View From Lodi, CA: President Schwarzenegger—Maybe
so impressive that political insiders immediately
began to speculate about what his odds might be if he
were to become a candidate for president in 2008.
If Schwarzenegger is interested—and
his friends say he is—at least two hurdles await him.
First, Schwarzenegger must be
re-elected California governor in 2006. But since his
likely opponent is democratic State Treasurer Phil
Angelides, Schwarzenegger would seem a shoo-in.
Nothing turns voters off more than
dreary green eyeshade types like Angelides
droning on about budget deficits and the looming
Schwarzenegger`s second challenge
is the U.S. Constitution. Passing an
amendment to allow
naturalized legal immigrants who have lived in the
US for two decades or more to become presidential
candidates might not be easy—especially without
Democratic support. But for the sake of this column,
let`s assume the hypothetical amendment passes.
Here is a tally-sheet of
Schwarzenegger`s assets and liabilities as a
On the plus side:
- As the Governor of California,
Schwarzenegger starts with
54 electoral votes in his hip pocket, a nice
cushion to start off with.
- Schwarzenegger is a famous
national figure. In an era where the majority of the
electorate seems disengaged from politics,
Schwarzenegger brings out the voters. In the 2003
California recall election, voter turnout was
63%—more than 13% higher than the typical voter
- No state politician in memory
has been as
adept at fund raising as Schwarzenegger. In a
little more than a year, he has raised $30 million—a
pace that leaves his predecessor Gray Davis, widely
criticized for overseeing a money machine operation,
in the dust. Last week, in Bakersfield, Schwarzenegger
raked in $600,000 at a single dinner.
- Schwarzenegger has friends in
high places. Witness how his wife, Maria Shriver,
helped his gubernatorial effort.
- Unlike President Bush or his
democratic challenger John Kerry, Schwarzenegger has
personality. In Bakersfield, when questioned about the
heavy security surrounding the building,
“We want to make sure no one gets in without a
- Schwarzenegger would be able to
draw from his immigrant experiences—“the
American dream”—to attract voters from most
- Schwarzenegger could run as a
non-Bush Republican. While Schwarzenegger said good
things about Bush in New York, he cautiously
avoided any criticism of Democrat John Kerry
Schwarzenegger instead urged people who
"don`t agree with this party on every single issue"
to “join the party anyway.”
By 2008, whether Bush wins or loses
in 2004, a close affiliation with the Bush White House
might be a political liability—especially if the war in
Iraq continues poorly.
not to campaign on behalf of Bush in Ohio
immediately following the convention is telling. Any
overly enthusiastic endorsement of the Bush presidency
or activism on his behalf could come back to haunt
On the minus side:
- What will California look like
in 2008? The state will have added another 2.5 million
people to its population, pushing it close to 40
million people. More than half those new residents
will rely heavily on social services. Population
growth is the
single largest problem facing California—and is
ignored by Schwarzenegger.
- Following the above bullet
point, by 2008 California will be an urban nightmare.
Since the mid-1990s, California has 5 million more
cars on the road. Three of the five most congested
communities are in California—Los Angeles, the San
Francisco Bay area and the Inland Empire. Yet
California ranks last among the 50 states in spending
for traffic related problems.
financial crisis is a smoldering volcano. Although
Schwarzenegger used his powers of persuasion to
convince voters to pass the
$15 billion bond issue in March, using new layer
of debt to retire existing liabilities only delays the
The K-12 system is a chronic failure. California
spends billions to build new school but still cannot
keep up with the need for more classrooms. Yet those
who graduate increasingly need remedial courses in the
state college system.
- In what could be the beginning
of a major problem for California,
middle class wage earners are
moving out. Spurred on by the strong housing
market, frustrated Californians are
selling their homes and moving to more
affordable locations with a better
quality of life.
Schwarzenegger`s political future
depends in large part about what happens to the
once Golden State.
Right now, Schwarzenegger is still
on his political honeymoon but it will be over long
before 2008 rolls around.
Unless California can turn around
virtually every social crisis it faces, Schwarzenegger`s
hopes for the White House will go down the drain along
with the state.
TO VDARE.COM READERS: One thing clear in
Schwarzenegger`s brief year as Governor is that he is
not going to sign a driver`s license bill
for illegal aliens.
Schwarzenegger left California for New York, a wild
rumor circulated on the Internet that Lt. Gov Cruz
Bustamante would take advantage by submitting the bill
to the legislature for a vote. That never developed
Instead, two weeks ago when Schwarzenegger returned, he
vetoed the bill without hesitation.
Schwarzenegger may be a political rookie. But he has
more savvy than his predecessor, Gray Davis, about how
Californians feel about licenses for aliens.