Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal

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Arnold Puffs . . . and Huffs on Obama, Jerry

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Here’s one reason the New York Times’ decision to move to a paid model for its Web site is a loss for political junkies: you won’t get to see fun reads like this one, an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The interview is actually a column by Maureen Dowd, but it’s as much Arnold riffing on the current state of politics as it is Mo Dowd doing some actual insightful writing.

Dowd’s hook: what does Arnold think, now that Uncle Ted’s Senate seat has been lost to the tea-baggers?

Arnold: not blowing smoke

As always, the Governator doesn’t disappoint.

He says President Obama erred by letting Congress drive the healthcare debate.

Democrats, meanwhile, are “in a major panic mode” and “going in the dead bed”.

He compares Obama’s last-minute campaign visit to Massachusetts to the Dems’ efforts to defeat the 2003 recall by trotting out Bill Clinton and other Democratic big-hitters.

No personal shots — like a comment on the President’s skinny legs — but the stogie-puffing guv doesn’t hide his deep dislike of Obamacare in a screen of smoke. 

And Arnold saves the best for last, for the hometown audience.

When asked if he’d be upset if a Democrat replaced him next January, he replies: “I think the best person should win, whatever party that it.” Good news for Jerry Brown. Gotta irritate Meg Whitman.

And so goes the Governator’s dance of the seven veils: will he formally endorse a would-be successor . . . in doing so, will he cross party lines?

One angle that Ms. Dowd didn’t play up, and I thought she should have: Obama, in 2010, is little different from Schwarzenegger in 2005 (the bloom is off the rose, the loyal opposition is energized, the bug guy’s core competency is being questioned); California, in 2010, is where America end up in 2016 (dealing with the disappointment of a supposedly transformative leader who didn’t live up to the media hype).  

That was my take, last year, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed discussing how Schwarzenegger didn’t alter the political landscape (now, what seems the same fate for Barack Obama).

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Written by Bill Whalen

January 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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