Ed Driscoll

Droit de Schwarzenegger

As Jacob Bernstein writes, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s peccadilloes bring new meaning to the Daily Beast, the name of the Website where this article appears:

In 2001, Premiere Magazine published an extensive article documenting Schwarzenegger’s peccadilloes. It was a doozey. Among the most damning anecdotes: that during the shoot of Terminator II: Judgment Day, Arnold came out from his trailer one day, walked up to a woman on the crew and “put his hands inside her blouse … and proceeded to pull her breasts out of her bra.”Another time, the magazine reported, a woman producer on one of the star’s films got a visit from her then-husband. Upon being introduced to the man, Schwarzenegger reportedly said, “Is this guy the reason why you didn’t come up to my hotel room last night and suck my cock?” Schwarzenegger “declined repeated requests from Premiere to be interviewed for this article,” the magazine reported.

As the 2003 election wound towards the home stretch, a slew of those women reemerged, but Shriver stamped out the fire. In a speech to a Republican Women’s Group in Orange County, Shriver said, “You can listen to all the negativity, and you can listen to people who have never met Arnold, or who met him for five seconds 30 years ago. Or you can listen to me … I wouldn’t be standing here if this man weren’t an A-plus human being. I wouldn’t be taking my time, I wouldn’t have left my job that I love, I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I didn’t believe in this man.” Days later, he won the election in a landslide.

Still, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. In a 2005 article in Vanity Fair, Shriver made it perfectly clear she had misgivings about her husband’s political career. Referring to his decision to run for office, she said, “I was worried. I did not like politics. I did not like the all-encompassing part of it. I worried about the kids and what it would do to our lives. I was, like, Why?”

But she made it clear what she had liked about him; he wasn’t a WASP, or some facsimile of a Kennedy. “Everyone assumed that I was supposed to marry someone like a John Kerry, some preppy that had gone to Harvard or Yale. I didn’t want to marry those boys. I did not like them. I had been around them my whole life. I interrupted the story line. I wanted out of that suffocation.”

Now her estranged husband is just another overambitious politician disgraced. A man whose infidelity and arrogance are well known.

He doesn’t sound so different from those Kennedys after all.

Well, to the best of my knowledge, Arnold never owned an Oldsmobile, so he’s got that going for him, at least.

As Matt Holzmann writes, chalk it up to a case of Droit de Seigneur:

“Droit de Seigneur” or “Right of the Lord” is a medieval term connoting the right of the Lord to take the virginity of his serfs daughters when they married. Lost in the fog of time, the practice as described may or may not have existed. What clearly did and does exist, even today, is a double standard for the rulers and the ruled.

Whether it was JFK and his womanizing or Teddy Kennedy and his debauchery, the existence of this double standard has long haunted society. From the depredations of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, and lords of England, France, Russia and (insert name here) to today, the copulations and excesses of the upper class was the norm and women were objects of desire with little legal recourse. The practice transcends societies and time. Just this morning, Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted he had fathered the child of a domestic employee. The arrogance is astounding.

Since the rise of Protestantism and the middle class, however, limits have been placed upon such conduct. The stakes had been rising for the libertines. In the past 50 years sexual assault has become the  bête noire of both the women’s movement and civil society and the penalties are severe. But equality of rights has been espoused but not enforced at the highest levels.

The watchdogs are as much to blame as anyone. The powerful buy silence or enforce it it via the law. The political imperative has almost always overridden the  facts. Teddy Kennedy was guilty of manslaughter and escaped punishment. In Italy, the Berlusconi scandal gets deeper and deeper. In his case, he owns much of the media. In America, the media have become fellow travelers and enablers of the worst miscreants so long as they have the same political views.

Unlike in France, Mr. Strauss Kahn is innocent until proven guilty in the United States and the bar is set high. He is also entitled to the best defense money can buy.

However, it becomes more clear every day that we are in a new age of oligarchs to whom the law does not apply. Whether it is the suspicious political murders in Russia, the Droit de Seigneur so prevalent in the West, or the financial mayhem without consequences as practiced in Washington and on Wall Street, there are few if any consequences for the rich and powerful.

Fortunately, America’s elites are focused squarely on solving this societal decay. Just ask them and they’ll tell you where their priorities lie: