By Joseph Kunkle
By Joseph Kunkle
For Arnold Schwarzenegger, on-camera charisma translates into political capital.
We are truly a nation that values appearances. Dating back to the televised presidential debates in 1960 between pale, sick-looking Richard Nixon, and young, tanned John F. Kennedy, the American obsession with appearance when choosing our leaders has been a fact of life.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, appearing on-camera with his chiseled features and blocky shoulders, is the persona of machismo. This is the kind of ability that can be a powerful asset for a politician to have.
In the recall, puny little girly-man Gray Davis, the limp and lifeless former governor of California, never had a chance against him.
Schwarzenegger’s appearance and his previous exposure in the movies is like political dynamite, and after rising to the top in two appearance-related industries, muscles and movies, he definitely knows how to make a favorable impression; this is what he does best.
The special election on Nov. 8 promises to put his abilities to perform to the supreme test. He has tried to push reform measures like increased probationary terms for teachers and limits on political contributions, but since the State Assembly won’t play ball, he’s taking his agenda to California’s voters through the initiative process.
To promote his measures, he has made copious public appearances and there are clips and streaming radio messages on his Website, http://www.govenor.ca.gov, with his legendary profile in abundance throughout. You really feel like you know and trust this guy, and this is just by appearance; what if he can think too? In California, our cup runneth over.
Do I think he’s a good governor? Considering the man he replaced, I would say “absolutely.” He is a charismatic leader who has the political capital to do many favorable things for our state. I believe that he cares about California in his own way, and while I don’t believe in ever voting “yes” on initiatives without much research, (It is good policy to vote “no” on an initiative that you don’t understand), I still believe that California is better off with him in the governor’s mansion than it would be without him.
So though I think for myself before voting, for political power in other matters, it’s still nice to know that we have a governor who looks intimidating.