Arnold vs. Tea Partiers

Although he’s always had a sense of humor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nowadays is producing laughter in a different way: as an object of ridicule. Instead of laughing with him, we’re laughing at him. And it’s going to be that way for the rest of his life.

The latest round of chuckles comes from his appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” He said:

The tea party is not going to go anywhere. I think the tea party is all about just an expression of anger and dissatisfaction,” he said. “And I see it in California when people come up to me and says, ‘You know I am angry that you guys don’t get along in Sacramento, I am angry that they are not getting along in Washington, I am angry that nothing gets done, I am angry that I am unemployed, I am angry that people are losing homes, I am angry that businesses are losing their businesses and all of those kind of things and the economy is down.

That’s amusing because seven years ago proto-Tea Partiers recalled Gov. Gray Davis and brought Arnold to power. Without that rage, he never would have become governor. For years, Arnold hinted at running for either governor or U.S. Senator (never for a measly seat in the state Legislature or U.S. House). But he didn’t run because he would have had to face the gauntlet of a GOP primary. Pro-life voters, especially, would have opposed him because he’s pro-choice.

The recall offered him the perfect opportunity because there was no primary. During the campaign, he ran on Tea Party themes: throw the bum out, “terminate” the budget excesses, “blow up the boxes” of government waste, repeal Davis’ illegal car tax.

Once in office, he made a fatal mistake: He should have put on the special March 2004 election ballot an initiative restoring the Gann Limit, which would have limited state spending to increases in inflation plus population growth. Had he done so, it would have been passed by voters, California’s perennial budget quandary would have been solved, and he could have coasted through the rest of his time in office. Instead, he put on the ballot a $15 billion bond measure that only postponed real solutions, as we’ve learned the hard way the past two years.

If he were running today, Republicans would not nominate him. And if he ran as an independent, he would be lucky to get 20% of the vote in November.

His state Web sites all brand him as “The people’s governor.” But that’s the last thing he is. The people ousted Davis. The people elected him on his promises to cut taxes and cut government. He did the opposite. So now the people — and not just the Tea Partiers — are opposed to him.

Mr. Arnold Shriver-Kennedy

It’s obvious what Arnold is doing now: Kissing up to Obama to get a new job, maybe as an ambassador, maybe as head of EPA or the Dept. of HHS or the Dept. of the Inferior. He’s married into America’s Royals, the Kennedys, who backed Obama. So there’s no way he’s going to oppose Obama — on anything.

Listen to him from the Sunday show:

I don’t want to beat up on my Republican colleagues [yes he does], but I think it’s kind of politics rather than thinking about only one thing, and this is, how do we support the president? How do we support him and do everything we can in order to stimulate the economy?

He was right in other comments to attack Republicans for criticizing Obama on the bailouts, while trying to glom onto as much of it as they can for their home states and districts.

Yet it’s obvious he’s looking to his next job. If he ever can get a Lt. Gov. confirmed by the Legislature, I suspect he just might bolt before his term is up and get a job with Obama. If it happens soon enough, that also would stick the interim governor with this year’s budget mess.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

–John Seiler

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