Daniel Weintraub thinks the California governorship is Arnold Schwartzenegger’s for the asking. This is not just because of his celebrity but because of his powerful personal story. It is one that not only makes him heroic but has inculcated in him a very nuanced worldview that is neither purely liberal nor purely conservative:

And his own self-made success in business and the movies solidified, for a time, Schwarzenegger’s view that America is the land of opportunity where everyone can make it, if only they pull up their bootstraps and get to work.

But he has since discovered a counteracting principle, which he says is this: “Not everybody has boots.”

As he explored America and its problems, Schwarzenegger concluded that his drive to succeed came not so much from his parents’ genes as from their culture. Although he grew up poor, his parents pushed him to work hard and prepare himself for any opportunity. In America, he said, too many kids don’t have that kind of support at home.

“Most of them don’t get the motivation,” Schwarzenegger said in a 2001 speech. “Instead they hear, ‘You’re a loser. You’ll never make it out of the barrio or the ghetto. You’ll never get out.’

“The more I saw, the more I realized I’d been wrong when I thought the American Dream was available to everyone. Because even though it is the land of opportunity for me, and the majority of Americans, millions are left behind. It’s not a level playing field for them.”


(Hat tip: Stephen Green)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    And I think he would totally kick anybody’s ass who didn’t vote for him. Sadly, though, he has to make T4 and True Lies 2 before his body gets all saggy, as I argue in the Barrel.

  2. James Joyner says:

    He can make movies on the side, still. I mean, what he does on his time is his business. Ask Jesse Ventura.