October 02, 2003
Not Good Enough for Office, Not Good Enough for the GOP
Updated: If you aren't reading the comments on this one, you might be curious to read XRLQ's view on the subject. You may also wish to read his post on the subject.
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't good enough to take the office of Governor of California. I had issues with his policies, but hope for him on a personal level. I think he could win; I think he should not.
I support his Republican opponent Tom McClintock.
With Arnold's Clintonian apology for things he won't quite admit to, I think it's time to say Arnold isn't the kind of guy who should be representing the GOP in California or in any other state.
“A lot of the stuff in the story is not true, ..” he added. “But I have to say that where there’s smoke there’s fire,” he said.
The actor and Republican candidate did not acknowledge sexual harassment, instead saying that “yes, I have behaved badly sometimes, yes, it is true that I was in rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right, which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I offended people.”
I'll take that at face value; I even believe it. So, tell us what wasn't true and what was. Tell us what it means to be rowdy and playful--because grabbing women randomly sounds a little more like sexual assault to me. Even if the worst of what was alleged is false, the least of what was alleged is bad enough.
Grabbing a woman's breast while her husband is across the room is not merely playful.
Putting your hand up a secretary's skirt and propositioning her is not merely rowdy.
It's as unacceptable to me as getting a blow job from your intern in the Oval Office while talking about policy to a congressperson over the phone. Even worse, possibly, as at least the intern was a willing participant.
As a Republican who believes that character does matter, I say that it would be far better for the GOP to stay strong in character than it would be for us to sell our party's soul for a victory in California.
Read the story.
Posted by zombyboy at October 2, 2003 02:36 PM
Unfortunately, I think Bustamante will win if the 'negger loses.
Huh, that sounded vaguely racest. Glad Arnold isn't black.
A black Austrian. That's funny!
Errr, racist, of course. Why don't I just leave about sixteen more comments all by my lonesome?
Heh. I was just enjoying the hole that you were digging.
I think Bustamante will win if Arnold doesn't, too. But I couldn't vote for the guy--just couldn't do it.
Why did you have to go and post this? I was so ready to just give in a vote for that damn Austrian. You have pricked my conscience. Now what am I supposed to do?
I'll tell you the truth: I didn't want to post it, and I didn't want to say it in some ways. But I couldn't get past feeling like a hypocrite for trying to ignore it today.
So, my conscience said that I couldn't support him even by staying silent on what I consider to be something important. If I lived in California, I'd be voting McClintock--even knowing it might cost the GOP the state.
What do I know, though. I'm just some online pundit wannabe former bartender type who makes pretty pictures for a living.
All California needs is a lifelong pol, who twists with every wind and is only successful because of identity politics, as the next Governor. I'd much prefer the Scharz.
Do you actually believe that, from a policy standpoint, he'd be that much better? I don't.
Fuck yea, he'd be better. Bustamante would be totally business as usual.
And I think that Arnold would be precisely the same. The one area in which he might distinguish himself would be in imigration.
Sorry, I'm not impressed by him, his policy statements, or the California GOP for throwing in behind him when McClintock was ready and willing.
I'm also disappointed in any Republican (and, I know that isn't you, Matt) who was willing to crucify Clinton for his personal behavior, but is finding reasons to make excuses for Arnold now.
Oh, and immigration isn't a big issue in Cali. Other issues I prefer The Terminator on: taxes, bilingual education, the Ladies!
I don't think Clinton and Arnold are even in the same league. So he touched a couple of asses over the years, I don't think he was married at the time. And one woman every five years? As Tim Blair said, Clinton is somewhere thinking, "Amateur".
The sexual harrassment thing is a non-story.
Contrary to popular myth, Clinton was never crucified for his "personal behavior," but rather for lying about it under oath about it and encouraging others to do the same. As to comparing Schwarzenegger's general conduct to Clinton's, I think that how they compare really boils down to how many unproven allegations you are willing to believe about each individual. If you believe all the allegations about both men, Clinton's behavior was infinitely worse, as it included full-blown rape (Juanita Broaddrick) and at least one sexual assault while in office, on a victim whose husband had just died (Kathleen Willey). It also included a broad smear campaign against the victims (Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and Willey to a lesser extent). And all were committed in a context where they cannot be regarded as even remotely "playful," even under a "when in Rome/Hollywood..." theory that may put Arnold's conduct in context, sort of.
