Until yesterday, the The Great Mentioner had Schwarzenegger on the shortlist for Obama Energy Secretary. That was the buzz in the Politico’s “Dems sketch Obama staff, Cabinet,” and on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, where Arnold said of Obama:
I would take his call now, I will take his call when he’s president — any time. Remember, no matter who is president, I don’t see this as a political thing. I see this as we always have to help, no matter what the administration is.
True, the Terminator runs on nuclear power, but Schwarzenegger has probably been the most aggressive governor and the country in terms of embracing climate policy and climate solutions. Plus he gives Obama some bipartisan cred.
But Arnold totally trashed Obama yesterday in Ohio, presumably some long-ago promise he made McCain. He rather gratuitously ocked both Obama’s policies and physique (!):
“I want to invite Senator Obama because he needs to do something about those skinny legs,” he said to loud and amused roars. “I’m going to make him do some squats. And then we’re going to make him do some biceps curls to beef up those scrawny little arms.”
He then turned to the political impact of his message. “If only we could do something about putting some meat on his ideas,” he said, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. “Senator McCain on the other hand is built like a rock.”
And if you were left with any doubt about where Arnold stood politically, he repeated the absurd “socialist” attack, adding his own laughable and hypocritical spin:
Schwarzenegger, an Austrian native who came to the U.S. in 1968 to establish his bodybuilding career, said he left Europe “because socialism has killed opportunities there.” He said in recent years Europe has recognized its mistakes and “rolled back Soviet spread-the-wealth policies.”
“Now Sen. Obama says he wants to pursue the same spread-the-wealth ideas that Europe had decades ago,” Schwarzenegger said.
During his speech, the governor recognized the awkward position of having to tailor his speech to McCain’s anti-tax message while having proposed raising taxes this week in his own state to offset an estimated $10 billion revenue shortfall.
“Now just because you want to raise a tax certainly doesn’t make you a socialist because in California I have proposed a temporary sales tax increase to address our massive deficit,” he said. “But Sen. Obama wants to raise the taxes because of ideology. He wants to raise all kinds of taxes. He wants to raise the taxes on capital gains and dividends.”
Not really how you begin a job interview. Given these remarks, Schwarzenegger would seem to be the self-Terminator.
As a final aside, the job of Energy Secretary is not what it’s cracked up to being. You get blamed for all the bad things that happen on energy but you don’t actually have any power. Heck, only about a quarter of your budget goes to energy! It has long been thought of as a second or third tier cabinet position. And if Obama goes the smart road and sets up some sort of a National Energy and Climate Council, the energy secretary will have even less clout. More on this after the election.