is whether or not the particular system for recall in California is representative of healthy democracy or, rather, a loop-hole for political oportunists, then the issue is: why has this been on the books so long?

In other words, if the California system is flawed, why has it taken just a bit less than a century to discover its shortcomings? Or did the recall system in California become, over time, mere window dressing? A sop to democracy that the pols never thought would be used?

It matters not now (or at least too much) because we are about to witness one of the great tests of Progressive ideals. Let the people vote.

Robert Cook








Wolf DeVoon - 8/12/2003


Uh-huh, sure. Mr Dresner has my complete sympathy. Nine 'contact' hours and a dozen more in the office certainly does sound like a burden.

Would he care to indicate the field in which he could earn more money, save his love for teaching required courses to students who feel none in reply?

DeVoon


Jonathan Dresner - 8/12/2003

Mr. Perkins is wrong about one thing: Mr. Schwarzenegger is a Kennedy by virtue of his marriage to Maria Shriver, daughter (pardon my pitiful Kennedyology) of Sargent Shriver, a cousin of the ill-fated brothers.


mark safranski - 8/12/2003

I'm not sure what everyone is so afraid of regarding Schwarzenegger given that he's a moderately libertarian leaning Republican who's smart enough to manage a business empire in the $ 200-300 million dollar range. Chances are he'd be a popular, middle of the road governor who might be able to forge one or two important compromise pieces of legislation in the time remaining on Davis' term. Of course, this disrupts the Democratic electoral " lock " on California for 2004 but Davis more or less did most of that damage already.

http://www.zenpundit.blogspot.com


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/12/2003

Corevan should "chill", as Arnold himself would perhaps put it. Perhaps the Founding Fathers would see Californians working and going about their daily business in spite of the political circus there, and feel vindicated. Because they had a hell of a lot more confidence in the individual, the family, and the community than any politician anyway.


pete - 8/11/2003

no wonder the world hates us, hahaha. that so funny yet so true


Peter - 8/11/2003

To me, it shows the decline of americans as intellectual people. To be sure i'm not saying that arny could do a good job or not, but its obvious that californians are just identifying with what's familiar to them. Everybody knows who Arnold is, they've seen him a million times on the boob tube and on the big screen. Seems like laziness to me. A hundred years ago politics were the entertainment, now entertainment is politics.


Tom Payne - 8/11/2003


The best thing about immigrants coming to America is that they learn to read, write, and spell in English, the international language of science, reason, and common sense.

How unlike the Old Coliseum Europe of crude entertainment: bread, circuses, Christians being eaten by terminator lions, etc. !




Garry Perkins - 8/11/2003

I am proud as an American that an immigrant can throw in her/his hat to become the govenor on the nation's largest state. This is a man that would be disregarded as a a rural savage in his home country of Austria. It should make us proud that those elitist EuroBastards should distains such a man. We should be proud as a people that this man could succeed here. We will not judge him by his family history. He is not a Bush or a Kennedy, and we like that. There is a message we can send to Old Europe by electing this naturalized American. The idea of American Superiority through diversity is primal. We live in a diverse world. Old views of a of an inferior "third-world" are false. Even immigrants of Western Europe come to the US for freedom. And they will work just like poor Chinese or Mexicans to right global wrongs.


Dennis Wilson - 8/11/2003


As a native Californian, I'd like to fill a bit of the history missing from Mr. Kriz's synopsis.

Incumbent Democratic governor Davis intervened in the 2002 REPUBLICAN primary in a successful below-belt effort to defeat the front-runner, the "moderate" Los Angeles mayor, so that he (Davis) could run in the general election against an extremist neophyte instead. Californians were robbed of a real choice in the 2002 governor's race.

It is certainly true that the recall mechanism is being ridiculously abused here now (as it was a travesty of the impeachment clause to use it to harass a president for fibbing about youthful indiscretions in the oval office). This does not make Gray Davis (or Bill Clinton) blameless, however.

The real problem facing American democracy is the corruption of politics by money, giving us cheerleading fund-raisers like Clinton, Davis, and almost the entire Republican party, and the energy crises, financial bubbles, and blundering foreign wars that come in the wake of politicians who are good at little more than sound-bites. Arnold would just take the degeneration of democracy to the logical next step.


Jonathan Dresner - 8/11/2003

For that matter so do actors and politicians. The average history faculty teaches about 3 courses a semester: that's 9 contact hours, plus preparation (1-4 hrs per class hour) and grading time, advising and office hours, administrative duties, committee work and research. I've taught classes as large as 50 with no TA or grader support, though the average is closer to 30.

I don't know any untenured teachers who consider holidays "vacation": days without teaching (including weekends) are workdays, too.

I'm really sick of the "ivory tower" garbage. This is highly demanding intellectual labor, with a strong customer service component and substantial administrative oversight. It's a good thing I love this work, because there's a lot of ways I could get paid more for less work.


J. W. Booth - 8/11/2003


Kindly point your nuclear assault bazooka at that ridiculous
Abe dressed as Rambo that pollutes every page of this website.
Go ahead and detonate. He's dead already, but his soul will rest a little easier.

Danke schön.

Now, what again was your five step program to bring California's budget back into the black ?


John Maloney - 8/11/2003

First Mr. Universe
First to be photographed with bare-breasted woman
First to announce on the jay Leno show

what does this say about American democracy

totally unrelated - why would any historian pose the question ???


Richard - 8/11/2003

If you don't like actors, why not run an historian for governor? There are some similarities between politicians and (University) historians: both have that grueling three hour work week, both knock off for summer, Christmas and Easter vacations, plus myriad holidays. For any real work, you have interns instead of TAs, and, once you become an incumbent, you pretty much have lifetime tenure.


Stephen Kriz - 8/11/2003


In my view, the fact that a small, vocal minority can overturn the results of an election is far more troubling than the cretinous Mr. Schwarzenegger. (After all, Gary Coleman and the comedian Gallagher are also on the ballot.)

When 10% of registered voters can force a recal, what is the point of an election anyway? Where does this end? If Ahnold is elected, should Democrats begin an immediate push for recall?

This is just one more symptom of the cynicism and depth of hatred in the right-wing. They are, in fact, the worst sore losers in American political history. They proved this with the relentless push to impeach Bill Clinton, who they tried to hound out of office for eight years on the most specious of charges. It was further demonstrated by Bush v. Gore, the worst and most indefensible Supreme Court decision in history and now with the debacle in California.

We have reached a low water mark in American politics, to where people are going to be so disgusted and horrified, that the vast majority just give up and don't participate anymore. And maybe that is what the hardcore right-wingers ultimately want to happen.....


Fred Flintstone - 8/11/2003


Just wondering.


Jonathan Dresner - 8/11/2003

Mr. Schwarzenegger's (and we'd better get used to spelling that) campaign (if you can call it that yet) isn't substantively different from Alan Autry or Clint Eastwood running for mayor (yes, both were elected), Sonny Bono in congress, US Ambassador Shirley Temple Black or former Cleveland Mayor Jerry Springer....
We know that Schwarzenegger can stick to a script, so once he (or his handlers) have made up their minds, it should run pretty smoothly.

Name recognition, media savvy and money are huge assets in politics; this is nothing new, going back as far as Greek democracies. Amateurs upsetting the "seasoned professionals" is nothing new either.

What will be interesting will be the campaign itself and the result: what are the issues? Are the voters listening? Are there alternative candidates worthy of the silly attention that Schwarzenegger is getting? And will Californians do something interesting and ignore the hype and pollsters and make up their minds themselves based on the issues?


Corevan - 8/11/2003

When the worlds 5th largest economy could be run by Ah-nold we as Americans have failed our founding fathers. They gave us Republic, a government of laws and not of men, and we could not keep it.

On the other hand, most politicians today are no better than actors. They have to make us believe they are who they say they are so we'll vote for them. Ah-nold has to make us believe he is a machine from the future so we will pay money to see his movie.

No wonder the Al-Quade hate us.