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November 5, 2005
Warren Beatty, Stalker

Warren Beatty and his wife Annette Bening have attempted to shadow Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger through his last several appearances in support of his referenda in California's upcoming special election. Up to now, everyone assumed Beatty had finally decided to pull the trigger and run for governor next year, starting his long-rumored political career after seeing his movie career dry up over the past decade. However, Beatty announced today that he will not run for office next year, creating a lot of confusion among Californians about why he keeps following the Governator everywhere:

Actors Warren Beatty and wife Annette Bening tried to crash a campaign appearance Saturday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the governor sought to drum up last-minute support for a group of statewide ballot measures. ...

Beatty planned to shadow Schwarzenegger throughout the day as the governor campaigned. He has been repeatedly mentioned as a possible challenger to Schwarzenegger, but he said Saturday that he would not be a candidate in next year's gubernatorial race.

Beatty spent decades in Hollywood as one of the most overrated actors in the history of film. Based on a square jaw and a couple of early successes, Beatty maintained a strong following despite mostly wooden performances, even in the better-known efforts. When cast in roles that fit his own personality, Beatty performed passably well, somewhat like Kevin Costner and Robert Redford. When asked to stretch, his many limitations as an actor became immediately apparent, even in films like Bonnie and Clyde, Heaven Can Wait, and Bugsy, where he substituted making faces for acting. Beatty has always been a movie star; his sister, Shirley MacLaine, is an actor, and the difference between the two on screen shows the gap between the terms.

That normally would point towards a pretty good career in politics, however, and people have awaited Beatty's electoral coming-out party for years. Ronald Reagan and the Governator himself had similar film careers and limitations, and they did quite nicely for themselves. The key difference between these three, however, is that Reagan paid his dues on the speaking circuit for years, developing his emerging conservatism and philosophy through years of meeting and speaking with people about the issues of the day. Schwarzenegger rode a fluke recall election and a compressed political process to a quick and unexpected victory.

Beatty, for his part, appears to want to get drafted before he'll do anything. Instead of actually running for office, he has reduced himself to the role of a stalker, a voyeur of sorts instead of a fully active participant in the referenda debate. It almost seems as if Beatty has drawn close to Arnold in hopes of catching some of the latter's reflected glory. Driving around in a van with the "Truth Squad" logo, trailing Arnold like a puppy dog -- is that really all the Democrats and Beatty himself can find for him to do against the Governator? Perhaps that comes from an inability to work in public without a script -- and the real reason why Beatty has demurred for the 2006 election.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 5, 2005 10:00 PM

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