He’s starred in such films as “The Terminator,” “Junior” and “Kindergarten Cop.” Let’s face it, Arnold Schwarzenegger has never been one to be in movies hailed as, “Brilliant!” or “Oscar-worthy!” Personally, I’ve never really cared much for his machine-gun-and-one-liner-toting action flicks either, but now he’s the governor-elect of California, and ready to be sworn in on Nov. 16.
So is my distaste for testosterone-inflated Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor, enough to warrant pessimism about his future as a governor? My first instinct is: Yes! Get him off the stage now!
But in actuality and fairness, it’s really not. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected as the clear choice among Californians, and as such, deserves the opportunity to prove himself.
What just passed was not just any election, nor just any state’s reigns that have been handed over. In a haphazard race in which anyone with enough signatures and money could run, Californians chose Arnold Schwarzenegger (who announced his candidacy on The Tonight Show).
“How could the people of California be stupid enough to do this to themselves?” you may ask. But they weren’t stupid, just desperate.
Faced with the regular slew of “dirty politicians” and a roster that also included a porn star and Gary Coleman, 3.6 million voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now that he’s been elected, they expect him to fix budget deficits and bring back jobs to the state.
Sure, Arnold’s accustomed to saving the world on the silver screen, but can he really save California from an $8 billion deficit? Well, Arnold seems to think so. During his campaign, he promised not to raise taxes, to repeal the state’s car tax and to leave education funding intact. After the election, he remains just as charismatic and confident – He has announced an audit of the budget in order to eliminate excess spending as the first matter of business under his administration.
However, Schwarzenegger’s plans have been called “big on ambition and short on details,” and it does seem hard to believe that he can save the budget without cutting education or raising taxes. Other challenges that don’t make the situation any easier for the moderate Republin include a legislature dominated by Democrats and voters that lean 65 percent democratic.
This task would be tough for anyone, let alone an action star with no experience in politics. But, we have seen celebrities in politics before. Former president Ronald Reagan was once an actor and former wrestler Jesse Ventura was the governor of Minnesota. I’m not saying that either of them did phenomenal jobs, or that because they pulled it off, Arnold can, just that celebrities in government offices aren’t always definite recipes for disaster.
Who knows, maybe Schwarzenegger will become a good governor. Maybe he’ll have “greatness thrust upon him,” as they say. Whatever happens, though, Conan O’Brien is right – at least we won’t have to see him in another movie for a while.