When I cast my vote for Schwarzenegger three weeks ago, I did so mostly for his policies, which are a bit to my left but well to the right of anything a hypothetical Gov. McClintock would have accomplished anyway. If I had the vote to cast all over again, I'd probably still do it on policy grounds, though more reluctantly so at the personal level. Even at that level, I think Arnold is the least of three evils. Davis and Bustamante are corrupt as hell. Further, Bustamante is an idiot who knowns no distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and Davis is a prostitute. Further, Davis is widely believed to have physically and verbally assaulted his underlings on multiple occasions. Not "playfully," either - violently, in a fit of rage.
Last but not least, this whole story is not new; the Times has been cooking it up for seven weeks so they could drop it just in time to make as big an electoral splash as possible. I say, anyone who wasn't planning on voting for Schwarzenegger anyway should do so now, as a protest vote against the puke politics of Davis and his allies.
[Yes, I said "least of three evils," not "least of four." McClintock was never a serious contender in the race, so he didn't enter into the calculus at all. For those who think I should have voted my "conscience" instead, why stop with McClintock? There are 40 other Republicans on the ballot, along with some solid independents and independent-minded Democrats. If you're going to throw away your vote anyway, why not vote for one of them instead?]
Matt, I don't believe him on taxes (he's waffled on whether he would or wouldn't raise taxes), I don't think he can do anything on the immigration issue, and bilingual ed is out of his hands as well. Again, I don't think he's better than the others in any practical sense (although we'll probably get a chance to find out; I imagine he will be forgiven for his behavior). As for the comments about ladies, that's almost insulting. What he was accused of--and, as far as I can tell, apologized for--was far worse than a little grab ass.
XRLQ, you know I respect you on many issues, but I have to respectfully disagree with you on this. Conservative writers did more than just crucify Clinton for his lying under oath--although that was certainly the basis for the legal action, the social response was about his overall behavior, and that includes the alleged harrassment.
I agree that the Times story was a hatchet job--they timed it right and delivered it right--but that doesn't make it any less true. Arnold's apology today proved that. And if all the allegations are true about Arnold, it's bad enough that I definitely do put him in the same moral category as the former president. In fact, I think doing otherwise minimizes the seriousness of his offenses.
Groping women is not just some harmless past time. It's sexual assault. Sexual assault is just a step down from rape (and, if it matters, I think that the former president probably was a rapist, but what was proven was far less than that--and all consensual--which is less than can be said for what Arnold has apologized for).
I read a report about a week ago that said if Arnold wasn't running, McClintock would win the election. It quoted numbers. I'll try to find it when I get home (working late this evening). McClintock certainly could have been a player in this--a very serious contender.
I couldn't vote for an admitted sex offender--and that is what I took away from his apology today.
Arnold has not admitted to being a sexual offender, only a sexual asshole. I'm not sure how you distinguish the alleged acts from "a little grab ass," unless the moral distinction you are drawing is between asses and boobies. Both are, of course, inappropriate and, strictly speaking, criminal. In this case, however, both are also unproven allegations by unnamed "victims" who never saw fit to file so much as a civil complaint. And as we both agree, the timing of the story is suspect. To my mind, it is suspect not only as to the Times's motivation but also as to the validity of the charges themselves. If they are solid, they'll stick over time, so why didn't they run the story earlier when it had the potential to snowball? On the other hand, if the charges are weak, as I think they are, they were timed perfectly; just in time to piss voters off in a big way, while guaranteeing that by the time they have been fully debunked, the election would be over.
