Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Governator

Arnold, of course, was a smash hit tonight. A couple of things:

The GOP is, according to any newspaper or network news broadcast in America, hostile to immigrants (uses them as a wedge issue, doesn't feel the plight of the immigrant, etc. Read the NY Times sometime if this is foreign (haha, punny!) to you). So what a great story Arnold is for the party. I'm a huge Arnold fan, some of it emotional attachment because T2 was my first real theater action movie experience, but also because his biography is probably among the most compelling in American politics, if not THE most compelling. Think of it - born poor in Austria, came to America in his early 20s with nothing (and I mean NOTHING - no help from back home, no job waiting for him), got a degree in business, and so on. What is little known about Schwarzenegger is the fact that he was rich before he got into movies; he started a bricklaying business with some other weightlifters, made money, and then decided to try his hand in Hollywood. If nothing else, this speaks volumes to what people, and more specifically immigrants, can accomplish here in the good ol' US of A. Can you imagine a similar opportunity for someone when they arrived on the shores of, say, Cuba? Of course, no one wants to live in Cuba, despite what some of Arnold's neighbors in the 90210 zip code might tell you. His path to the governor's mansion only illuminates what is so remarkable about America - pretty much anyone can make it (quick note: this is different from everyone SHOULD make it. America, in my mind, should be about removing obstacles to success. That is, anyone is free to succeed in this country; let the individual determine his own degree of prosperity).

But still, Schwarzenegger's story is tremendously compelling - the GOP should be using him as outreach in every single state they can, particularly to cater to immigrants and also to those who are somewhat leery of the stigma that the "Republican" connotates (the Good Old Boy network, if you will). Not only does his star power turn out the masses, but he's a likeable guy (orgy experience nonwithstanding) and, as we saw tonight, a funny and engaging speaker. If I were Ed Gillespie, based on what I saw this evening, I'd be on the phone to Sacremento on Friday morning, trying to work something out with Arnie.


At 3:27 PM, Blogger Tortfeasor said...

Agree re: Schwarzennegar's story. I, for one, was unaware of Arnie's past--didn't realize he had lived under the Soviet occupation and that he was not rich until he moved to America and learned English in his 20s.

What really moved me about Arnie's speech, though, was his explication of what it means to be a Republican. It was clear, straightforward, and hard-hitting, and I believe millions of Americans found themselves nodding their heads in agreement. Too often, we allow the myth that "there is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans" to go unchallenged, when the difference is stark. The GOP is the party through which those united by core conservative principles act politically--the party itself is a means to an end, a way to put those principles into political action. The Democratic Party, however, is about identity politics, a loose conglomeration of interest groups who have found it politically expedient to form a faction so that each group can get its share of favors from Uncle Sam. Arnie did a great job of explaining just what it means to be a Republican--notice he heard the ideas from Nixon first, then proclaimed his identity with the GOP.


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