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October 18, 2013

The Dumbest Post of the Day

This really should have been my slumpbuster: Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to run for president, and he wants either an Amendment to the Constitution to permit this, or he wants to attempt a legal challenge to a clear and unchallengeable statement in the Constitution.

One source said: “Schwarzenegger has been talking openly about working on getting the constitutional rules changed so he can run for president in 2016. He is ready to file legal paperwork to challenge the rules.”


Columbia University Law School professor Michael Dorf, an expert in constitutional law, said about the Governator’s case in 2007, “The law is very clear, but it’s not 100 percent clear that the courts would enforce that law rather than leave it to the political process.”

There are a few problems with a Schwarzenegger run, apart from the fact that it's flat-out illegal.

There is the little matter of his love-child with his maid (?), for example. Scandals are no longer automatically disqualifying in candidates, but they don't help. There were already unsavory claims about Schwarzenegger's treatment of women before that, too, claims people will probably now be inclined to take more seriously.

Then there's this: His governorship of California is widely adjudged to be either a disappointment or a failure, and such assessments are bipartisan. Tripartisan, actually, when you consider that Libertarians (his natural constituency) also were disappointed in his work as governor.

This old Reason article by Tim Cavanaugh makes the best case possible for Schwarzenegger as a partial success as Governor, but the author is fairly unconvinced himself.

So is there a case for Gov. Schwarzenegger? Here’s my best defense:

First, as Abraham Lincoln said of Ulysses Grant, “He fights.” Schwarzenegger’s time in office has been marked by almost constant public struggles with teachers, prison guards, nurses, and walk-on players like the preening Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and the obstructionist Controller John Chiang. Schwarzenegger, a lifelong dealmaker, is nevertheless willing to fire heavy weapons at his opponents....

Schwarzenegger is also willing to say the holiest word in any politician’s vocabulary: no. He has set yearly state records for percentages of bills vetoed, memorably adding an acrostic F-bomb in the memo accompanying his rejection of a Port of San Francisco boondoggle....

“He’s helped us more than he’s harmed us, for sure,” says Marcia Fritz, president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility.


Finally, while Schwarzenegger failed to shrink government, he did limit its growth.

These are indeed good things. So I'm personally inclined to put Schwarzenegger in the "disappointment" column, rather than the "failure" one.

But the only way the Constitution would be altered to permit a Schwarzenegger bid were if he were such a towering figure -- the Only Man Capable of Saving America -- that the public would demand it.

But he's not. He was, at best, a somewhat competent governor who picked some fights on spending and had partial success in those fights, and partial failures. He also has no substantial constituency at all, having thwarted the Blue State Government Goons on spending and raises for public employees, and having thwarted conservatives on high-profile lobbying for gay marriage and The Crucial Fight Against Global Warming.

So who, apart from Schwarzenegger, seriously entertains this idea, apart from Michael Bloomberg?

Update: Actually, here's where I am most disappointed:

The hope of Schwarzenegger was that he could leverage his star-power and charisma to become a Reagan-esque promoter of Milton Freeman style economics and general political liberty. That is, that he could mainstream an ideology of liberty which the reactionary leftist media, academic, and government classes are determined to delegitimize and Otherize.

I would give f***-all about his mixed record on specific spending items in California if he managed to do that.

The battle for people's minds is more important than any battle over any budget.

Not only did he definitely not manage to do that, I'm not even sure he tried particularly hard. The only thing I have any memory of him talking about is the Statist imperative to Fight Global Warming.

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posted by Ace at 03:41 PM

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