Terminator or Bloviator?

Social moderate? Republican firemouth? Who is Arnold, really?

Last week, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ended a high-profile summer by kicking off prime-time coverage of the Republican National Convention. His speech was a resounding success in New York -- the Bush campaign has since invited Schwarzenegger to address voters in battleground states this fall -- but struck many in California as inconsistent with his administration and campaign promises. Are you an Arnold Schwarzenegger apologist? Take our quiz and find out.


1) Schwarzenegger won the recall election over former Gov. Gray Davis largely because of his pledge to fix the state's chronically unbalanced budget. But after a year of aggressive campaigning, backroom deals, and public spats with legislators on both sides of the aisle, Schwarzenegger put forward a plan that does not offer the kind of systemic, long-term solutions he had promised. What do you think of Schwarzenegger's budget?

A) Let's see, he delivered a budget a month late that cuts funding for libraries and schools, drives up fees for community and state college students, and relies on borrowing and Indian gaming revenue to close a $14 billion deficit. Isn't that grounds for a recall?

B) California has a budget? (Bonus point for asking if California is a state.)

C) How could anyone suggest Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't understand the needs of children and teachers? Haven't you seen Kindergarten Cop? You can't fake that kind of compassion.

2) The governor embroiled himself in another controversy this summer when he said that Bay Area residents should pay for cost overruns on the Bay Bridge retrofit project. Because of political gamesmanship, bad estimates, and engineering miscalculations, the project's costs have ballooned from $200 million to more than $5 billion since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and not even Schwarzenegger's bold declaration has put an end to the legislative maneuvering. Who do you think should pay for the bridge?

A) Gee, I dunno. Maybe the guy who made $20 million to star in a movie called The 6th Day should chip in.

B) The problem is probably the retrofit design itself. If we just went back to the drawing board for a few months ....

C) The governor is right. If the folks in the Bay Area want a bridge so badly, they should get out their hammers and do it themselves. Nobody pays, everybody wins!

3) The 1993 sci-fi film Demolition Man -- starring Sylvester Stallone as a cop who is unfrozen in 2026 to battle his nemesis, crime lord Wesley Snipes -- features a prophetic punch line: the Schwarzenegger Presidential Library. "Even though he was not born in this country," Sandra Bullock explains to a stunned Stallone, "his popularity at the time caused the 61st Amendment ...." If you were to awaken from a cryogenic deep sleep to discover Schwarzenegger had been president, what would you say?

A) "Yeah, sure. And I'll bet George H.W. Bush's stupid kid was a two-termer."

B) "At least it wasn't Stallone."

C) "Well, the presidency's nice, but it's really a step down from being Mr. Universe."

4) Which of the following quotes from Schwarzenegger's film career do you think most closely reflects his political ambitions?

A) As Conan the Barbarian, on what is best in life: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!"

B) As a Russian cop in Red Heat: "You ship drugs to my country, and one morning you will wake up and find your testicles floating in a glass of water next to your bed."

C) As himself in Pumping Iron: "I was always dreaming about very powerful people -- dictators and things like that. I was just always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of years, or even, like Jesus, be for thousands of years remembered."

5) Schwarzenegger suffered his first high-profile defeat last month when he had to abandon a plan to build a sprawling Indian casino 20 minutes from San Francisco. Even after offering to slash the number of slot machines from 5,000 to 2,500, Schwarzenegger was forced to bow to bipartisan protests of his 11th-hour legislative ploy. Do you think an urban casino is the right idea for California, or do you see it as spreading a message of state-sanctioned vice?

A) It's a terrible message from a governor who has gleefully admitted to pot smoking, gangbanging, and the occasional grope of a woman he doesn't know.

B) Simply put, this state must end its addiction to gambling money, the impoverishment it produces, and the political influence it brings. But can you get there by BART?

C) Relax. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

6) Although Schwarzenegger has relatively moderate views on abortion, gun laws, and gay rights, he portrayed himself in his convention speech as a true Republican who believes Democrats are beholden to special-interest groups and soft on national defense. Beneath all the action-star theatrics and political rhetoric, who do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger really is?

A) The Terminator.

B) Anything he wants to be, as long as he stops making really bad movies.

C) Who knows? This is the master chameleon who convinced the world he was a robot! (Bonus point for adding, "and Danny DeVito's twin!")

7) Schwarzenegger drew fire recently when he called California's Democratic lawmakers "girlie men," and he railed against "economic girlie men" during his convention speech. The Saturday Night Live-inspired joke has become a controversial, but inescapable, term in the governor's lexicon. How do you define a "girlie man"?

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