August 08, 2003

A Little Bit About Ze Ahnuld

I don't undertand the big deal here. So, the bulky one is running for California governor. So what? So are over 100 other candidates, ranging from Gary Coleman, to pornstar Mary Carey to the equally accent-challenged Ariana Huffington. But, I suppose, during a California recall vote, it's destined to become the most entertaining show on earth. Forget Iraq. Ahnuld's in the race.

As a Minnesotan, I guess I'm relieved to see the political microscope shift several states over, rather than focusing on the train wreck experience that was Jesse Ventura. Yes, I voted for him, and yes, I sincerely apologize. I'd sacrifice a goat and dance naked in its blood if it meant forgiveness. Well, that's not entirely true. At the time, with Mayor Quimby Coleman sitting on one side of Jesse, and Grandpa Skip Humphrey sitting on the other, "The Body" honestly did strike me as the best candidate. But then he was elected, and. . . well, you all know what happened then.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, I remember, quite vividly, watching in amazement the evening Jesse won the governership. There he stood, basking in all the glory you'd expect from an underdog who won an election, and somewhere in the audience, you could hear someone yell the most important question asked of every politician:

"What kind of beer do you drink!?"

I'm not kidding here. I heard it, and the two other people in the room with me heard it. That's when it struck me that the next four years weren't going to be a normal four years.

Such was our cross to bear for electing a celebrity, someone who viewed themself as so infallible, everyone else in the world was totally wrong, even when they were totally right. He was a lunkhead. We elected a lunkhead. A monstrous, self-absorbed, self-promoting, egotistical, fight-picking lunkhead. And it was a damned long four years.

I'm not saying Schwarzenegger is Jesse 2. No. But, Californians should be wary here. If they vote simply via name recognition, which is most certainly going to be the case, they'll discover, as Minnesotans did, that the man they put in office is a political lunkhead and his blunders will be made 8,000 times as bad because of the celebrity spotlight shining on him.

I do think that Arnold will suffer one of the same debilitations as Jesse. Namely, he'll deal with criticism in entirely the wrong way. Rather than try and deal with a problem, he'll go on the defensive and end up in a drawn out and embarrasing shouting match, much like Jesse and the jackals. Arnold, like Jesse before him, isn't used to problems that don't simply go away on their own. Arnold did "Junior," which was a waste of 35 mm film, but all he had to do was lay low and wait until a better script came along to fix the damage. For celebrities, dealing with issues is usually just a matter of waiting until the bad press blows over.

Not so in politics. In politics, the enemies are relentless and are more persistent than telemarketers, and their criticism will come at Arnold on a 24/7 basis, and I don't think Arnold's celebrity ego is prepared for the perpetual assault. Right now, he's enjoying what he's used to enjoying: the attention of the nation. That's just your run-of-the-mill celebrity hubris. These are the good-old days. But it won't be long before Arnold has to answer some truly tough questions, and he won't be able to simply flex his way out of them. He'll be toast. But, he still could get elected through name recognition alone. So, the lesson Arnold will learn is: "I don't have to answer the tough questions after all." And that's when hi-jinx will ensue.

Stay tuned, folks. Arnold may not be Jesse 2, but I think it could be pretty close.

I wonder what kind of beer Arnold drinks.

Posted by Ryan at August 8, 2003 12:27 PM
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