Reagan's former attorney general and top California aide, Ed Meese, recalls that before Reagan decided to run for governor, he made a series of 10-minute talks around the state, followed by a question-and-answer session that lasted an hour. Meese tells me, "(Reagan) studied briefing books about state government and how it was organized and then he told people what he would do."
Schwarzenegger is part of a political family, but it's the Kennedy family. He is a social liberal and is bound to disappoint conservative Republicans, even if he is the GOP's only hope for getting back in power in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger not only supports abortion on demand, but homosexual adoption and what he has called "sensible gun controls." His political baptism occurred last year when he successfully pushed for a series of before- and after-school programs that will, according to some estimates, cost California taxpayers up to $455 million annually.
After the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, Schwarzenegger seemed to express disgust with the process, saying in a George magazine interview in 1999, "That was another thing I will never forgive the Republican Party for." Another thing? What else is there for which you will not forgive your party, Arnold?
The Schwarzenegger candidacy reminds me of a 50-year-old movie, "A Face in the Crowd," in which some political opportunists take a country hick (played by Andy Griffith) and attempt to turn him into a political powerhouse so he can become president with them pulling his strings.
Schwarzenegger is probably more sophisticated than that film character, but does he have any convictions that differentiate him from Davis and much of the rest of the pack?
To paraphrase the late Desi Arnaz, another actor with a thick accent: Arnold, you've got a lot of 'splainin' to do. You are no Ronald Reagan.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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