Arnold could be the best thing for California since sliced bread

By Patrick Burke

Gray Davis, apparently under the impression that the American public actually cares whether he loses face or not, went on The Late Show with David Letterman Friday to take a few last, cheap shots at “the governator.” Davis did this in the form of a Top Ten list in which he gives Arnold “advice” about being governor of the great state of California.

As expected, the segment was more pathetic than funny. Continuing his long tradition of not thinking outside of the box, Davis chose to use Letterman’s writers, the masters of recycled topical humor, to trash the guy who just stole his job and probably destroyed his career. Topping the list of advice for Arnold was “it’s pronounced California.” This joke is of course directed at Arnold’s Austrian accent.

Interestingly though, proficiency in the English language didn’t seem to be a real issue in Davis’s mind when he was looking for voters to help him overturn the recall. Considering Davis is such a fundraising guru, he should have charmed some unsuspecting foreign millionaires to give him enough money to hire some real comedians like Lewis Black or Chris Rock to roast Arnold. Instead he went down to the forced laughs of Letterman’s studio audience. Even “the AlGoreithm” “Mr. Goreboto” was able to book Saturday Night Live for his demise. It’s hard to believe a guy like Gray Davis who would go down to the forced laughs of a studio audience, has been arguably one of the most powerful politicians in one of the most powerful states in the U.S. for roughly 30 years.

Gray Davis is exactly what’s wrong with modern U.S. politics. Individuals with no personality, no vision, and no oratorical skills are able to gain a great deal of clout in the political arena. Outside of politics, a man of Gray Davis’s character wouldn’t be allowed to wander more than 15 feet away from his cubicle. When did merit cease to be a factor in politics? When did money raising and slam campaigns become the most important attributes of an aspiring politician? The spoiled rich kid who parties all through college and dodges the draft is supposed to end up a hopeless alcoholic, not president of the United States of America.

The head of our national security should be able to think of something a little more creative than a color-coded alert system. A guy like Michael Moore shouldn’t be able to make millions of dollars by doing nothing more than mocking our inept leaders are.

When is the last time a politician spent enough time on a speech to make it meaningful and quotable? At some point politicians stopped having to write their own speeches. Due to teleprompters, they don’t even have to remember their speeches anymore. Maybe politicians don’t even have to be any good at raising money and running slam campaigns. Perhaps out-of-work economics and English majors take care of these for them. The worst thing of all is that the modern day politician is able to make lengthy careers out of being, in many cases, nothing more than figureheads. Many of them are instituted by special interests and surrounded by staff appointed by special interests. George Bush probably never spoke to Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, or Condoleezza Rice, before some huge campaign donor appointed them to his staff.

Even if Arnold can’t pronounce California correctly, at least he’s not a career politician. Arnold is definitely not a revolution in American politics, but at least he has motor skills—unlike Davis. He also seems to speak his mind, and, like all true musclemen, he accepts the fact that he needs to surround himself with intelligent, balding, weaker men to help him out with the decision making process. In essence, Arnold is everything Davis, a player-hating android sent back in time to sabotage American politics, is not. As long as Arnold’s self-esteem wasn’t hurt too badly by that segment on Letterman, Arnold could end up being an unexpectedly large step in the right direction.