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Schwarzenegger contemplates political run

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted June 30, 2003

Arnold Schwarzenegger jokes, "My kids are normal kids. They go to the mall and pass out recall petitions".

And, on a recent "Tonight" show, Schwarzenegger facetiously remarked to Jay Leno, "There is no money over there (in Iraq). There's no leadership – pretty much like California." Rapper Snoop Dogg was also on the program and promptly dubbed Schwarzenegger "The Notorious GOP" in good fun.

Watch out Governor Davis! Auh-nuld might indeed be gearing up to "terminate" your political career in the state of California. Clearly, Schwarzenegger is testing the political waters at this juncture.

The California recall effort is in full swing, with proponents claiming to have garnered over 700,000 of the 900,000 signatures required to hold a special election challenging Governor Gray Davis. And, if the conditions are right, Arnold Schwarzenegger appears poised to throw his hat into the ring and declare his candidacy for the California governorship. According to a June 27th Associated Press piece, "Schwarzenegger's advisers have said he will decide whether to run after the July 2nd release of his movie (Terminator 3), and only if it becomes clear that an effort underway to recall Gov. Gray Davis will qualify for the ballot". Californians are understandably peeved that Davis took the reins of office in good stead with surplus monies in state coffers, and managed to create a mind-boggling deficit of over $38 billion.

I absolutely adore Arnold Schwarzenegger and what he projects -- from his movies, to his larger-than-life persona and trenchant philosophy that epitomizes the "can do" rugged individualism of conservatism. The guy is incredibly impressive, possessing the charisma, brains and tenacity that have made him a winner in life. If he wants to be Governor of California, I have no doubt that he'll succeed. In fact, it's widely acknowledged that Schwarzenegger would be a natural in the political arena, given his overwhelming appeal that's sure to generate enthused voters, especially among Californians that have grown weary of the inept and dull Gov. Gray Davis. And Schwarzenegger is much more than a movie star – he's a substantive person who has been associated with Republican politics and notable causes for many years.

First, let's look at Schwarzenegger's career in entertainment. I don't think anyone would dispute that Schwarzenegger is among the preeminent figures of the action/adventure and science fiction genres, given his numerous hit movies including Conan the Barbarian, Predator, Commando, Running Man, Total Recall, True Lies, and the Terminator trio. As a sci-fi aficionado, I can't wait to see Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which is due out this week. Yes, those dastardly androids/robots are still bent on destroying mankind and taking over the world. Enter Auh-nuld to the rescue, and, if I might I add, in fabulous shape for a cinema idol in his mid-fifties. Reportedly, the film is replete with thrilling special effects.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a storied past that is genuinely fascinating, and clearly worthy of a Hollywood film plot. He discovered his love for bodybuilding as a young teenager, and developed a concomitant competitive spirit that has served him well to this day. Schwarzenegger won a series of Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia top bodybuilding titles that he smartly used as a springboard to launch his cinema career. The rest is Hollywood history, as they say.

Schwarzenegger speaking at a press conference about the opening of the World Special Olympics 2003 in Dublin on June 21
Schwarzenegger speaking at a press conference about the opening of the World Special Olympics 2003 in Dublin on June 21

He then parlayed his fame and influence for excellent causes, such as his involvement in The Inner-City Games and The Special Olympics for the disabled. Schwarzenegger poignantly noted that, "You think when you come here, you're the big star, you're going to inspire them... but in the end, with their courage, they are the ones who've inspired you." And Schwarzenegger, a 1979 graduate of the University of Wisconsin (Superior), has been working closely with the Bush administration on behalf of children. He's vitally involved in the "After-School Summit", assisting Education Secretary Rod Paige in evaluating after-school programs and determining those that are of "high quality", and which make a "real difference" in encouraging youth to achieve their "full potential".

Schwarzenegger is married to television journalist Maria Shriver, a prominent member of the Kennedy clan, which is among the foremost political families in America. The couple has four children. And this is a couple that truly appears to love each other, and has a traditional marriage that Americans can readily relate to, unlike the questionable Clinton "marriage" that's predicated upon a political partnership.

When discussing a possible run for public office, a cautionary note is always in order for prospective candidates. Unfortunately, character assassination is the blood-sport of politics. And certainly, Mr. Schwarzenegger must be prepared for the smears and nastiness, which are systematically heaped upon both candidates and potential candidates, by opposing camps. However, in this post-Clinton world, and in light of the continuing revelations about the womanizing of JFK and other politicos for that matter, the public has reached a certain level of emotional exhaustion on sensationalism and tabloid matters. Ironically, repeated verbal assaults have the effect of "inoculating" or desensitizing the electorate to such claims, which might be, in fact, the only silver lining for beleaguered candidates.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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