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
Schwarzenegger, of course, is cagey about personnel, holding his cards close to the vest. And it may be that political insiders put too much stock in appointees, which makes sense, since most operatives and reporters deal only with staff.
In terms of policy direction, Schwarzenegger — who has already shown a propensity for leaving his advisers in the dust when he feels like it — is more outgoing, insisting that he will govern from the center with major moves to shake things up.
But his balancing act between enough insiderdom to be effective in the Capitol and the much promised and very popular outsiderdom he espouses will be important to watch closely.
Schwarzenegger was amused when I told him he had been spotted during a post-election Sun Valley jaunt at the annual running of the sheep through the streets of Ketchum, the quaint village (in Arnoldspeak) best known to the world that cannot afford pricey ski villas as the site of Ernest Hemingway’s shotgun suicide. “Your spies are everywhere,” he said.
My spies also told me that Schwarzenegger held a transition meeting during the Sun Valley trip. Among those participating with the new governor was Donna Tuttle, wife of the late Reagan kitchen cabineteer Holmes Tuttle, someone not widely seen as a populist outsider.
Schwarzenegger’s Conan Cometh, er, California Comeback statewide bus tour culminated in a roaring rally of 10,000 Schwarzenegger enthusiasts outside the state Capitol on the Sunday before the election. The audience, which screamed its approval of the broom-wielding action hero’s dramatic vow to “clean house here,” is taking a great deal on faith with our Gulfstream Governor.
Schwarzenegger and Davis have their first meeting October 23. Amazingly, the two men had never met, and had never spoken before the governor conceded on election night.
How is it possible that Davis — who has been in and around Hollywood for 30 years — had managed not to be acquainted with Schwarzenegger, who has many Democratic friends?
The outgoing governor lost Warren Beatty’s phone number no fewer than four times when I gave it to him in the early ’90s. Beatty was Kathleen Brown’s key backer in Hollywood, and Davis was looking for a Hollywood buddy. But Davis proved to be much more comfortable with executives than with stars, a reason why I felt he might well stumble in a debate with Schwarzenegger, despite his greater command of governmental detail, even if he managed to secure a debate with the former Mr. Universe as a Hail Mary play to save his governorship.
Davis was never comfortable in debates, facing the bumbling Bill Simon only once during last year’s re-election campaign. Davis advisers say the governor demanded so much preparation with staff that he usually lost whatever performance he had in him before he ever got to the debate. We will never know if Davis would have been intimidated by the movie star, who is famous for his psyching out of opponents in bodybuilding and movies.
Davis was very friendly to Schwarzenegger in his election-night call, perhaps surprisingly so given the venom of his personal attacks on the governor-elect during the snarling close of the campaign. But he and his staff seem to be rising above the rancor of the campaign and their shock at its massive outcome, so the transition between the outgoing and incoming administrations is going more smoothly than many feared.