Monday, June 22, 2009

Is California’s Budget Crisis Schwarzenegger’s Raw Deal or Total Recall or True Lies or End of Days?

“Stop the protests or risk bloodshed!” he commanded.

No, I don’t mean Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week—I’m talking about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in about a month and a half.

California’s impending bankruptcy isn’t the same as the election in Iran, but it is extremely similar. Back in 2003 when the recall-Gray-Davis-election movement, which was started by Republican Congressman Darryl Issa, who, in his Wikipedia photo, at least, looks like he could play the part of the cross-dressing Corporal Klinger in a remake of M*A*S*H, resulted in action hero slash bad actor slash Kennedy aspirant slash Presidential hopelessful Arnold Schwarzenegger going on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to announce his candidacy for the governorship where he joked, “It’s the most difficult [decision] I’ve made in my entire life, except the one I made in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax”.

Some jokes are simply jokes. However, the old adage is: many truths are spoken in jest. To me, he thought the job would be easier than it has been. I think Hollywood types—and obviously politicians in general—have such big egos and are surrounded by people who tell them what they want to hear that the phrase “completely out of touch with reality” is an understatement of undeterminable proportions.

Another thing Schwarzenegger reportedly told Leno was, “The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing. The man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I am going to run for governor of the state of California.”

Obviously those words made him seem like John Wayne—the tough guy, the protector of the people, the great equalizer (not to be confused with the 80s TV show or the Clash song from side four of Sandinista).

In July 2003, Schwarzenegger told Esquire, “Yes, I would love to be governor of California ... If the state needs me, and if there’s no one I think is better, then I will run.” Anyone I believe who would be good for the job and would understand the job and what California needed and needs would never say they would “love to be governor”. Unless I’m wrong, that statement simply has too much ego at its base. My belief is backed up by the rest of the quote, which is, “if the state needs me”—yeah the state needed Schwarzenegger like an apple pie needs motor oil—continuing on “…if there is no one I think is better…”

He “thinks”???!! What the hell did Schwarzenegger know about what made a good governor??!! Obviously he would not think anyone else was better even if Stallone or Seagal or even Chuck Norris decided to run.

That’s like saying if he finds no Hummer he thinks is better then he will buy the gold one, or, if he finds no cigars he thinks are better then he will smoke the Dutch Masters. That doesn’t mean he could build a Hummer or be a Hummer mechanic. Nor does it mean he could plant, grow, cultivate, cure or roll cigars.

Schwarzenegger met with Karl Rove in April 2003 to discuss his possible run for governor. As everyone knows, Karl Rove was the architect of the worst presidency in U.S. history. That does not bode well for Schwarzenegger no matter whether he could have known what we all know now back then or not. What would Rove know about what made a good governor anyway? What did Rove really know about California’s problems? Schwarzenegger probably only met with him to get some slash and burn campaign tips.

Having Rove involved in your political career is like adding the entire contents of a lava lamp (my mini-trib to SNL) to your Cap’n Crunch. It doesn’t make for a healthy breakfast. Rove certainly didn’t know what made a better America no matter who was his candidate. These guys don’t care about what’s best, they only care about winning and controlling. Political operatives are like pirates and American politics is like a vast ocean. And we were held hostage for the past eight years—and they weren’t even Somalis.

Before Schwarzenegger, California was the seventh biggest economy in the world. After Schwarzenegger California will be like a third world country. And Schwarzenegger is Austrian. It would be different if Austria was a third world country, then we could understand that ruination was in his genes. But his father was a Nazi. Oh, wait, ruination is in his genes.

It seems both Bush and Schwarzenegger inherited governments that were better than they left them, although Schwarzenegger hasn’t left yet. Is that modern Republicanism at its best?

If I seem passionate about this without knowing Schwarzenegger’s record or the issue in depth, it’s because I am. I’m an American, damn it. Plus, in the real non-blog world, I manage an apartment building in Hollywood occupied by many senior citizens who have found their social security benefits cut twice in three months. Plus I have two commercial tenants who provide health care services to seniors who may be forced out of business when California goes bankrupt in August and cannot fund Medi-Cal.

Why are seniors suffering? Why is Schwarzenegger cutting firefighters, teachers and nurses? Does he really have to close state parks? And in 2004 didn’t he force Indians to give up more?—typical European.

I remember during the 2003 campaign, Schwarzenegger noted as one of his qualifications that he ran a business and signed paychecks. Well, California seniors sign checks too. They sign checks to pay the light bill, to pay for food and to pay for medicine. All that seems to qualify them for is to continue to suffer under his governorship.

On August 6th, the sixth anniversary of Schwarzenegger’s announcement on Leno, when you watch TV and see the streets filled with angry mobs, demanding what the government refused to provide, marching in defiance of the presence of the police and armed soldiers prepared to fire upon the citizens they were sworn to protect and serve, as overturned automobiles burn and shots are fired, remember it isn’t Teheran. It’s Sacramento, and San Francisco, and San Diego, and Los Angeles.

More about the current effort to recall Schwarzenegger, more about May’s special election to solve the budget crisis and more about Schwarzenegger’s dire non-scare tactics scare tactics (my mini trib to “All the President’s Men”), next week.