Schwarzenegger's Sad Legacy

Steven Greenhut: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger betrayed the state and yet we’re supposed to be surprised that he also betrayed his family. It wasn’t that long ago that Schwarzenegger was touted by California Republicans as the last hope to save the party and the state, but we learned as early as 2005 the Governator’s principles were as malleable as his ethics. Remember, though, when Republicans were furious at the Los Angeles Times for printing a front-page story before his election about the groping allegations? Now, many of the same people are tsk-tsking the former governor and relying on the Times’ latest revelations.

Schwarzenegger never had any real free-market principles. His talk about Milton Friedman was never very deep. His first political effort was an initiative that provided government funding for after-school programs. He shifted from right to left as effortlessly as most of us change lanes on the freeway.

The real scandal from Arnold was his commutation of the prison sentence for former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez’s son, Esteban, who stabbed a man at a party in San Diego while his fellow thug killed another young man during the same brawl. Schwarzenegger didn’t do this out of any apparent sense of justice – but out of loyalty to his friend. Schwarzenegger was always about power and influence. He championed himself as a friend of the People, but he always sided with big developers, big unions, big political players. Would a regular Joe have his son’s voluntary manslaughter sentence commuted? Of course not. That’s only for powerful friends.

I recall once when he detailed why he loved America so much – because it is a powerful nation. That told me all I needed to know about Schwarzenegger. He loves power, not justice or decency or honor or freedom. He used political principles to advance his personal pursuit of power. He achieved fame and fortune and then was catapulted into a powerful position. He then squandered his opportunity, leaving his party, his friends and now his family in worse straits than had he never pursued this position. After meeting with him at the Orange County Register in those heady recall days, I predicted that Schwarzenegger would leave a mark on the state, that he would be a major figure that epitomized the California Dream.

I was so wrong. He left public office after having accomplished very little and after leaving a path of destruction. I liked some of his movies and figure that he is heading back to the world he belongs.

Let Schwarzenegger’s failure be a warning to others who believe that they can create a legacy through politics.

MAY 18

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  1. Sol
    Sol 18 May, 2011, 18:19

    All you need to know about Ahhnode is what he told US News in 1990:

    “My relationship to power and authority is that I’m all for it.”


    “Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave.”

    I remember thinking when he announced he was running in the recall election that his running would kill whatever chance McClintock had of winning and that Ahnode would win overwhelmingly. I voted for McClintock anyway.

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