Thursday, June 24, 2004

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Arnold Schwarzenegger likes it rough

Charlie LeDuff and John M. Broder write a pretty favorable story about the governor from California in today's New York Times (link via Andrew Sullivan). Two points stood out:

1) Arnold and W. -- not so much with the friendship. Here's what the Governor has to say about the President:

Mr. Schwarzenegger, in an interview in the Bedouin-style smoking tent he has set up in the courtyard of the State Capitol here — smoking is banned in state buildings — made it clear that he expected a prominent role at the Republican National Convention in New York in late August.

"Whether I'm speaking, I'll leave that up to them," said Mr. Schwarzenegger, a global celebrity who has emerged as perhaps the most intriguing new Republican face of the political season. "If they're smart, they'll have me obviously in prime time."

But Mr. Schwarzenegger, who has been defining himself as a moderate, also made it clear that when prime time is over, he intends to keep some distance from Mr. Bush, who is not particularly popular in Democratic-leaning California.

Mr. Schwarzenegger said that while he would appear with Mr. Bush if the president comes to California, he had no plans to travel outside of the state to stump for him.

2) Those budget cuts are hitting deep. The story closes out with a priceless anecdote:

On fiscal matters, Mr. Schwarzenegger considers himself an old-school Republican determined to ferret out waste. No item is too minor to escape his attention.

For instance, since Mr. Schwarzenegger took office on Nov. 17, the toilet paper in the Capitol has been switched from two-ply to one-ply, a saving of thousands of dollars over the years. "It's not anymore the two-ply," he said. "Because you know what? We're trimming. We're living within our means."

posted by Dan on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM


Yeah, but you gotta use twice as much single ply....

posted by: Sharp as a Marble on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

Bush is not very popular in California for two separate reasons: Democrats, and his insane illegal alien amnesty proposal. Regarding the latter, listen to this radio interview with Bush's campaign manager:

Right out of the gate, [campaign manager Ken Mehlman] refuses to consider President Bush’s Amnesty Plan to be an amnesty plan. He even continues to wave the Weapons Of Mass Destruction flag. Since [KFI hosts John & Ken] gave his campaign manager here a lesson in “What Californians Are Pissed About”, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bush campaign changes by the time it gets to the west coast...

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

I sure hope they didn't cut the budget on soap! Single ply has a habit of tearing.

posted by: Bloated_govt on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

I thought that there was another reason his nickname is "stinkyfingers."

posted by: Mike on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

The problem is I doubt it'll save much money in the long run; when I'm faced with 1-ply, I compensate by doubling the amount of paper I use and folding it over. Unless the price-per-sheet ratio (PPSR) is less than 0.5, you wind up losing money.

posted by: Independent George on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

Yeah, but you gotta use twice as much single ply....

ack, what he said.

posted by: Independent George on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

It's an elaborate cover story to deflect attention from reports that Schwarzenegger has been squeezing the Charmin.

posted by: Paul Zrimsek on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

In all seriousness, though--and at the risk of sounding like a crotchety cynic--the toilet paper story is exactly the kind of "supposedly revealing anecdote" that the public discussion could do without.

Does anyone really believe this little tidbit signifies much of anything about Schwarzenegger fiscal approach? Isn't it more likely that it's a canned example--specifically cooked up for the press--to show that Schwarzenegger is "determined to ferret out waste"?

The $1000 in toilet paper savings has bought him *tens* of thousands of dollars in free publicity. Great PR management from the Governor, but journalists--and bloggers--shouldn't fall for it.

posted by: contrapositive on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

He's also mixing the first coat of paint with the second coat of paint so he can put them both on at once.

He's going to build the new jail with materials from the old jail but he won't tear down the old jail until the new jail is done.

Oh, I got a million of em.

posted by: Buce on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

Afterthought: the single-ply maneuver may be, ahem, denser than at first appears. Someone (Winston Churchill?) suggested that the absence of a revolutionary tradition in the US can be attributed to the poor quality of prison toilet paper. Inmates are reduced to crafting their manifestoes with obsidian chips on sandstone.

posted by: Buce on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

What is it exactly that we are trimming?

posted by: jeff on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

“Mr. Schwarzenegger said that while he would appear with Mr. Bush if the president comes to California, he had no plans to travel outside of the state to stump for him.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger is merely driving a hard bargain. It’s called Negotiating 101. The newly released Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll has some good news for President Bush:

“If the election were held today, the poll finds Bush at 48 percent and Kerry at 42 percent. When independent candidate Ralph Nader is included he receives three percent, Bush 47 percent and Kerry 40 percent.”

Everybody want to be on the side of a winner. Thus, the California governor is virtually certain to work hard for the Bush campaign. The Arnold is very well aware that John Kerry needs to be able to take California for granted. This is a state where the Democrat presidential candidate should not have to spend enormous money and resources. President Bush would be indebted to Schwarzenegger if Senator Kerry had to do so.

posted by: David Thomson on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

I hope he doesn't ruin all of this good press over his dog-pound ruling.

posted by: Zach on 06.24.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

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