I've seen the figures on a hypothetical Bustamante/McClintock match-up. I don't really buy them, though, as they reflect the fact that McClintock has never been a serious contender in the race, and therefore has never been subject to that level of scrutiny. Certainly the Dems haven't campaigned against him; quite the contrary, they've actively campaigned for him since he was their only real hope. Would the numbers really play out that way if Schwarzenegger were to drop out tomorrow? Maybe, but it's a high risk game I wouldn't want to play unless Schwarzenegger's campaign were to implode. And besides, it's silly to ever expect the front runner in a race to step aside to make room for the guy coming in third. It just doesn't work that way.
Last of all, I think we can trust Arnold on taxes and bilingual ed. On taxes, because he has made opposition to tax increases such a central part of his campaign. Bilingual ed should be out of the governor's hands, but it isn't entirely; the existing school board has openly flouted Prop 227, which just last year they attempted to "clarify" out of existence with a cleverly worded regulation. None of this would have happened without Gov. Davis's tacit (or otherwise) approval.
Arnold has not admitted to being a sexual offender, only a sexual asshole. I'm not sure how you distinguish the alleged acts from "a little grab ass," unless the moral distinction you are drawing is between asses and boobies." Both are, of course, inappropriate and, strictly speaking, criminal.
Perhaps, actually I shouldn't make a distinction there--and, as you note, both are criminal. That does make him a sexual offender, if he did it, doesn't it? Aside from that, a pattern of casual disrespect of this nature is not, in my mind, defensible. Even if he were to be perfectly in line with me on every other issue, I wouldn't vote for him.
In this case, however, both are also unproven allegations by unnamed "victims" who never saw fit to file so much as a civil complaint.
Two of the six victims did offer up their names.
And as we both agree, the timing of the story is suspect. To my mind, it is suspect not only as to the Times's motivation but also as to the validity of the charges themselves.
The fact that these allegations haven't gone away over years of being publicized in various places tells me that there could be some truth to them. This is not the first time some of these have been reported. The timing is perfect, though, that I agree with--it gives the candidate almost no time to recover from any damage that the report causes.
Do you believe any of those accusations? I do, and if any of them are true, then he is unfit for office and unfit for my vote.
As for the McClintock issue, the GOP ran close in the last election. Why couldn't the GOP do well with a regular politician this time? When citizens are disappointed with a worsening situation involving the guy who many of them didn't vote for to begin with, isn't there a chance that the GOP could gain from some level of disaffection?
McClintock could have been a solid candidate with the proper support--sure he would have faced more opposition, but that doesn't mean that he couldn't have handled it.
Do you really believe that all six of those women are just out to get Arnold? Or that all of their allegations are bogus? Or that a man who shows that level of disrespect to women is worthy of a vote?
I do not.
As for the taxes, all I can say is "Read my lips, no new taxes." Arnold has made a point of taxes, but he's made no strong promises and even mentioned at one point that raising taxes might be necessary. Even if that weren't the case, I wouldn't be willing to cast my vote for him.
That's not, precisely, a judgment on people who do--their vote is their concern. But for me, I couldn't do it.
"I say, anyone who wasn't planning on voting for Schwarzenegger anyway should do so now, as a protest vote against the puke politics of Davis and his allies."
Xrlq, This is exactly what I've been thinking. As John and Ken would say, The Davis, Mulholland, BustaMeCHA, La Times establishment. It all makes me sick to my stomach. To see these assholes out of power would be worth the last eight months or so. Having Arnold in office will also greatly influence how California votes in the 2004 presidential election and will also be helpful in the Senate race. First we get rid of Davis and then we work on the rest of those g--damn socialists in Sacramento.
Yes Xrlq, I have been converted.
I had read about the groping ages ago, surprised it took so long to bring it up. Now the Mapplethorpe pics, if they see the light of day, could prove interesting.
As to voting, the choice is either vote for the lesser of two evils that are most likely to win or vote for who you feel ethically is the best candidate even thou he is unlikely to win.
Z, I respect what you are trying to do. You were an outspoken critic of Clinton's personal behavior and so now you are trying to be consistent. Fine. I'm just not sure that you aren't being inconsistent with your vote for Bush in 2000. Follow me here.
