Let’s start with a few recall election truisms.
A week from now, the zany recall circus will be over and California’s tax-loving, business-loathing government might just be in the hands of family man and rags-to-riches exemplar, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
One note: by “truisms,” I actually mean “claims that are completely and utterly false, but widely believed and rarely challenged thanks to their endless repetition in the media echo chamber.”
Take the economy.
Princeton economist Paul Krugman calls Arnold’s descriptions of California’s economy “fiction.”
“Since the mid-1990s California has added jobs considerably faster than the nation as a whole. And while the state has been hit hard by the technology slump, it has done no worse than other parts of the country.”
“Meanwhile,” Krugman says, “California isn’t a high-tax state: through the 1990’s, state and local taxes as a share of personal income more or less matched the national average, and with the recent plunge in revenue they’re now probably below average.” So much for Schwarzenomics.
Still, it’s tough to argue with an economic ladder-climber like Arnold. His recent Spanish-language campaign ad told the tale: “Like so many of us, he came to this country with a dream in his eye. He started as a bricklayer, and through sheer determination and hard work, he achieved the goals he set for himself.” The ad mentions European Brick Works, a business Arnold started with bodybuilder Franco Columbu. A pretty inspirational story, except that “Franco did the brick laying and I was the guy who went out nicely dressed, took the measurements and came up the estimates,” as Arnold explained in the late-80s.
But so what if he lied about being a bricklayer? He still has all the credentials of a solid family man -like fondling women against their will. The Daily Mail detailed several nauseating instances, including one when Arnold asked actor Anna Richardson “if her breasts were real. He then pulled her onto his knee, circled her nipple with his finger, squeezed it and announced: ‘Yeah, they are real.'”
In Vanity Fair, a T2 producer described watching Arnold as he snuck up behind a female crewmember, “put his hands inside her blouse, and proceeded to pull her breasts out of her bra… ‘This woman’s nipples were exposed, and here’s Arnold and a few of his clones laughing… She was hysterical but refused to press charges for fear of losing her job. It was disgusting.'”
The Groping Governator’s oft-discussed work with children apparently extended to an affair he had with former child actress Gigi Goyette, who was 16 when the liaison began. The Gigi story broke in April 2001 when Schwarzenegger was first contemplating a bid for governor; within hours, Arnold had decided not to run.
Honestly, though, what solid family man wasn’t fanatically racist at one point or other in the good ol’ days? Not family guy Arnold. Robby Robinson, an African-American and former Mr. America, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe, told one reporter about a post-competition banquet he attended where Arnold made an appearance. “We were all dancing having a nice time and in walks Arnold who started shouting out, ‘Down with the blacks, n-ggers this and blacks that’ for about ten minutes… Everybody in the room was shocked except for me.” He told the reporter that Arnold “repeatedly directed the term ‘n-gger’ at him.”
Others have made similar charges, including another black former Mr. Universe, Rick Wayne, who said that Arnold once remarked of South Africa’s former Apartheid system, “If you gave these blacks a country to run, they would run it down the tubes.”
But remember, like the talking heads say, this election is a zany sillyfest. It’s not about a lying, racist, sexual predator being governor. It’s certainly not about oil drilling on the coasts, or health insurance for poor kids, or improving the lives of the “aliens” and their loving alien families who live in filthy shack towns because they were born on the wrong part of the landmass.
Well, as usual, the talking heads are wrong. Arnold may be a sick joke, but the recall isn’t.
Nico Pitney is a senior global studies major.