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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns contain satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. Informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
My rebellious side tells me not to write today about California’s gubernatorial recall, but it is so delectable.
Who could resist reporting that some Californians already are referring to Arnold Schwarzenegger as “The Governator?”
And who can resist a candidate with the kind of charm and humor we haven’t seen since – dare we say it? – Ronald Reagan?
Gov. Gray Davis will never agree to debate Schwarzenegger, because the gov knows his nasty style just won’t play against an opponent as quick with a quip as Conan the Republican. Arnold is witty and disarming in a way that confounds and befuddles his critics.
For example, when shock jock Howard Stern noted that Schwarzenegger had smoked marijuana in one of his early, body-building movies, the actor deftly reminded the audience of the dissembling Bill Clinton, replying, “Yes, but I inhaled.”
Watch for the same kind of parry and riposte when somebody asks him about his alleged womanizing.
Yours truly almost never watches NBC’s “Today Show,” but I was surfing around, looking for Arnold news, and tuned in just in time to hear anchorwoman Katie Couric ask if it would hurt Schwarzenegger when people learned his dad had been a member of the Nazi Party. Then she went on to list every “bad” thing she could think of – all in the form of a question, of course.
Why don’t we just ask if Couric’s children will suffer when people discover their mom was a talking head on television?
On the other hand, Davis is getting some media support he probably could live without.
It’s in the nature of the politician who encounters a friend who says, “A bunch of fellows were criticizing you, but I stuck up for you.”
“Thanks,” says the politician. “What did you say.”
And his friend replies, “I told them you couldn’t help it.”
More helpful to the gov was the pass the media gave him during the recent budget debates. The gov said, essentially, that he didn’t have anything to do with it because writing the budget was the job of the Legislature.
Never mind that Davis, as head of the California Democratic Party, could have engaged in constructive arm twisting. The salient fact is, the Golden State has conferred upon the governor the line-item veto. He can cut spending if he wants, where he wants.
One governor who had no trouble blue-lining budget items was Ronald Reagan. (There’s that name again.)
By now everybody knows Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante shattered the facade of Democratic Party solidarity by announcing he would run for governor in the recall election. Folks outside California, however, probably don’t know there has been bad blood between the pair for years, with Bustamante perceiving – and actually receiving – many a slight from Gov. Gray.
Back to the movies: Arnold probably could terminate just about all of his opponents, but I wouldn’t recommend a physical tussle with John Garamendi. California’s insurance commissioner was an all-star football player and champion heavyweight wrestler at Cal.
And are there any other heavyweights in the race?
One Republican who actually has the credentials to be governor is state Sen. Tom McClintock. He’s smart and personable, but the media probably have doomed him by branding him “right wing” – for espousing policies that were pretty much middle-of-the-road not too long ago. As for the others:
Columnist-commentator Ariana Huffington would have to go on a high-carb diet to move up to middleweight.
Rep. Darrell Issa? Too many negatives.
Bill Simon? Why does “bonehead” come to mind?
Larry Flynt? The thought is obscene.
Gary Coleman? Lacks stature.
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley probably had the best line on the plethora of politicians – or would-be politicians – who may join the race. Noting hundreds had taken out papers, he said, “We’ll have to see how many are certifiable.”
He added he didn’t mean mentally, but as candidates, but … point taken, Kevin.