Thursday, August 07, 2003

The Running Man

So, Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor of California in the recall election. Until a week ago, I was expecting this, as for a number of years Schwarzenegger has made no secret of his ambition to one day hold the job, and getting elected in this recall election is undoubtedly his best chance, as the number of votes required is small and the campaign is short. On the other hand, the media has been reporting for the last week that his advisors have been saying he was not going to run, mainly because his wife didn't want the negative publicity that would come out when his marital infidelities were publiciced. (If such a smear campaign is waged against him, this article from Premiere magazine will be exhibit A).

As has been pointed out, this candidacy leads the creators of headlines with both headaches (They had to fit "Schwarzenegger" into the headlines, and make sure they spell it correctly) but also great opportunities to use the names of his movies. (The word "Terminator" is clearly going to be used a lot in this election. "True Lies" has obvious relevance to politics. "Total Recall" is good given the situation. No doubt someone can think of a use for "End of Days", or some of the others). However, "The Running Man" is perhaps the most interesting. The title has obvious relevance. The movie was released in 1987, based on a Stephen King novel in which contestants compete in a television gameshow in a dystopian future in which the loser dies and the winner lives. In that movie Arnold's antagonist was played by professional wrestler Jesse Ventura. If Arnold gets elected, both the wrestler and the bodybuilder in that movie will have ended up state governors. I suspect bookmakers would have given me good odds on that at the time.

This is going to be fun. As to whether it will help California, who knows. Was it this weird when Ronald Reagan first went into politics?

Update: The fun has started. Lileks:

Listening to Arnold say “Collyvornia” during his press conference, I realized that his opponents can’t even mock his accent anymore. Let’s say they run an ad that features a musclebound lummox speaking in those dulcet Austrian tones; let’s say a reporter asks Arnie to comment. He could go dead serious, and say “Ah dunt beleaf in making fun uf an immigranz ahgcent.” Beat. Big toothy grin. “Unless Ahm togging about myszelf. Zen vut ze hell.”

Fifty thousand more votes, right there.

The whole thing is good. Go read.

Further Update: Daniel Weintraub of the Sacremento bee thinks Arnold is the front runner and may win. I am starting to think he is right. This could be weird.

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