ALPERN AT LARGE - Well, now we know that the Governator has “terminated” any and all shreds of decency and obligation to the people of California. That farewell gesture he’s giving us is not “we’re number one!”
It’s the middle finger.
After years of being “Bush-Whacked” and “Obaminated”, and after years of being smacked upside the head by voters and Legislators of both parties, it’s clear that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the penultimate governmental outsider, was leaving his term of office as the penultimate governmental insider because he owed us nothing.
He performed his two terms of office for virtually no pay (something a lot of us forget), and clearly we got our money’s worth.
For those who’ve lived entirely outside the reach of the media, the blogosphere and talk radio, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a recent interview to Newsweek that will confirm all that we suspected when he reduced former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez’s son Esteban Nunez’s prison sentence for the death of Luis Santos from 16 to 7 years.
Although he acknowledged he knew it would cause disappointment and anger, he did not regret the decision, noting his working relationship with Fabian Nunez in justifying the decision: “Well, hello! I mean, of course you help a friend.” (Link) Perhaps he lost “Total Recall” of why voters elected him to replace the ultimate weasel of a politician, Gray Davis?
Well, now Arnold Schwarzenegger is the weasel who’s betrayed both his supporters as well as his critics by this last-second commutation, which was done abruptly and without any forenotice in a manner that does not normally happen with gubernatorial legal pardons and prison sentence reductions.
It was corrupt, pure and simple, and put a terrible exclamation point at the end of what increasingly appears to be one of the most failed gubernatorial terms of office in recent memory.
It is not Schwarzenegger’s sole doing, but the absolute Democratic sweep of electoral offices is clearly one of our ex-governor’s legacy, despite an electorate that voted in a rather conservative manner overall in the state propositions.
Schwarzenegger criticized Meg Whitman’s approach, but clearly her own failed gubernatorial campaign suffered from (among other things) her predecessor’s built-up resentment from a voting electorate that was pretty sick of the gimmicks, games and double-speak that was the hallmark of his term of office and which led to an abandonment by the Republicans that elsewhere elected so many GOP state and federal officials last November.
Perhaps Republicans and conservative independents concluded it was and is better to have a person of principle, liberal and staunchly pro-government-union-at-any-cost though he may be, in Jerry Brown than either Schwarzenegger or his wannabe successor Meg Whitman.
But at least we can take comfort in knowing that we can’t play around with gimmicks anymore in Sacramento when it comes to the budget, because we already tried them all with Arnold.
At least we can’t keep spending on poorly-defined and poorly-budgeted priorities, no matter how honorable they appear to be, because we did that aplenty with Schwarzenegger.
And at least we don’t have any questions as to the need to prioritize our politics and policies based on whether the governor’s wife will sleep with him; Schwarzenegger was quoted on that for certain issues that his wife disagreed with because they were too far to the right to please her (this before his last lurch to the political left in his final years in office).
Schwarzenegger can and should rest assured that his initial attempts at pension reform, teacher tenure and other governmental reforms during his first term of office were and are the right things to do…that he has coming to him.
However, Schwarzenegger can and should rest assured that the manner in which he handled the Nunez affair ended all doubts as to whether he is a man of honor who deserved to lead us the better part of this past decade, and that he has the virtual end to his acting career coming to him as well.
And perhaps the same snoring sound Schwarzenegger made when asked about the Nunez case (link) is one we should all make when he comes back to make or star in his next movie.
Boycott Schwarzenegger along with Mel Gibson? Fine with me…after all, I haven’t heard about Mel Gibson condoning any aggravated assault or being an accomplice to murder.
So, good luck and good-bye, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And go straight to hell, too, while you’re at it.
I grew up enjoying your films, admiring your career and business acumen, and even voted for you twice (still don’t regret it, considering who you were running against). But seriously…from one moderate Republican to another, go straight to hell.
And for anyone taking Donald Trump seriously in his campaign for President? Let’s terminate that idea, please—we’ve got some serious, grown-up, courageous decisions to make to bring our state and nation back from the brink of financial disaster.
Time for us to be our own Last Action Heroes.
(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently co-chairs its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) -cw
Vol 9 Issue 32
Pub: Apr 22, 2011