My favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger line is from “Total Recall.” With fake-wife/Mars government operative Sharon Stone pleading patronizingly for her life — “You wouldn’t kill me, honey, I’m your wife” — Arnold blows her brains out and suggests that she simply “consider this a divorce.” Yet if we’ve learned anything from the California recall adventure which ends today, it’s that the greatest Arnoldisms were never captured on film. Allow me to review some of the more dazzling displays of Arnold’s classic Teutonic brilliance.
There’s Arnold on Richard Nixon:
“Nixon was always being attacked sexually. It was always said that he was a fag and that he had no sexual relations with his wife for 15 years and that was why he liked power.”
On Adolph Hitler:
“Hitler had only one ball, and that was why he wanted to conquer the world.”
On personal health:
“The best activities for your health are pumping and humping.”
Some Arnold critics have posited that such remarks are indicative of a larger character flaw in the action film star and former Mr. Universe — he’s a moron. Others are worried by further comments Arnold made which suggest an interest in Hitler than runs deeper than the genocidal dictator’s unitesticularity: “I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power– I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it.”
In his own defense, Arnold asserts that his soft spot for the Fuhrer stems more from his oratorical and political abilities than on any “public policy positions” the most evil man in the history of the world may have taken years ago. Does he mean favoring the mass extermination of Jews, blacks, Gypsies and Catholics and trying to take over the world?
Perhaps most alarming are the numerous allegations of Arnold’s sexual misconduct. According to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times, Arnold has grabbed a few unwelcoming breasts and buttocks in his day. But once again, it’s really what came out of his mouth that has mobilized many to oppose his candidacy over the past week. A few choice quotes:
To a waitress at a cafe in L.A.:
“I want you to do a favor for me. I want you to go in the bathroom, stick your finger in your [vagina], and bring it out to me.”
To a secretary at Columbia Pictures:
“You have a very nice ass. I’d love to work you out.”
To a crew member on the set of “Terminator 2”:
“Have you ever had a man slide his tongue in your [anus]?”
In response to these allegations, women’s groups such as NOW organized last-minute rallies against the recall and Arnold’s campaign. MoveOn.org, an online political advocacy group, ran television attack ads lambasting Arnold for his “serious problem with women.” And his poll numbers, it seems, are slipping.
So what’s the big deal? Well, there is the simple fact that some of the above remarks are among the most degenerate, disgusting, and despicable ever publicly attributed to someone of Schwarzenegger’s stature. Such comments are pretty outlandish for a movie star, but for a politician they are outright bizarre.
Arnold’s pattern of sexual harassment could seriously undercut his gubernatorial aspirations. Schwarzenegger entered this race as a political neophyte with few known positions other than his party membership. A candidate without credentials, a politician without policies, Arnold’s electability turns entirely on his likability. And frankly, I just don’t think misogynists are all that likable.
Of course, Schwarzenegger still has a lot of supporters in his corner. Some Arnold apologists, seeing the same Democrats who defended Bill Clinton’s sexual misadventures now leading the charge against Arnold’s misconduct, are calling partisan hypocrisy. Defend one womanizer, they seem to be saying, and you must defend them all. Even New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd echoed this sentiment, writing this Sunday that “Surely what’s good for the Comeback Kid is good for the Terminator.”
That’s ridiculous. To liken Arnold’s offensive and unwelcome advances to Bill’s Oval Office peccadilloes is like comparing date rape to sweet-talking seduction. Clinton’s behavior is that of a self-destructive, passionate sex-addict with bad taste in women who couldn’t keep his trunk in his trousers. Arnold’s acts are characteristic of a self-worshipping, mean-spirited misogynist more interested in degrading women than “humping” them. Clinton may have a sex problem. But Arnold has a social disease. I’ll let you decide which flaw is worse in a leader.
I will draw one parallel between the Schwarzenegger and Clinton stories, however. A number of folks are urging Maria Shriver, as many encouraged Hillary, to just dump the jerk. While the stand-by-your-man strategy seems to have worked out well for the junior senator from New York, I’m still rooting for Shriver to drop the Tammy Wynette act. If Davis is recalled and Arnold is Governor Schwarzenegger tomorrow, maybe Maria’s Kennedy relatives could convince her to run against him in 2006. I can just hear her announcement speech now: “Hey Arnold! Consider this a divorce.”
Zach Jones is a junior in Davenport College.