So Long, Arnold

Arnold the Mighty, fearless defender of wealth and privilege.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s term as Governor of California has ended. He leaves that state the same way he found it, mired in a budget crisis. Schwarzenegger could always have solved that crisis by raising the income tax rate on the richest one percent of Californians, but he steadfastly refused, on principle, to do such a thing. You may recall that several years ago there was a lot of talk of Arnold running for president. There was talk of amending the Constitution so that someone born outside the U.S. could become president. That’s all gone now. Arnold sacrificed his political career just so the richest people in California wouldn’t have to pay higher taxes.

What a guy.

You may recall that Arnold was elected as part of the recall of Governor Gray Davis. Peter Camejo ran as the Green Party candidate in that election. He ran on a solidly left-wing platform, and he actually received a fair amount of attention from the media, something virtually unheard of for a left-wing candidate in the U.S. A strong showing by Camejo would have sent a powerful message. However, some on the left started screaming that Schwarzenegger is a fascist – which he isn’t – and that was enough to stampede people back into the Democratic Party’s fold. So leftists wasted their votes trying to save the sorry ass of the corrupt and incompetent Davis. Once again, we see the self-defeating effect of the “lesser evil” argument.

Arnold’s successor is Jerry Brown, on whom Alexander Cockburn has a man-crush. In his inaugural address, Brown said, “The year ahead will require courage and sacrifice.” I assume he means courage and sacrifice on the part of the working class. Isn’t that always the way it is?

Now Arnold can go back to doing what he does best, which is appearing in action movies. Note that I said “appearing” and not “acting”. This is a guy who gets paid millions of dollars just to show up for film shoots. A lot of working class people voted for Arnold, yet it was too much to hope that someone with his background would have any sympathy or understanding for people who actually work for a living.

When Stan Tookie Williams was facing execution, Arnold could have done the courageous thing and commuted his sentence, but Mr. Action Hero is actually a coward. Another example of the gap between reality and dreams in Hollywood.

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