HIs campaign and early days of governance were filled with promise (I wrote about them for Human Events here and for National Review Online here). But after some conservative initiatives he favored failed at the polls, it became clear that the Terminator had a glass jaw. He gave up -- and it soon became clear that he'd concluded that he couldn't beat the unions and big spenders, so he'd join 'em.
Schwarzenegger's movie star status helped him win election as a Republican in what's become a reflexively "blue" state. But unlike the last actor to occupy California's governor's office, Schwarzenegger cared less about any principles he might once have had than he did about being "loved" by those around him. He needed the adulation, in fact, and he did what he could to win it -- without regard for the welfare of the people who had voted for him.
He's now left office amid the rotten stench of dirty deal-making, commuting the voluntary manslaughter sentence of Esteban Nunez, son of former Assembly leader (and Schwarzenegger buddy) Fabian Nunez.
It's a fitting ending to a disappointing tenure. Schwarzenegger vowed to fight the system, and instead, he weakened to the point that he has come to symbolize its arrogance and worst excesses. Good riddance to the ultimate Governor Girly-Man.