From Schwarzenegger to "Total Recall"

From our correspondent in the San Francisco Bay Area

Revolutionary Worker #1213, September 21, 2003, posted at

"I want to be invisible. I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag."

-- Ralph Reed, a leader of the religious right

In the bizarre and sinister power grab being attempted in the California recall (see "California Recall: The Coup Inside the Circus"), Arnold Schwarzenegger is a very useful candidate for the Republican forces right now. He can portray himself as a political outsider not tied to special interests. Despite his lack of political experience, the media has promoted Schwarzenegger and says that he is a "liberal Republican"--conservative on fiscal issues (like taxes and government spending) and liberal on social issues (like abortion).

If the Republicans put up a more overt, born-again, anti-abortion, anti-medical-marijuana, put-god- in-the-classroom type of candidate they'd unleash a lot more anger. Instead, Schwarzenegger is something of a transitional candidate--unleashing the mean-spirited, anti-immigrant anger of the "taxpayer" as a move toward the overall right-wing agenda.

After announcing his candidacy on the Jay Leno show, Schwarzenegger's first action was to appoint former Governor Pete Wilson as a senior advisor and campaign co-chairman. Wilson, like Schwarzenegger, was known as a "moderate Republican." It was Wilson who sponsored and led the vicious anti- immigrant campaign in California in the '90s--hiding its racism behind false rhetoric that immigration was costing "us taxpayers" too much. Arnold also made clear that he supported Wilson's infamous Proposition 187 that would have denied education and health care to undocumented immigrants.

It's true that on issues relating to women Arnold can't really be described as a conservative in the "traditional family values" sense; to be honest, his views on women could best described as "radio shockjock." The March 2001 issue of Premiere described how Arnold groped the breasts of three women talk show hosts in a 24-hour period during a publicity tour of Britain.

Describing his favorite scene in Terminator 3, Schwarzenegger said, "I saw this toilet bowl. How many times do you get away with this--to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl? I wanted to have something floating there." Is this kind of woman-hating shit acceptable from a candidate for major office in the U.S.?! And what does that say about the society we are living in?

Schwarzenegger opposes gay marriage although he supports some rights for gay people in domestic partnerships. ("Marriage should be between a man and a woman," he said on a recent radio talk show.) He is not for outlawing all abortion but he would deny women the right to certain abortion procedures, and he said that he is in favor of requiring parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion.

The other major Republican candidate in the race is State Senator Tom McClintock. McClintock is a more traditional anti-abortion, anti-gay conservative. As the RW goes to press there is a lot of pressure on McClintock to drop out of the race so as not to split the Republican vote. However, it is not completely out of the question that if Schwarzenegger should stumble then the forces behind the recall would push McClintock forward.

In any case, those who are foolish enough to think it would be funny to have Arnold as governor of California need to remember what happened to the Trojan people when they accepted the famous horse.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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