Total Recall

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m happy about the Schwarzenegger victory in California. I guess one reason is that I know that he has some familiarity with libertarian ideas. Another is that it will add something entertaining to politics.

But, I think the main reason is that I like the fact that this makes it a bit harder for politicians to pretend that they are in office because they are brilliant statesmen and respected thinkers. It makes it clear that people don’t get elected for being Platonic philosopher king material. They get elected because they have the ability to make people comfortable giving them money (to campaign with) and power to wield (or less uncomfortable than giving it to their most likely alternative) in the hopes that they’ll get something worthwhile in return. In other words, they have name recognition, and skills at evoking hope, schmoozing, cutting deals, and lying. None of these things make them likely to perform well for the people who trust them (and aren’t likely to help finance their next election).

If Arnold tries to cut spending and regulations, then I wish him luck with the heavily Democratic legislature. Perhaps his mandate will make it easier to influence them. If he tries to add new taxes and programs, then I wish him all of the disappointments that the office promises to deliver.

So, I’m cautiously optimistic and looking forward to the fireworks.

UPDATE: Colby Cosh makes some related points about politicians (but, he’s focusing on why there are so few women in politics; not on Arnold)

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