Via Richard – UK, another poster at PeoplesForum. I grew up and lived in California for almost thirty years, so what happens there is particularly interesting to me, so I feel a happy little glow to see Arnie getting his comeuppance.
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
21 April 2005
Most politicians would regard a 17-month honeymoon as an unimaginable gift from the heavens. But, in the case of Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose aura of invincibility has been part of his public image since he first ran for governor of California, the end of the honeymoon is not only proving a letdown. It is rapidly transforming him from public hero to public enemy and raising questions about whether he has a political future at all.
Having campaigned two years ago as “the people’s governor”, Mr Schwarzenegger now faces a barrage of opposition from those very same people who voted for him so enthusiastically – nurses, firefighters, teachers, parents, recent immigrants – almost all of whom he has managed to alienate through ill-chosen words or over-provocative policy prescriptions.
Yesterday, the governor’s staff was furiously backtracking from a speech Mr Schwarzenegger gave to a newspaper association convention in San Francisco, in which he urged the federal government to “close the borders” with Mexico to put an end to illegal immigration.
Not only did that statement put him considerably to the right of President Bush, who has proved quite progressive when it comes to managing and protecting the immigrant labour force. It was also widely interpreted as pandering to an extreme, quasi-racist position entirely out of step with the Californian mainstream. The fact Mr Schwarzenegger is an immigrant did not help matters.
It was the latest in a series of gaffes and gratuitously insulting remarks that Mr Schwarzenegger has made in public recently. The state’s nurses are still fuming at his vow to “kick their butts” because they want to increase nurse-to-patient ratios. And the state’s Democrats, who run most things outside of the governor’s office, have broken off their once cosy relationship with him, not least because he accused them of being “girlie men”.