By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
With the Republican wipeout in California, Schwarzenegger is being talked up by desperately eager Republicans not just for governor in 2006 but for U.S. senator in 2004, when the usually vulnerable Barbara Boxer plans to seek a third term. But the governorship may be a better fit for S than being one of 100 senators, and in any event, the movie business may get in the way. S finished principal photography on Terminator 3 in September; it’s slated for Fourth of July release next year. And he is working on several other projects, notably a sequel to the 1994 smash True Lies -- in which he played a seemingly boring computer salesman whose family is clueless to the fact that he is really a sort of James Bond (S is a huge Bond fan) saving America from Islamic terrorists -- and a remake of Michael Crichton‘s Westworld, a ’70s sci-fi flick about an out-of-control futuristic amusement park.
S studied stars like Clint Eastwood and Warren Beatty (a liberal who thinks highly of him) and learned how to be involved in every aspect of his movies‘ production and marketing. But beyond that, he really enjoys his films. He grows very animated in discussing the in-the-works True Lies sequel, delayed because too much of the original James Cameron script sounded like 911, describing one spectacular scene with what can only be described as the glee of a true fan.
Asked to comment when told that pollsters Mark Di Camillo, of the Field Institute, and Mark Baldassare, of the Public Policy Institute of California, said that he would be an extremely formidable gubernatorial candidate, S shoots back: ”Well, I know what I think, tell me more what they think.“
The pollsters note that after years of mostly uninteresting governors since Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown, Californians are probably ready for some excitement. (”Right, right,“ says S.) And S is potentially better-positioned, consciously or not, than any Republican has been for some time to pick up needed votes among Democrats, independents, Latinos and women that elude right-wingers like Simon and 1998 nominee Dan Lungren.
S isn’t really talking about all his political views at this point, but he is pro-choice, pro--gay rights, pro--gun control, pro--immigrant rights, and speaks of his concern for the environment. Davis consigliere Garry South says S can be beaten in the Republican primary, noting that he is ”more liberal than Dick Riordan.“ But unlike this year, when his attack ads defeated Riordan, Davis won‘t be spending $10 million in the next Republican primary. The Democrats have strong conventional candidates in Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Treasurer Phil Angelides, and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, among others, but the certainty of a divided primary makes it likely that the winner would emerge bloodied and broke to face the superrich Terminator.
S has been extremely circumspect about his views on the governorship, but now grows very animated thinking about California politics. ”Leadership is the most needed thing in California politics, not wimps! Look where we have gone with this whole thing, it’s pitiful.
“Too many things have to be done by initiative in California. It‘s like, ’Hello, where are the guys that are supposed to lead?‘ I think this [initiative] naturally will set me up, and this is why people say this could be the move. And on top of that, it is so boring here.”
As the man himself says repeatedly about his life, it is a package, one thing leads to another. Republicans reeling from the Democrats’ historic sweep of all statewide offices, their once mighty party consumed in a conflagration of internal divisiveness, can only hope that, as in the opening credits of Terminator 2, a certain Austro-American name superimposes itself over the flames as a harbinger of future victory. They have no one else.