Jonah Goldberg

Give Governor-elect Schwarzenegger his due. They threw everything at him.

The Los Angeles Times became a journalistic Manhattan project, working late into the night on every possible calculation to nuke the Terminator. Arianna Huffington, the Leona Helmsley of know-nothing liberalism, went after Schwarzenegger in classic Huffington style - like an annoying woman at a cocktail party.

California feminists suddenly remembered that they're against sexual harassment (defined as when a Republican behaves inappropriately). Gray Davis came a hair short of simply declaring that Arnold Schwarzenegger eats puppies. I even saw a factoid on CNN that said Schwarzenegger was accused of being a "Hitler-loving serial groper."

"The Daily Show" on Comedy Central ran a hilarious send-up when it reported that Schwarzenegger had been accused of "inappropriately fondling Hitler."

But at the end of the day, Schwarzenegger's enemies were left to lick their wounds, kick their cats and spin their defeat in uproariously absurd contortions of logic.

Schwarzenegger wasn't my candidate, and I was skeptical of the recall from the outset. But you've got to give him credit for one thing: Considering the array of forces against him, particularly in liberal feminist circles, he actually managed to make his greatest movie line a reality. In "Conan the Barbarian," he was asked, "What is best in life?" and he responded, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!"

Well, by that standard, Schwarzenegger's certainly enjoying the good life. But you can listen to lamentations only so long before you've got to get to work. And he's got a lot of work to do.

Gray Davis spent the last few months battening down every liberal program possible on the sinking kleptocracy he captained. Davis signed laws that were too liberal or expensive - even for him - when his job looked secure, but were easy concessions when he needed the support of gays, unions, Hispanics and the rest of the Democratic base including, no doubt, gay Hispanic union members, but that's not important right now.

What is important now and into the future is that Schwarzenegger will have a hard time undoing any of that. He will have an even harder time undoing the grand edifice of extravagant California liberalism that has been constructed over the last decade and made even more unmanageable by a constant stream of referenda by an electorate that wants lavish services and low taxes.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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