California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Ohio today, campaigning for and with John McCain. People have been asking me: why? It's a good question. The governor has nice things to say about Obama (even suggesting he might work for a President Obama someday), disagrees with McCain and the national Republican party on issues, and likes to associate himself with winners, not losers.
The answer boils down to two words: habit and loyalty. The governor of California is a creature of habit. In 1988 and 2004, Schwarzenegger campaigned in Columbus, Ohio -- where he has business interests, including a share in a suburban shopping mall and an annual fitness convention and bodybuilding tournament known as The Arnold -- on the Friday before election day. This year, he goes again to central Ohio the Friday before election.
But the other motivating factor is loyalty. Schwarzenegger doesn't get much credit for being loyal; he's generally thought of by people in the political sphere as more than a little disloyal. But in his personal relationships, he's remarkably loyal. His friends today were his friends 20 years ago. And McCain has been very loyal to him. The weekend before the special election in 2005 ,when it was clear to everyone (except perhaps the hyper-optimistic Schwarzenegger) that his initiatives were going to lose, McCain flew to California and rode on Schwarzenegger's campaign bus through the Inland Empire. McCain backed Schwarzenegger when the governor was in political trouble. Today, Arnold returns the favor.
Never in a million years did I think I would be writing my blog about Paris Hilton. Not because I don't like pop culture-I love it, and am not ashamed to admit I own a Britney Spears cd (or four). But after McCain's attacks against Obama, calling him a "celebrity" and flashing pictures of Paris and Britney, Paris was savvy enough to shoot a message back to McCain. What was really interesting to me is that in her message, which can be watched here, she delivered her own energy plan.
Yes, that's right, even Paris Hilton realizes that our planet is in trouble, and that if we don't do something today, her popular catchphrase, "That's hot," will not be used to describe a fantastic new handbag but our planet in general.
Part of me is ecstatic because energy and environmental issues are finally becoming a major issue for this year's election, but the other part is disappointed that what is making the headlines is the drama: the attacks the two candidates are expending on each other rather than the details of their energy plans. In fact, when reading the news, I find myself confused -am I reading a story reporting about our presidential election, or am I reading a story in Us Weekly?
McCain tells ABC he backs the initiative to end affirmative action programs in Arizona; in the past, he has opposed such initiatives while saying he opposes quotas. This was one of the day's stories in the presidential race, in part because Obama accused McCain of flip-flopping.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain used his speech today at the NAACP annual convention to flesh out an education policy agenda that has, to this point, been pretty amorphous. Early Ed Watch is disappointed, but not particularly surprised, to see no mention of early childhood education in McCain's speech. But the McCain campaign could easily integrate early education proposals into some of the ideas McCain laid out today. For example, McCain supports alternative certification--a good idea. Why not include investment in developing research-based alternate routes to early childhood educator certification? That would help states meet the growing demand for skilled pre-k teachers, and it would also provide more cost-effective ways to help people that currently lack a bachelor's degree to acquire the skills and knowledge to be effective pre-k teachers. And it would advance the cause of alternative certification. Similarly, McCain's speech expressed support for charter schools--why not propose new policies to increase the number of charter schools delivering high-quality early education programs?
Gov. Schwarzenegger used an appearance on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning to hint that he has interest in leaving his current job to serve in Barack Obama's cabinet as some sort of energy-environment czar. The McCain-endorsing governor also talked about an Obama presidency as a fait accompli--he referred to "when," not "if," the Illinois senator is president. I suspect you'll see an effort in the hours and days ahead by the governor and his aides to try to back away from what he told interviewer George Stephanopoulous and talk about his commitment to Californians. They'll note that he called the discussion "hypothetical" and was merely explaining his desire to serve American governments of either party. But I defy anyone to watch the show or read the transcript and tell me with any confidence that this governor intends to serve out the rest of his term, which runs through the end of 2010.
Here's the exchange. Stephanopoulous showed a clip of Obama praising the governor's environmental "leadership."
STEPH: "Newsweek" reported he might want you to be his energy czar. Would you be interested?
SCHWARZ:: I don't think about taking on a national role. There's so many challenges we have in California.
STEPH: If he were president and he called?
Politico (06/24) features William Hartung arguing for a crackdown on military spending waste.
New York Times (06/24) posts an analysis by Michael Cohen of Obama's perceived inexperience.
Foreign Policy (06/23) features Parag Khanna, Michael Cohen, and Maria Küpçü discussing the evolving challenges posed by failed states.
The Space Review (06/23) cites Jeffrey Lewis on China's modernizing military technology.
Kansas City Star (06/22) quotes William Hartung on Obama and McCain's negotiation policies.
Last night, Senator Barack Obama earned a majority of Democratic delegates, clinching the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008. Last night’s end of the primary season also marked the start of the 2008 general election. Obama’s Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, kicked off his general election bid with a speech last night.
As we move into the general election campaign, expect to hear more from the candidates on education issues, including early education. During the Republican primary, McCain paid little attention to education issues, and he still hasn’t released any education proposals. But as he moves to appeal to independent and Democratic voters in the general election, he’s going to need to speak more to voters’ concerns about education—because Obama will be.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain said Tuesday that California voters, not judges, should decide who gets married in the state. Perhaps this simply states the obvious--the initiative to ban same-sex marriage will be on the November ballot. But it feels like a political mistake. In the recent past, McCain's advisors have suggested they see California as in play with a Schwarzenegger-style campaign -- that is, an approach that avoids talk of social issues and instead emphasizes fiscal issues and the importance of bipartisanship. By wading into this initiative, McCain, who never had much of a chance anyway in California (where polls show Obama would have won a California primary held on June 3, the originally scheduled date), is eschewing the Schwarzenegger approach. In fact, attempting to use the same-sex marriage issue in any way feels positively Rovian. In the process, McCain shows he's not serious about winning the state.
The New Republic (05/28) features Peter Bergen analyzing the jihadist revolt against Osama Bin Laden.
Afrik.com (05/27) cites Steve Clemons on purges occurring in the Obama and McCain campaigns.
NewsHour (05/27) interviews Flynt Leveret on U.S. engagement with Iran.
Tehran Times (05/25) mentions Steve Clemons on negotiations with Hamas.
The Globalist (05/23) features Parag Khanna discussing the growing international influence of the E.U.
That's the argument of this piece in the Michigan Messenger. An initiative to legalize marijuana for medical purposes should be on the November ballot.