Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Terminator and the Gipper

Confronted with the possibility of another conservative actor as governor of California, the mainstream, left-leaning media is now saying that Schwarzenegger is no Reagan. But the media must be careful, for it is conceding that Ronald Reagan had good experience and credentials to be governor and then president. cover

In fact, no book spells this thesis out more clearly than Peter Schweizer's Reagan's War which details Reagan's early days as president of the Screen Actors Guild and his political battles against communists in Hollywood. By the time he got to the White House, Reagan had a lifetime of battling communists and thinking about communism behind him. He didn't need any Sovietologists telling him what to do or how to think (though he had a helpful hand from Richard Pipes).

It is true that Arnold does not have the experience that Reagan did at a similar stage in his career, for Reagan had fought serious political battles in Hollywood well before he became governor. Nor could one easily envision Arnold giving wonkish, policy-oriented radio addresses, as Reagan did in the years between his stints as governor and president. Nevertheless, Schwarzenegger seems to share Reagan's optimism and belief in freedom, qualities that are perennially suspect on the left.

In any case, Reagan is finally getting his due, however grudgingly, from the mainstream media outlets that never let him live down Bedtime for Bonzo.


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