Debra J. Saunders

"A lot of it is intentional. There is a certain part of the psyche of these folks in politics that posits that showing up late makes you look more important." South has seen candidates arrive to events on time, then chat on the cell phone so they could make a dramatic, late entrance.

Let me admit, I can be late, too. About once a year, I show up really late for something, and about once a year, I completely blow an appointment. In fact, this year I blew a lunch with Team Arnold's communications director Katie Levinson after I somehow deleted her last name and other info from my Palm Pilot. At least, however, I am duly mortified when I make people go somewhere and wait for me.

Courteous remorse separates me from candidates who show up more than half an hour late for an editorial board meeting but don't even seem to notice they were time-challenged.

Then they expect an endorsement.

As South noted, "If you had an employee who kept showing up 40 minutes or an hour late, he or she wouldn't be working there long." In this case, the governor does work for the people.

You would probably have to go back to the courtly George Deukmejian to find a California governor who tried to run on time. A friend who worked for Deukmejian once told me that he had offered to take some material to Deukmejian's home -- the governor was sick and working at home -- and Deukmejian protested that he didn't want to make a staffer go out of his way.

You can't imagine Schwarzenegger or Davis or Wilson showing that kind of consideration for their staffers. Likewise, I cannot imagine Schwarzenegger thinking about other people's schedules -- instead, he seems happy to treat the public like a cast of extras who are paid to wait.

Debra J. Saunders

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