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                                       politics + culture

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Arnold

From the LA Times:

Ken Khachigian, a longtime Republican strategist who was a speechwriter in the Reagan White House, said of Schwarzenegger's rhetorical habits: "It was like, 'OK, we've heard that stuff.' This is different now. This is policy and substance, and the speeches should have used a little different rhetoric."

While Schwarzenegger's approach "worked well in the recall," Khachigian said, "The problem is that it didn't wear very well over a period of time. After a while he was a governor, not an actor, and it's quite a different role." [snip]

With his popularity peaking, there was talk of amending the U.S. Constitution so that a foreign-born citizen could run for president — a tantalizing prospect for the ambitious Schwarzenegger. Many considered it implausible — why would U.S. senators change the Constitution to benefit a political rival? — but some around the governor were intrigued enough to entertain the prospect. They counseled a rightward shift to put the governor more in the mainstream of the national GOP.

Soon enough Schwarzenegger was openly disdaining the Democratic lawmakers he once called partners. He endorsed only Republicans in the November 2004 legislative races. He flew to the key state of Ohio to make a last-minute push for President Bush's reelection and later crowed over Bush's win there. The partisan shift culminated in early January in his pugnacious State of the State speech, which opened a bitter off-year election season. Schwarzenegger said he was determined to "reform" California for the good of all the people. But the changes he urged came at the expense of his Democratic opponents and their backers.

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