Things were not going well for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The recall debate had started off badly. Schwarzenegger looked surprised when the moderator asked him for an opening statement; he then proceeded to flub his way through a convoluted speech about Hiram Johnson and the origins of the California recall.
On the next question, Schwarzenegger uttered a series of platitudes about the evils of California's workers' compensation system. The shallowness of Schwarnegger's response was highlighted by Tom McClintock's ultra-articulate explanation of the workers' comp problem.
Tom McClintock was poised to make big strides. Arnold was poised to blow his big opportunity.
And then, Arianna Huffington opened her big mouth.
Now, Arianna never had any intention of winning the recall race. She was in the recall race to sell her book, an anti-corporation, anti-Bush administration diatribe titled "Pigs at the Trough." During the debate, Arianna mentioned Enron twice, Global Crossing twice, corporate tax loopholes five times, the Bush administration three times, and her book twice. When Arianna spoke, it was difficult to tell whether you were watching the Home Shopping Network or a political debate.
Arianna was so obnoxious that viewers couldn't help but pray she would spontaneously combust. After seeing Arianna's debate performance, Keith Larson of WBT Radio in North Carolina put it best: "Michael Huffington's change of orientation could rightly be labeled justifiable homosexuality."
But easily the most obnoxious aspect of Arianna's performance was her emphasis on her gender. She wore a blouse with a neckline plunging somewhere south of Antarctica. She touted herself as the only candidate able to bring "the priorities of a mother" to Sacramento (never mind that Arianna's own children moved out of her house and into the house of their gay father because they opposed Arianna's campaign).
Then, Arnold got his opportunity. Arianna started a bare-knuckles brawl with Arnold. After being asked a question about the California car tax, Huffington launched into a nonsensical attack on the Bush administration's education policy. Schwarzenegger interrupted: "Arianna, we're talking about the car tax right now and not about education." Arianna responded: "Let me finish. Let me finish. Let me finish. You know, this is completely impolite, and we know this is how you treat women, and we know that, but not right now." The crowd, apparently trucked in from the "Jerry Springer Show," ooohed in anticipation.
Arnold fired back: "I would like to say that I just realized that I have a perfect part for you in 'Terminator 4.' That's it." Pow.