Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pulling an Arnold?

This morning I read a short transcipt of Dubya's statement following the complete pummelling the Republicans received in yesterday's election. He apparently emphasized bi-partizanship and nationwide collaboration as a desire expressed by the American public.

It reminded me, strongly, of a short documentary I saw on TV the other day which focused on Schwarzenegger and his efforts (past and present) in California. Arnie has been really sly and after receiving immense criticism and public outcries, he's made a complete policy U-turn the past 6 months or so. From being a hawkish rightwinger that wanted more powers and lower taxes, he's now described as more democrat than the Democrats themselves. He's made real efforts on educational, environmental and social issues - often sidelining parts of his own party.

The funny thing is, everyone loves him for it. As a piece of political strategy, it's a brilliant move when aiming for election day. And lo and behold, he got re-elected - basically because he stole and, more importantly, effected parts of the Democrat agenda. No doubt, he might have estranged several core Republicans in California. However, because he has attended the best interests of his own power, he now has 4 more years to appease them. I'm strangely fascinated and repulsed at the same time. It goes to show how shallow the political discourse and pride really is. It seems that when you have money enough, the next big prize is raw power. Regardless of actual policies.

I suspect that during the next two years we might see Bush try the same stunt. Certainly, Arnie has provided a very enticing template for it. Go along with the midfielders, do symbolic (and some practical) actions of collaboration, win back those 20% or more that always fluctuate between the wings. And do it all in time for the next presidential election when it really counts. In the meantime, the Democrats will have shot themselves in the foot trying to market themselves as the solution to the Iraq idiocy. Iraq is, at the very most, an acceptable failure. No solution will generate political favour by now.

The democrats are in danger of swapping their role as wartime realists in favour of a saviour-like rhetoric. If they do, the next Republican presidential candidate might have a field day pointing the finger at "the weaklings that thought they could fly".

On another but perhaps sadly related note, I went to see Borat yesterday with a bunch of friends. Cannot remember having laughed so hard and for so long. It is completely outrageous and a must see. I actually built up a mild headache and neck strain during the film because of my inability to stay calm. I won't put out spoilers already, but Borat's fat sidekick is involved in a scene that just blew me away in its mindblowing extremity. I'm chuckling right now, as I recall it. This film will get you through the winter, folks...

Americans, beware this man! Jagshemash!

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