Schwarzenegger’s presidential ambitions
Is there anybody out there with muscle-man Republican-populist appeal who is bigger, meaner, tougher than the indestructible Sarah Palin? Anyone who could take her on – and take her down in a run for the presidency? It seems a job for only one person – a creature of titanic strength, a man who, once he sets his sights on something, does not unlock like some kind of weird cyborg, maybe. And that one man could only be the Governator, the Terminator: Arnold himself.
A new book due out next week reveals that Schwarzenegger hasn’t given up his hopes of parking his Hummer in the White House garage for four years, or more; in fact, he seems more intent on it than ever despite some setbacks: his popularity has waned with general voters and with the Republican establishment in his home state of California, and he still faces the he-man hurdle of amending the U.S. Constitution to enable his presidential ambitions.
No matter. As Ian Halperin writes in “The Governator: From Muscle Beach to His Quest for the White House, the Improbable Rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger,” the aging actor-politician does not plan to sit idly by after leaving the governorship in January 2011. Halperin relies on an unnamed Schwarzenegger aide and three other anonymous sources to detail a strategy now taking shape to stir up grassroots support for altering the Constitution to allow non-natives to pursue the presidency. After achieving that not insignificant goal, Halperin writes, Schwarzenegger has “devised a bold new strategy for his campaign to take the Oval Office” that includes a “run for office not as a Republican, not as a Democrat, but as an independent.”
Schwarzenegger believes he can energize a new political movement without actually calling himself an independent by appealing to Reagan Democrats, moderate Republicans fed up with the radical right and, most important, independents. Focus groups have already tested the potential, Halperin writes, and polling shows a possibility that this group could form a massive force.
“The governor fully believes he is going to be president of the United States,” said one of Helperin’s unnamed sources, “and he is going to devote every waking moment and every penny of his fortune to see that it happens.”
The forces aligned against Schwarzenegger’s biggest coup ever are huge – possibly unstoppable. But wait, what did Kyle Reese say in that movie? “That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”
Steven E. Levingston
| October 8, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
Tags: Schwarzenegger president; Schwarzenegger politics; Schwarzenegger after governorship;
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