“Gray Davis, he is a smart man like you say, but he doesn’t talk to the people, he doesn’t even talk to the people in politics. The joke of it is he has isolated himself much more than most movie stars. Why are we surprised that he is such a failure as the governor?”
So Arnold Schwarzenegger is embarked on the next mind-boggling journey of an extraordinary life, the starry-eyed small-town Austrian boy now the front-runner for governor of California, just as predicted here last year. (Okay, I was talking about 2006.) At each stage of his plan — “One thing leads to another,” he always says — he has been at times quite awkward and encountered a lot of turbulence: becoming the world’s greatest bodybuilder, rising to riches in business, becoming the biggest action movie star in the world. Unlike those long-haul situations, this is a short campaign in which a few mistakes can be fatal. But consider this. For him to win, the arguably most unpopular governor in history must lose the recall vote.
And Arnold Schwarzenegger must defeat a lieutenant governor, viewed by few as a distinguished figure, and last year’s hapless Republican nominee. Care to bet against that? It was a sucker bet at the 1980 Mr. Olympia.