Schwarzenegger Meltdown Continues – Top Dem Ally Brought in

Today’s Los Angeles Times – front page, above the fold – has a story titled “Schwarzenegger’s Top Ally Steps In.” The “ally” is, of course, Gov. Schwarzenegger’s wife, Maria Shriver, shown at right consorting with the enemy at last year’s Republican convention.

The Schwarzenegger regime (the Times refers them as his “senior staff” and “campaign team” ) is roiling from what insiders describe as a “dysfunctional” atomsphere and a “civil war” within its upper ranks.

Schwarzenegger is facing infighting among his senior staff and campaign team, which has contributed to a series of political missteps that threaten the once soaring governor’s ambitious agenda, more than a dozen aides and lawmakers said Thursday.

“More than a dozen” aides were quoted?! When that many people are talking with reporters, I think the term “meltdown” is accurate for what’s going on in the Governor’s office.

One sign of the governor’s troubles is the active involvement of his wife, Maria Shriver. The first lady is conferring with consultants to refine the governor’s message and working to ensure that her husband hears a broader range of voices.

Begs the question: Why? If we’re to believe Maria’s various quasi-patronizing quotes over the years about her husband’s right-leaning politics then we can assume that underneath her journalistic objectivity she’s still a Kennedy-style liberal.

Since she’s constantly stepping in to help Arnold out of political jams, further analysis would bring us to the conclusion that whatever her political beliefs are, she’s laying them aside in order to help her husband – and thereby the enemies of liberalism and its tenets of freedom, fair play, privacy and integrity -in the Republican Party. Shriver wades into these frays inside the GOP without batting a lash. This makes her a collaborator of the first order. Beyond that, whatever journalistic bona fides she may have had are forever compromised by these political activities.

Flipping it around, you also have to wonder why the Gop operatives around Arnold – like Mike Murphy, for just one example – would be comfortable having a Kennedy within the inner circle.

But back to the Governor’s problems:

Schwarzenegger is reeling after successive policy reversals, gaffes and clashes with well-organized opponents have deflated his once-buoyant approval ratings. The latest setback came this week when he told a newspaper publishers association that the United States should “close its borders.” He later apologized, explaining that he misspoke because of his imperfect command of English.

Who are you reminded of when you hear the excuse that Arnold’s “imperfect command of English” caused the gaffe?

If this were happening in, say, April 2006, as Arnold’s campaign for re-election was gearing up, I’d say there was genuine hope that he could be defeated. But, as I noted in a previous rant, Schwarzenegger can communicate with Calfornia voters via a megaphone that no other politician in the state can acces: He can go over the heads of the California television news – which doesn’t cover politics anyway – and go on Oprah, Access Hollywood or other national entertainment outlets – which most Californias do watch. This is how he got elected last time, and it’s almost undoubtedly how he’ll do it next year.

In fact, Shriver is already doing it:

Several people familiar with the governor’s office described Shriver as very “unhappy” and “frustrated” over her husband’s fortunes. Shriver, the niece of former president John F. Kennedy who has intervened before when her husband’s political interests were in jeopardy, is using a national tour promoting her new self-help book for teenage girls to defend her husband, making her case with administration talking points.


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