Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Farewell To The Gropenator

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Mr. Universe and star of such movies as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator, ran for Governor of California in 2003, after Governor Gray Davis fell victim to a recall election.  Voters smitten with Schwarzenegger's star power and musculature overlooked his utter lack of qualifications for office.  They also ignored reports from six women who revealed they been groped by him over the course of three decades.

Schwarzenegger proved to be a disaster as Governor.  With no understanding of how to work with legislators, he tried to push through policies through heavy-handed tactics, gimmicks and ultimatums, alienating Democrats and Republicans alike.  His first act upon taking office was to repeal the restoration of vehicle registration fees, resulting in the loss of billions of dollars in state revenue, which has played no small role in California's budget woes.  He rigidly refused calls to raise taxes, even on the very wealthy, preferring to gut social programs as a way to reduce the deficit.  He was not committed to public education, reportedly refusing to ever step foot in a public school.  While he was relatively moderate on some social issues, including gay rights, he was awful when it came to criminal justice.  He inexcusably vetoed modest bi-partisan reforms aimed at avoiding wrongful convictions.  Three men were executed after he denied them clemency, including most infamously, Stanley "Tookie" Williams.  After Schwarzenegger refused to stop Williams' execution, citizens of his hometown in Austria removed his name from their local sports stadium. By the time he left office, Gov. Schwarzenegger had a disapproval rating of 70%.

We now learn that Schwarzenegger cheated on his wife and fathered a child with the family's housekeeper more than a decade ago.  If only this had been uncovered before the 2003 election.  California voters presumably would have been more offended than they were by allegations of his 30 years of sexual assault and humiliation of women, and would have relegated him to making more bad movies these past seven-plus years instead of bad policy.


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