Cultural Revolutions

Arnold's Pyrite State

The most obscene political speech I ever heard was delivered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 for the Orange County Republican Party’s annual Flag Day dinner.  He began with his stock boy-immigrant-from-Austria spiel, a version of which you might have heard him give at the 2004 GOP National Convention.  Then he brought up the red-white-and-blue American-flag underwear he wore as an Austrian teen.  As this is a family magazine, I’ll spare the readers his lurid details.

Yet even as the Orange County audience laughed and wrote checks, Arnold, their fellow Republican, was teaming with state Democrats—and a few sellout GOP legislators—to pass record spending increases.  After all, in 2007 business was booming.  Recessions had been abolished.  The business cycle had been repealed.  The median price for an Orange County home was $650,000—and rising.

What economists called the “wealth effect”—home “owners” remortgaging their houses and blowing part of the windfall on hot tubs and BMWs—was flooding Orange County, and all California, with untold wealth.

In addition to this fiscal lunacy, there were other signs that Arnold was not so much an Austrian who, as he said in his stock speech, fled Austrian socialism for American capitalism, but rather someone bent on turning California into a simulacrum of the socialist Austria of his youth.

Arnold...

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