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Schwarzenegger’s fantastic world

Welcome to the world of positive campaigning, Schwarzenegger-style. Listen to Arnold long enough, and you’ll start picking up his good vibrations. They’re quite infectious. It’s a candidacy based on steroid-driven superlatives. Howard Mortman reports.
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Fantastic job, anyone? That’s what Arnold Schwarzenegger is offering Californians should he become governor. The day after he announced his candidacy on the “Tonight Show,” Schwarzenegger said, “I have a very good agenda. The first thing and most important thing that we need to do is, we have to overhaul our economic engine in California. We have to bring back businesses to California and make sure everyone in California has a great job, a fantastic job.”

THAT’S RIGHT. An actual fantastic job.

We’re not talking your basic good jobs at good wages, or your job well done. No, Arnold’s gone further. He’s got in mind great jobs, fantastic jobs at — presumably — great and fantastic wages. Can’t you imagine every Californian who earns $20 million a movie walking around saying, “Wow! What a fantastic job I now have! Sure beats my old satisfactory job. I served food at Planet Hollywood.”

That’s the power of positive campaigning, Schwarzenegger-style. Listen to Arnold long enough, and you’ll start picking up his good vibrations. They’re quite infectious. It’s a candidacy based on steroid-driven superlatives.

Check out what he said about his wife when he filed for governor. “Now, I would just like to say thank you very much to my wonderful wife, who is the greatest wife in the world and the greatest friend that I have — I want to thank her for being here with me, for being such a great partner, and Maria if you don’t mind to say a few words also, big hand for my wife Maria!”

And just as instructed, the motivated crowd gave up whoop-whoops for Maria — the most wonderful, incredible, amazing, fantastic wife ever.

But don’t get too cocky, Maria. Turns out Schwarzenegger — which is German for “black plowman” — thinks everyone’s fantastic, job or no. He told an after-school event in New York City recently, “You’re a true champion. You’re fantastic. I love you.” Then he told the kids, “Look at all the press back there — they’re all here for you, all of them. Give them a big hand. They’re all here because they love after-school programs. They love to promote after-school programs. That’s why they’re here, right? Isn’t it fantastic?”


Yes, it’s a fantastic job, but somebody wonderful has got to do it.

OK, so fantastic Maria gets a big hand, and the fantastic media gets a big hand. Who else? Well, quite frankly, Arnold himself.

Promoting “Terminator 3,” Schwarzenegger told Variety’s V-Life magazine that, “The movie looks fantastic. No, there is another word for it, I think: extraordinary. Fantastic is not the right word. Because with the music and the sound, it’s becoming, like, complete. Spectacular.”

Face it. The guy is simply always happy. He’d be bouncing off walls all day if he didn’t smash into them first. “A governor has to bring people together,” he told the “Today” show. “A governor has to have vision, the governor has to go after that vision and those goals, and then solve the problems.” Positivism reared its positive head the next day on MSNBC: “You have to unite people. There are bright people in Sacramento, we need to reunite the parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, not to divide them. Let them both make decisions, and really work to a positive end rather than always fighting.” And he told a press conference, “I will be there for anyone, young or old, man or woman, doesn’t make any difference who it is. I will be the people’s governor.”


Where does Arnold get all his positive karmic energy? Would you believe, a stationary bike? The day after his surprise announcement, Schwarzenegger said, “I’m very happy that Mayor Dick Riordan is supporting my campaign. He has called me today at 8 o’clock in the morning while I was working out, while I was on the Life-Cycle sweating.” This may be the first governorship based on the need to replenish electrolytes.

Sure, Arnold’s unbridled optimism can sometimes run amok. “I promise you, I promise you,” he said during his first days on the campaign trail, “that if I get elected to be governor of this great state I will continue on my crusade for this state and across the country to make sure that … after-school programs will be made available in every public school in the whole United States.”

Crusade to force it into every single school? That’s not conservatism. That’s not even liberalism. That’s borderline dictatorship.

Sorry for letting that slip through. How negative of me. That’s not the Schwarzenegger way.

So get back on the Life-Cycle and repeat, “We’re all so beautiful! Up with everyone!” Now, go do — or at least apply for — a fantastic job.

Howard Mortman, a former editor and senior columnist for National Journal’s Hotline, is a producer for “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Tune into “Hardball” at 7 p.m. ET, M-F, exclusively on MSNBC cable.