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Further Tales in the Dumbing of America

October 6, 2003 - 8:45 p.m.

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Last Five Entries:
The Party's Over
July 11, 2004
The Next Day
My Nervous Breakdown
True Confessions: My Life as a Female Impersonator
March 15, 2004
Bite Me
February 29, 2004



The California recall election was unfairly branded a circus when 130+ candidates joined the race for governor, including such dubious names as Gary Coleman, Mary Carey, and Larry Flynt. I think it was unfair, because the mere fact that anyone can run for public office is a sign of a healthy democracy. Democracy protects the little man, and if Gary Coleman isn't the little man, who is?

Maybe the California gubenatorial election doesn't directly affect me. However, I think that the election helps expose the greatest threat to Democracy as we know it: an uninformed electorate.

There are pently of qualified candidates running for governor. Bustamante has actual experience running the state. Someone who can't stand voting for a Democrat could look to McClintock, the Republican who actually knows what the important issues in California are. Someone who rejects both of the major parties could have turned to Arianna Huffington, before she dropped out. She at least has two brain cells to rub together.

But the voters of California- at least the ones who answer polls- are rejecting the traditional methods of electing a governor. If traditional means considering the experience and knowledge of the candidates. And Schwartzenegger is taking advantage of the climate, taking a cue from George W. Bush, who beat Al Gore's intellect by convincing Americans that all that elitist garbage, like doing the math, is too hard for the American voter to consider. (Remember "fuzzy math?") I call the Bush strategy, "The Dumbing of America."

Schwartzenegger leads the polls, unashamed to admit that he doesn't know the issues facing California, but he's darn willing to try to find out, if he's elected. Just like the guy who fully expects to be hired when he says in the job interview: "I don't know anything about your company, but if you hire me, I promise I'll ask people what your company does."

Actually, that's not an exact analogy. If elected governor, Schwartzenegger won't learn the issues, but instead appoint a panel of experts to do his homework for him.

Since Californians, at least the ones answering the polls, don't seem to want competence in a governor, choices like Bustamante and McClintock are out. But I think that there are still alternatives to Schwartzenegger among the other candidates, alternatives who still appeal to Californian sensibilities.

Some Californians may want a governor who is into orgies and treats women badly. Despite the recent stories about Schwartzenegger "behaving badly" (a kinder, gentler term for "sexual assault"), Larry Flynt is definitely the candidate for orgies and treating women badly. Hustler has depicted many more orgies than Schwartzenegger has ever had, and many more men have witnessed the objectification of women on Hustler's pages than have witnessed Schwartzengger's objectifcation of women on movie sets. (Maybe it will be included with the bonus material on the DVD for Kindergarten Cop.)

Schwartzenegger isn't smart enough to understand the issues, but he will be appointing advisors. But what will happen when his advisors agree? Lacking his own knowledge on which to draw, Schwartenegger will be forced to decide California's future by flipping a coin. However, Mary Carey is good with her fingers, I think she can flip a coin far better than Schwartzenegger. (She also brings orgy experience to the table.)

Schwartzenegger only agreed to do one debate, and only a debate in which he received the questions far in advance. Even with the advance notice, he couldn't prepare substantive answers, and only prepared catch-phrases alluding to his movies. And after that debate, in which he demonstrated conclusively that he is incapable of original thought, his poll numbers soared. But if California just wants a candidate who can read catch phrases, Gary Coleman is the far better candidate. He simply reads a cue card better than Schwartzenegger. (He's also been in more debates than Schwartzenegger, having appeared on The Tonight Show and the Game Show Network. Gary Coleman also knows a lot more about balancing a budget than Schwartzenegger.)

From my perspective, if Schwartzenegger is a legitimate candidate, then Larry Flynt, Mary Carey, and Gary Coleman are just as legitimate.

I have to admit one area in which Schwartzenegger acted politically astute. The ill-timed accusations of Schwartzenegger's sexual abuse of women gave him the unprecedented opportunity to both apologize for and deny the accusations simultaneously, gaining points for both. Not even Bill Clinton could pull that off- he wasn't able to apologize until the denials failed. The left-wing groups handed this to Schwartzenegger on a silver platter. By waiting into the last minute, the left-wing groups revealing the accusations gave cynical voters the opportunity to dismiss real accounts of harassment and abuse as "playing political games." By being vague about what he did and didn't do, Schwartzenegger allows voters to assume the falseness of the actual allegations, accept the lesser offense of "behaving badly," and then give him credit for honestly admitting mistakes. Not only to liberal groups fail their political goals of discrediting Schwartzenegger, their political use of women's stories further marginalizes the harassment and abuse that women suffer so that society will take harassment and abuse less seriously in the future.

And the best thing for Schwartzenegger is that he can parley this into Conan the Governor.

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