Arnold has been accused of behavior that is at best inappropriate and at worst illegal. These allegations are, as of yet, unsubstantiated (innocent until proven guilty). Arnold has admitted to having behaved inappropriately but has not actually denied the charges. The conclusion that you have come to is that there must be some basis to the charges and, therefore, Arnold is unfit for office.
During the 2000 campaign Bush was accused of behavior that was illegal (cocain use). These allegations are, as of yet, unsubstantiated (innocent until proven guilty). Bush has admitted to having behaved inappropriately but has not actually denied the charges. The conclusion that you came to was that there must be some basis to the charges but, regardless, Bush was suitable for office anyway.
How do you reconcile your vote for Bush while at the same time condemning Arnold?
Good question, SJ.
This isn't about legal--it's about a) who I believe, and b) what I find personally reprehensible. The use if illegal drugs is not, to me, reprehensible; it's easily forgiven. Sexual assault is reprehensible and not at all easily forgiven.
(As a quick aside: I beleive the allegations against Bush on that one. I'd be surprised to find that he hadn't done some illegal drug at one point or another in his life. I don't hold that against him. I do, however, hope that he doesn't continue that while in the White House. There may be some hypocrisy there, I'm not sure.)
I understand what you're saying, but the legal aspect is only one aspect. I wouldn't vote for OJ, either, if he were running for office, because I believe him to be a murderer. It doesn't matter that he wasn't convicted of the crime, it matters that I believe it. That doesn't mean that I think we should ship him off to jail on my beliefs alone--but voting is a little to the side of the legal arguments and my standards for guilt are different.
The legal portion of the conversation, to me, is whether he could reasonably be considered a sexual offender in a legal sense had charges been brought. Given that charges were never brought, and that the term is pretty charged, perhaps I would be better served not using that term. But in the same way that I believe OJ is a murderer and I beleive that Clinton is a sexual offender, I believe, too, that Arnold is a sexual offender. None of these things are proven, but I do beleive them all.
"The use if illegal drugs is not, to me, reprehensible; it's easily forgiven."
It's still a crime, however. Arnold's behavior, if it true, may be criminal but may only be inappropriate. You may not find drug use to be reprehensible, but what about brazen flouting of the law? You and I have discussed drug use many, many times over the years. You have always been consistent in stating that 1) you believe that many drugs should be legalized, 2) the penalties are too severe, but 3) people who knowingly break the law are still criminals (until such time as the laws change). Now you are syaing that Bush knowingly breaking the law isn't a character issue? How is it not a character issue? Especially given the very consistent position that you have had for so many years?
Again, this isn't about crime, it's about who I trust. And, by that standard, I couldn't vote for anyone--because everyone speeds or runs the occasional red light. There are differenet classes of crime and each class effects my opinion on the person differently. I am still consistent: if Bush had been caught, he should have gone to jail or paid the appropriate fine, depending on the amount and circumstances. Depending on the actual crime, I might not have voted for him (see below), but all he was ever accused of was going to the occasional party. That sounds like any college student.
And I never said that it wasn't a character issue--that's coming from you. I just allow room for a scale of grey between black and white. Speeding doesn't disqualify you from public service. Personal drug use doesn't disqualify you from public service. Drug dealing would, sexual assault would, murder would, and cheating on your taxes might.
I don't think candidates need to be perfect--if that were the case, I wouldn't vote for anyone.
If any of what Arnold was accused of was true, he is guilty of at least a misdemeanor--and, as I said, it comes down to whether I believe it or not. After reading all the articles on all the sites, I definitely do believe it. I don't think he raped anyone, but I do believe he is guilty of assault. Yes, that is more serious, and isn't just inappropriate. And it also strikes me as much more serious than doing a line at a party.
One one had you say that "There are differenet classes of crime and each class effects my opinion on the person differently." On the other hand you say that "I'm also disappointed in any Republican... who was willing to crucify Clinton for his personal behavior, but is finding reasons to make excuses for Arnold now."
Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. This is a character issue and an issue of trust. Arnold never, to our knowledge, lied under oath. Clinton was accused of rape. The only quote I've seen regarding Arnold that uses "rape" was that he didn't rape anyone. Clinton performed his "reprehensible" deeds while in a position of public trust whereas Arnold performed his alleged "reprehensible" deeds while a professional actor/bodybuilder. Clinton performed his "reprehensible" deeds in the White House whereas Arnold performed his alleged "reprehensible" deeds while on movie sets.
Based on your own statement regarding "different classes of crime" there is plenty of ground upon which a person could have denounced Clinton while still supporting Arnold.
That doesn't mean that I can't find it disappointing by my own standards, does it? Hell, there was room to defend Clinton--and I disagreed with those defences as well.
As for the rape issue, reprehensible is reprehensible no matter where the act is performed. Just because it wasn't rape doesn't excuse groping women. I do see a difference between the two, but apparently not as much as you do--both are sexual assault and both are wrong. I don't care whether it was in the oval office or in an elevator at a hotel. The place doesn't excuse it, nor does his occupation.
Again, what was written about Clinton and what he was impeached for are different things--what was written most certainly did take him to task for allegations that included groping women and propositioning them in ways that remind me very much of what Arnold is supposed to have done. Conservatives didn't confine commentary to the court room--and I do find it disappointing when someone is willing to denounce the one but not the other.
I also find it disappointing when Dems who defended Clinton are in such a rush to attack Arnold.
If I lived in California, I would cast my vote for McClintock. I would urge my friends to do the same.
"That doesn't mean that I can't find it disappointing by my own standards, does it?"
I never said that you couldn't. I simply asked the question "How do you reconcile your vote for Bush while at the same time condemning Arnold?"
I do see a difference between the two, but apparently not as much as you do"
I never said that I saw a difference, or that I didn't. I haven't passed any judgement on Arnold at all (in this thread or anywhere else), I simply asked you to defend yours. One does not require the other, nor should it.
"The place doesn't excuse it, nor does his occupation."
Again, I never excused Arnold (nor condemned him). I simply pointed out the criteria upon which someone might choose to excuse him even if they didn't excuse Clinton. This was an issue that you raised in your original post and then carried through the subsequent discussion. On a more philosphical basis, the occupation does make a difference. I couldn't care less if the person making me a latte is stoned so long as my coffee tastes good. When I show up at the emergency room I better find that everyone working there is stone-cold sober. Place is also an issue because I couldn't care less if the EMT gets stoned at home, so long as everyone at the emergency room is stone-cold sober. If you want to say that occupation and location don't make a difference in this case I won't argue with you, but it does make a difference in many situations.
"I also find it disappointing when Dems who defended Clinton are in such a rush to attack Arnold."
On this, we agree 100%.
"If I lived in California, I would cast my vote for McClintock. I would urge my friends to do the same."
Since I don't live in CA I haven't paid any attention to the actual issues, I've simply enjoyed the spectacle that the recall has been (and it has been quite the spectacle, hasn't it?). This is why I haven't formed a position on any candidate's worth for office.
Well, I think I've answered all your questions, then.
As for the philosophical note, I would agree with you that for many things the occupation and time does matter (which is why I hope our President isn't tweaking while he's holding cabinet meetings about the future of the occupation of Iraq). I just don't think that for this issue, the occupation or time matters at all.
And, yes, I want that EMT to be stone cold sober when he's dressing my wounds, too.
And, with that, I think I don't have anything new to say on the subject. And the readers said, "Thank God."
Just when the horse was almost dead, I have to revoke one of the points I conceded earlier. According to Susan Estrich, a law professor who has forgotten more than I'll ever know about the laws of sexual assault and sexual harassment, none of the alleged gropings, even if 100% accurate, constituted a crime. They probably did constitute battery for purposes of tort law, but then again, all unconsented touching falls into that broad category. So however bad Arnold's behavior may have been, there is no evidence he committed a crime.
That said, I can assure you that if a Gov. Schwarzenegger ever gropes one assistant or squeezes one journalist's ass (other than Maria's, of course), then you count on me to lead the charge to recall him (assuming that the Legislature doesn't impeach him, as they surely would).
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