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September 17, 2005
The Governator Will Be Back

Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to run for a full term as California's governor despite sagging poll numbers. In a suprisingly early announcement, Arnold told a San Diego audience that he had no intention of leaving his reforms unfinished:

The announcement came at the end of a public forum here, after a carefully screened crowd questioned him about his efforts to revamp California's schools and its budget process. No one, however, asked him about his plans for next year, when his term expires, even though his appearance had been heavily promoted as the place for announcing his re-election bid. So he asked himself if he would run.

"Of course, I'm going to finish the job," he said. "I'm a follow-through guy."

"I'm not in there for three years," Mr. Schwarzenegger added. "I'm in there for seven years. Yes, I will run again." The crowd inside the auditorium applauded, as protesters outside chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, Schwarzenegger's got to go."

Just as an aside: Do people really think that "hey hey, ho ho" chant demonstrates cleverness or wit? I've heard more original cheers at Little League games. Those protest chants sound like the equivalent of a Ted Kennedy panel examination -- the same droning language used with a fill-in-the-blank utility that does nothing but emphasize the mindlessness of those who employ it.

That mindless protest provides an example of how Arnold could still win with his approval ratings mired in the 30s for the moment. First, the gay-marriage bill shows that Californians do not get the representation they want at the Legislature, regardless of the merits or demerits of the bill itself. They voted against gay marriage five years ago, only to have their representatives try to pass it again and again and finally succeeding this year. Only the Governator's veto kept it from trumping the will of 60% of California's electorate, which has a significant Democratic majority. Arnold made himself the people's representative, restraining an imperial Legislature that has far too easy of a time maintaining a Democratic deathgrip on state politics.

That allows Schwarzenegger to run not only as a counterbalance, but as a reformer with more work to do. He wants to change the way California apportions its districts to disrupt that political deathgrip, a much better idea than the term limits that failed to do the job almost a generation ago. While he may have lost some popularity and luster of celebrity, that combination will be hard for any Democrat to overcome. It will take someone with star quality and a sense of reform to beat him, and the closest thing the Democrats have is Dianne Feinstein -- who has already ruled it out.

Instead, the Democrats point to state treasurer Phil Angelides and state controller Steve Westly. Both beat Arnold in mock elections held by their party, but no one thinks that either of them could take on Arnold in a real election. Remember that Arnold polled low early on in the recall race, as did the recall itself, but he knows how to campaign effectively. Neither of the technocrats have that kind of charisma or name recognition. That's why Democrats hope to draft another big-name Hollywood candidate to oppose Arnold. The New York Times mentions Warren Beatty or Rob Reiner, both of whom have been very politically involved with the far Left for decades. Neither, however, will have any credibility as moderates, which means that the Democrats will concede a large swath of the middle, especially with Reiner.

Never count Arnold out. When he says, "I'll be back," he usually means it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 17, 2005 8:45 AM

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» Arnold Schwarzenegger Running For Second Term As Governor Of California from Diggers Realm
Arnold Schwarzenegger announced at the end of a forum that he intends to be in office for 7 years. Polls show his approval rating at a low 36%. Of course Californians are an impatient lot that expect everything to be... [Read More]

Tracked on September 18, 2005 3:31 AM

» He'll Be Back.... from Hard Starboard
Ah-nuld is going to run again: The announcement came at the end of a public forum here, after a carefully screened crowd questioned him about his efforts to revamp California's schools and its budget process. No one, however, asked him about his p... [Read More]

Tracked on September 19, 2005 8:14 PM

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