WASHINGTON, D.C.—Governor Terminator is no hero to the chick-flick crowd, but neither is he one of Bush’s weird Christian preacher dudes. He may or may not join the renegade attack on the closed political establishment. Whatever he is, the new governor of California, like Jesse Ventura, is most definitely not politically correct.
The main force behind him were macho men, with the vaunted feminist vote tagging along behind (42 percent of the women voted for Arnold; 49 percent of
the men). A CNN poll showed that voters went for Arnold not because of issues but because of personal attributes, an indication that the ass-pinching accusations didn’t weigh heavily on voters’ minds.
Democrats assailed Schwarzenegger because he had not addressed the issues and has no program. DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe has predicted discontent will be channeled against Bush. Fat chance. The true problem here is that it’s the Dems who have no programs or policies and who have spent the post-Reagan era seeking to imitate conservatives with right-lite policies.
Schwarzenegger’s victory is by no means a victory for Bush Republicanism. Indeed, the Terminator may end up putting Bush in a bind that Ronald Reagan never would have encountered. In the Reagan years, the Republican big tent sheltered all tendencies in the party—anti-government libertarians, old-line main street conservatives, blue-collar former Dem ethnics from burned out Eastern and Midwestern industrial cities, Constitutional constructionists in the Bork mode, along with the Christians.
The Reagan people were usually in control of their own show. They never got down for any one group, as Bush has with the Christians. How Bush is going to mesh the Christian base with Schwarzenegger’s young macho male base could be a tough act to pull off. For showmanship you can’t beat Arnold. Bush’s fake Top Gun landing on an aircraft carrier gets blown away by the Terminator.
As for the Dems, they are doing the same-old same-old: trying to be conservatives who look like liberals or sound like liberals who are really
conservatives. What an irony that the boisterous party of the New and Fair Deals is now consumed with protecting its Washington base. The true public image of the Democratic party is that of a political group out to manipulate the American public at whatever the cost to its corporate owners.
Most Washington Dems in Congress voted for the war and did nothing during the course of the fighting. They slept through Robert Byrd’s pleas to wake up. Fussed and fumed over Enron but did nothing. Didn’t stand up for the UN. Sat passively on their hands while Bush’s vicious inquisition against the citizenry, the Patriot Act, sailed through Congress.
It is typical of the Democratic Party that the candidate contingent squabbles over whteher then Vermont Governor Dean did or did not support Medicare in the mid 1990s, when the state under his leadership actually took steps to ensure that every child had health care. He also put in place modest programs for insuring non-insured adults. Dean made the most horrible mistake of them all. He actually did something. Now his Democratic rivals accuse him of flip-flopping on Medicare policy.
Things like this are what make people turn on the political establishment and vote for a Ventura or a Schwarzenegger.