Editorial by John Ziegler

Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Is the "Manchurian Candidate"

3/4/2004

Arnold the 'Manchurian Candidate'

When Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor of California I was conflicted. On the one hand, I was disturbed that a man with almost no qualifications could become the leader of the largest state in the union during a time of financial crisis almost entirely because of his wealth and celebrity.

On the other hand, I honestly felt that he was a smart and sincere man who genuinely had the best interests of the state at heart. I thought maybe, as strange as it seems, that perhaps a rich action movie star who is beholden to no one and with nothing to lose was the bizarre but plausible answer to the state's seemingly impossible quandary (heck, we didn't have many other realistic choices!).

In short, I was willing to take Schwarzenegger at his word that he was not going to be a politician and that he would only do what he thought was best for the state for which he has often expressed his deep gratitude and love.

While it is still far to early to evaluate the success of the Schwarzengger experiment (and I am still wishing him the best), I have recently come to the conclusion that Arnold Schwarzengger is not what he claims to be. In fact, he may actually be the nearly the exact opposite of how he has portrayed himself.

In 1962, there was a movie 'The Manchurian Candidate' (a remake starring Denzel Washington is about to be released) in which foreign communists nearly pull off an American coup by getting a Senator they control to be nominated as Vice-President after he gained notoriety through his McCarthy-like anti-communist crusade. In the end, the plot to assassinate the Presidential candidate is foiled by Frank Sinatra and the Republic is saved.

I now believe that Arnold Schwarzengger is Republican Party's version of the Manchurian Candidate. No, I don't think Arnold is part of some sort of plot by the Austrian government to take over the United States. However, I have concluded Arnold has come to power touting himself as philosophically as a socially moderate Republican who was the ultimate anti-politician.

Imagine if you will if BEFORE the recall election you were told that the winner would end up doing the following things in their first few months in office?

That the Governor would treat the most qualified candidate with the highest approval ratings, Republican Tom McClintock, as if he was an extremist from another party.

That the winner would repeal driver's licenses for illegal aliens, but then secretly negotiate with liberal Democrats to negotiate their reinstatement.

That he would remain silent for almost a week as San Francisco performs clearly illegal gay marriages sponsored by the Mayor there (at one point asking the press not to ask him about it), and then go on the 'Tonight Show' to declare that he is for changing the law to allow gay marriages.

That he would agree to remain silent on the extremely liberal and dangerous Proposition 56 (even though he was rightfully opposed to it) so that the California Teachers Association would support him on his plan to borrow 15 billion dollars.

That he would allow his photo to be used to support a 12.3 billion dollar school bond issue from which the vast majority of Republican voters would never benefit.

That he would break his promise to not endorse a candidate for U.S. Senate and, in a political payback, would back a man whose name he would not even utter during his primary election victory speech. All of which would provide Barbara Boxer with an easy opponent, which just happens to please this Governor's in-laws.

That the winner of the recall would, with Diane Feinstein and other top Democrats by his side, persuade the state to borrow 15 billion dollars to build nothing but instead to simply paper over debt.

And that, finally, that person would do on the 'Tonight Show' and be super chummy with Grey Davis (whom he claimed during the campaign was the cause of he destruction of the state he loves) and then brag about how female members of the Kennnedy family nagged him into reversing himself on particular budget cuts.

If someone had told you all of that was going to happen, would you have voted for this person? Perhaps you would have. But certainly, not even the LA Times could possibly call this person an apolitical, moderate Republican.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has proven himself to be masterful at getting what he wants and getting both parties to go along. Some may find those qualities admirable and these tactics may turn out to be highly successful.

But the fact remains that he is not what he claims to be and while the Republican Party may be enjoying the perception that their man is in charge, the reality is that the Arnold Schwarzenegger is just as much a politician as Bill Clinton and is governing in a manner which is as least as liberal.

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