The governor of California, after a long journey through the woods, looks voters in the eye and reaffirms his commitment to fiscal discipline in this brand new one-hander:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's new Stand for California campaign comes as officials are making claims about optimism in the budget standoff that are about as credible as Schwarzenegger's claims to fiscal responsibility. It also comes in the context of a media war, with the California Teacher's Association currently airing this attack ad:
It's a touch of class to use the phrases "never forget" and "never again" in an attack on Austria's most popular export since Hitler, but I think any fair-minded person would agree that cutting public school fiddling classes is exactly the same as the Holocaust. Nevertheless, Schwarzenegger's spot has the edge. It's a classic setup, letting a star address the camera directly. Also, the governor has the wind of the voters at his back. (Although, since the voters in May rejected the governor's own slate of ballot initiatives, I should probably say that the wind of the voters turned the governor's ship around and he's now decided that sailing in this direction was his idea all along.)
One more note about California voters. This media war is about a budget fight which is being waged between the governor and the state legislature, which is confined to Sacramento, and in which the voters actually have no say at all (at least until the next state assembly elections). So it's unclear what influence these ads are supposed to have. I live right next to the Paramount lot, and I can tell you Los Angeles is rapidly fading as the world's entertainment capital. But it says something about the Golden State that everything is still grounds for an A-list production.