Monday, February 05, 2007

Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger for President

by Bernie Quigley, for The Free Market News Network, 2/5/07

There was an interesting article by Jonathan Chait in the LA Times the other day about Hillary Clinton. Chait is an editor of the political journal “The New Republic” and a Bill Clinton liberal, the kind under attack nowadays by Southern Populists rising in the Democratic Party because of their attachment to the Big Bucks on Wall St. Even “The New York Times” editorial page was absolutely in full pout this weekend on how the Clintons are short-circuiting the voting process with tons and tons of money. Piles of it. But that’s not Chait’s concern. He, like millions of other Democrats, just wants Bill to be President again.

“The Hillary Clinton campaign is a product of the fact that her husband can’t run for re-election,” he says. “She is certainly highly intelligent and qualified to hold the Presidency, but if her husband were running, she wouldn’t be. People react to her candidacy largely on the basis of how they felt about Bill Clinton.”

No doubt. As we vividly remember, as soon as Elvis entered the building, the missus emerged as co-manager. As they so coyly put it back then, we were getting “two for one.”

Bush would probably be dumped unceremoniously in 2008 [if only he could run again], says Chiat, and only our “kooky current system lets him [Bush] retire undefeated [by Bill Clinton].”

“What this country really needs is to have Bill Clinton run against George W. Bush,” he says.

Chiat has a point. There is a way large group of people, most of whom are about the same age, who have been able to think of nothing but Bill Clinton since he was President. He’s just a hunka, hunka, burnin’ love to these people. Can Bill be Vice President? Secretary of State? First Lady or whatever that would be? As it is with Chairman Mao and Peter the Great, they hope to extend his legacy and extend his career by sending his charming Midwestern wife to the Oval Office. Obviously, it is a way of circumventing those pesky Republicans who changed the law just to block Franklin Roosevelt out of reelection.

Laws are laws. If we don’t like them, we can change them. But to circumvent them by sending a spouse to office, so as to govern behind her skirt is worse than illegal – it is bad faith. It is monarchist in tendency and attempts to circumvent the common tradition of political faith and fairness we have established in this country since 1776.

If Constitutional issues are blocking the will of the American people, let’s be straight and consider fixing them. Of course, it would be a political expedient simply to enable the Bill Faithful who see Elvis One as a kind of generational deity, but so was the original law that now blocks his reelection a political expediency.

And while we’re at it, let’s review again why Arnold Schwarzenegger, the highly regarded Governor of California, who was just reelected in a small landslide, can’t run. Foreign born, outlawed by the Constitution. The LA Times, always vigilant, recently wrote about this as well. They say it had something to do with Poland during the Revolution and Napoleon. I can’t remember exactly, but it sounded like more of that partisan bickering of which the Founding Fathers are so noted for. They recommend changing the Constitution so Arnold can run.

Maybe we could have a quick Constitutional Convention so that Bill can run against Arnold.

No? Then how about this. Why doesn’t the savvy, intelligent and formidable wife of the Governator, Maria Shriver, of the famed Kennedy clan, run in Arnold’s place, like the missus is doing for Bill? There would be a kind of native fairness and equity to it. It would be an extra-legal solution for clearing a path around a bunch of archaic legal knotholes and it wouldn’t be technically illegal. And just like with the Clintons, we’d be getting “two for one.” And a Kennedy and an Arnold! The White House would be awash with grace, intelligence and élan like we haven’t seen since Jackie Kennedy hosted the likes of Andre Malraux and a gaggle of other writers, artists and Nobel laureates. I’m sure the Arnolds know lots of nice people.

As Chait says, politics since Bill Clinton has consisted largely of referendum-by-proxy on Bill Clinton.

But here is something else: The drafting of Arnold in mid-stream was also a referendum on contentious Clinton partisan politics and Clinton proxies, like Gray Davis. Toward the end of his ill-fated half term, California was paralyzed by partisan gridlock and its economy was being compared to the economy of Venezuela. It was about to tank. Governor Schwarzenegger retrieved California not only from weak-management, but from the same bitter political warfare that plagues the rest of the country today.

Schwarzenegger was reelected by a wide margin just recently by showing agile and responsive leadership. He is willing to change course when the set course fails. He calls himself a “nonpartisan” politician. He is part Libertarian, part Liberal, part Conservative.

California is the awakening American vision. Perhaps it has just turned the corner ahead of the rest of us. The rise of the Governator has sent the old school into remission with a superior new political model that has not yet been brought to a national election.

So Chait is wrong. This country doesn’t need George W. Bush to run against Bill Clinton. It needs Arnold Schwarzenegger to run against Bill Clinton. That would put us back on path again in the new century. But as the Constitution forbids it for both candidates, let’s run Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger against the already declared Mrs. Bill Clinton.