So, unless you’ve been living under a rock since Wednesday you have heard that Arnold is running for governor of California. Considering that I had the good fortune to be a subject of Jesse Ventura until recently, I think that I have a pretty good perspective on the concept of a media figure running for public office.
First, it should kept in mind that Jesse actually had experience in public office before he made his gubernatorial run. He was the mayor of a Minneapolis suburb (Brooklyn Center, if memory serves) for a while. The closest Arnold has ever come to politics is playing the role of a dissident cop in The Running Man, which cannot exactly be considered his best work (although I will happily admit that it’s funny as hell. Arnold has some particularly atrocious one-liners in that movie).
Second, I am willing to bet that Arnold will, most likely, actually win if things come to a recall. Mind you, I don’t live in California, but I get the impression that Gray Davis is not exactly liked at the moment by just about anyone. People seem to come out in droves for elections if there is some kind of novel factor to it (apparently exercising your duty/right as an informed citizen of our country isn’t good enough). As a sub-point to this, Arnold doesn’t appear to be that bad a guy. Sure, he’s a Republican, but he doesn’t seem to have a particularly terrible opinion on abortion and the like. The Nazi thing isn’t terribly encouraging, but at least it’s not like he’s Joerg Haider or something….
As a semi-tangential point, I should also mention something I read on Slate the other day. Apparently if we do make it to an election, the ordering of candidates will be semi-random. Since Arnold is pretty much guaranteed to have the longest, oddest looking name, it will certainly be just about the easiest to find on the ballot. This is made more relevant if there really do end up being 300 or 400 candidates on the ballot, as some stories I have read claim there will be.
Anyway, I am not quite sure what I think about this whole thing. I think I would rather see Gary Coleman get elected, but that’s more for the sheer entertainment value of imagining him going from being a security guard with a criminal record to Governor Coleman than anything else ;-).