Flour Power


New at Reason: Forget Ronald Reagan; King Biscuit is the real inspiration for California's statehouse starfucking. Jesse Walker explains.

NEXT: Power Surge

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  1. Jesse Walker,

    Can you give me some examples of Arnold’s media savviness? Its largely been my impression that he’s largely been doing well due to name recognition, not because he has a campaign of any merit.

  2. I’ll stand in for Jesse for a moment if I may.

    First, media savviness and having a campaign
    of merit are by no means the same thing.

    That said, examples of media savviness include:

    1) Buidling up lots of tension in the weeks
    before announcing, including a presumption
    that he was going to decide not to run.

    2) Announcing on the Tonight Show.

    3) Getting Warren Buffett to be his “economic
    advisor”. Whatever his substantive merits,
    picking someone flamboyant and famous got
    lots of free media coverage, pretty much
    all of it positive stuff about how good
    Buffett is at running things.

    4) Getting Rob Lowe, a democrat, to make a
    public statement supporting his campaign
    on the grounds that he thinks Arnold is
    “a leader”.

    I am sure there are more – I am not following
    this particularly carefully. You can be sure
    he has the best help money can buy, and he
    also surely is getting free advice from his
    family, who have run their share of successful
    campaigns (albeit largely for ignoble ends).


  3. Jeff Smith,

    Rob Lowe the pederast?

    Warren Buffet leans Democrat too, BTW.

    I guess I missed out on the so-called “tension.” Bread and circuses anyone?

  4. Jean –

    It is all bread and circuses. Please don’t
    tell anyone.

    Jeff (inside the beltway)

  5. bread and circuses — has politics ever been anything else anywhere?

    it is, at least, entertaining in a macabre way. i’ll bet it’s the best voter turnout california sees in some years…

  6. Jeff Smith,

    If that’s the case then why do folks at Hit & Run act like Arnold’s candidacy is meaningful? Why the “cult of Arnold” in other words?

  7. Well, it is really not for me to opine on
    behalf of others, but here are some thoughts:

    1) Arnold may be marginally better in policy
    terms than Davis.

    2) It is fun to see establishment pols squirm.
    Much of my utility from Jesse Ventura’s
    victory in Minnesota came from watching
    Hubert Humphrey III’s concession speech.

    3) Reason is really just a thinly disguised
    graduate seminar in media studies, and in
    terms of media studies, it doesn’t get
    much better than this.

    I tend to go with (3) but all are possible.


  8. Jean: I’ll let Jeff’s answer re: media savviness stand in for mine. I’ll add that just as media savviness and meritous policy proposals are not the same thing, neither are media savviness and political savviness: Arnold knows how to work the Tonight Show, but he doesn’t know enough to tell his economic advisor, “Musing about problems with Prop 13 is not the sort of thing that gets people elected.”

  9. Rob Lowe a pederast? Not quite.

  10. “If that’s the case then why do folks at Hit & Run act like Arnold’s candidacy is meaningful? Why the “cult of Arnold” in other words?”

    not on the ideological grounds you often favor, jb, but instead for the most pragmatic one: he’s probably going to win.

    and really, what else is nearly as important?

  11. I cannot be the only one who find the Dead Kennedys’ “California Uber Alles” even more eerie today. I know Arnie’s Austrian and not German (being Austrian myself, what’s the difference), but he is married to a Kennedy.

  12. mak_nas,

    What are the ideological grounds that I often favor? 🙂

    Jesse Walker,

    I just don’t see it; perhaps its my distance from the race, etc.

  13. Russ D,

    The “Austrian not German” thing always struck me as questionable, in the same way as the “republic not a democracy” thing. Until 1871, the only meaning “German” HAD was ethnic German, which applied to Tyrolese, Sudetenlanders, etc., as much as anyone else. I took a German history class once in which the prof said most Austrians, especially after the breakup of the Empire, thought of themselves as ethnic Germans first. It was only after WWII, for obvious reasons, that they started stressing the difference. But the older sympathies persisted even past 1960, among the elderly.

    Is this an accurate assessment, in your opinion?

  14. Russ D.,

    Austria went along for the ride with Germany during WWII, so its an apt analogy.

  15. Kevin Carson,

    Regarding “Germany” prior to 1871, you are correct. The existance of the HRE (when it was strong especially), the Austrian monarchy, as well the designs of the various German states, always checked the creation of a unified German state. Well, that and warfare.

  16. Kevin:

    I’m only going off stories my grandmother told me (she was born in the US in 1910, her parents were immigrants), but it seems her parents made the disticntion when she was a child; this could be ethnic pride or perhaps a way to avoid the German/Irish feuds in turn-of-the-century Chicago.

  17. Russ D.,

    The Austro-Hungarian Empire and the German Empire were rivals (though they were allies); Austrian over the course of the 19th century tried to wreck German unification at every turn for example.

    Also, there is the Austro-Prussian war to consider (the Seven Weeks War); a humiliation for Austria.

    In 1866, though Prussia dominated the Zollverein, Bismark’s unification plan was still thwarted by Austria. Austria dominated what was then known as the “German Federation,” a coalition of German states. Austria was unwilling to unify with Germany, and she was also unwilling to withdraw from the Federation (it was too important to her economically, culturally, etc.).

    So, in order to break Austria’s hold on the Federation, Bismark decided to go to war with Austria. Bismark created a trumped causus belli, and invaded one of the members of the Federation (Holstein as I recall). The Federation thus mobilized for war, and eventually the two forces met at the Battle of Sadowa in July of 1866 (the battle is know for the use of the “needle gun” by the Germans (it could be re-loaded more quickly), for the use of rail lines to mobilize troops to staging areas, and for the use of “ramming” (perhaps the last example of such being used as primary tactic of sea warfare) by the combatant navies in the Adriatic sea).

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