Faculty members turned their backs on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger while he gave the commencement speech last week at his alma mater, Santa Monica College. Marc Cooper from the LA Weekly was in the stands:
As I watched the governor give the commencement address at Santa Monica College, I started to wonder if Arnold, and his political handlers, have completely lost touch with reality.
I emphasize the word “watched” instead of listened because the jeering and hissing and booing and chanting were so overwhelming that neither I nor the couple of thousand graduating students and their families could actually hear much of what he said.
And, frankly, the catcalls (including the sewer-level sing-song Spanish jeer “culero” [asshole]) were more interesting than the text of the 15-minute address that Arnie struggled to finish. Here we were on the first campaign day of a five-month run-up to a November 8 special election that, according to the governor, is so crucial to our future it’s worth its $50 million to $80 million cost and worth holding a year before regularly scheduled balloting. But what was the governor’s chosen topic? Well, himself, silly!
Talk about girlie-men. Arnold plain didn’t have the walnuts to as much as broach any of the issues raised by the special election he decreed the day before: the state budget, redistricting or the dreaded e-word – education. Instead, Schwarzenegger clumsily droned out a canned Horatio Algerish homily about how he hard he worked to become a world-class bodybuilder, an internationally beloved movie star (and something far less of a politician). “I never lost sight of my goal,” was the tin-plated advice from the governor now threatening to further shrink state education spending.
He either chickened out completely on arguing his new crusade or he’s so detached from ground-level politics that he still believes he can skate by as a controversial governor plagued with plunging popularity ratings by rolling out one more vacuous celebrity-driven appearance. Pretty pathetic either way.