Bill Whalen compares Arnold Schwarzenegger circa 2003 with Obama on the 2008 presidential campaign trail. Schwarzenegger “was a man of wealth and privilege, restyled as a populist outsider and overhyped by a fawning media” Whalen notes, “who came into office with a window of opportunity to achieve most anything his heart desired. For Mr. Schwarzenegger, that window remained open for about a year.”
And since then, we’ve gotten all sorts of Arnolds, Whalen adds:
Where is Mr. Schwarzenegger’s core? Is he the free-market, antitax candidate of the recall? The right-of-center union buster of the 2005 special election? The humbled, bipartisan eco-warrior of the 2006 re-election campaign? The tax-and-spend-and-cut Sacramento insider?
Rather than spend Election Day in California, Mr. Schwarzenegger attended a public event at the White House. There was a time when any visit by him to the nation’s capital would have sparked a flurry of stories about the need for Republicans to adopt his winning ways and amend the U.S. Constitution to allow him to seek the presidency. Today, Republicans running for governor in California go out of their way to point out where they differ with Mr. Schwarzenegger.
Maybe Mr. Schwarzenegger will be able to mount another political comeback. In the meantime, he must wish life could imitate art, and like the Terminator he too could go back in time.
For some thoughts on the shambolic state that Arnold has left California in, check out my post-Special Election interview with NRO’s Jim Geraghty, available here.