DON'T FORGET TO DUCK, ARNOLD
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Arnold Schwarzenegger will be lucky if he doesn't end up in jail before he gets to the Governor's Mansion. As of 10:57pm EST, the liberal Republican front-runner is being body-slammed by the Los Angeles Times for groping six women over the past 30 years and by ABC News for - according to an unpublished book proposal by the director of "Pumping Iron," his breakthrough weightlifting documentary - praising the achievements of Adolf Hitler. Tomorrow you can expect even worse - whatever it takes to bring down the Terminator once and for all.
"I have behaved badly sometimes," he admitted. What he thought was "playful" on rowdy movie sets at the time he has come to realize was just downright boorish. He promptly apologized, but the news programmers worked the Kobe Bryant case into the headlines at the same time, presumably to give the story some synergistic energy.
Then late in the day the ABC News Website broke a statement that Arnold allegedly made during the making of "Pumping Iron." The quote was taken from a "verbatim transcript" that ABC said the director of that movie had quoted in an unpublished book proposal. It was dubious sourcing, perhaps, but the story is playing big on television and is likely to be on the front page of many newspapers tomorrow. Schwarzenegger said he did not remember making the statement. I don't know why the director brought the comments forward now and not 30 years ago.
But as Rush Limbaugh, who occupies a political perch quite a bit south of Arnold's, also found out today, being a public figure and in politics is an occupation that is highly inimical to your self-esteem. Just as Governor Gray Davis was savaged up and down the state today, too, as hundreds of thousands of drivers got their registration renewal notices with bills three time higher than they were last year. My California registration went from about $128 to $356, and although I am loathe to turn in my plates I can't really afford not to; besides, Florida's "Save the Panther" plates are flat-out beautiful.
When I ran for Mayor of Los Angeles, I lost my writing gig with the LA Weekly and my wife and my car in the first three days. There's something about the game that is just deadly, and no army or killing machine Arnold ever faced in the movies can measure up to it. My advice: Don't forget to duck, Arnold.
I guess that simple advice could retranslate as, "Don't immediately respond to every single issue that gets raised, and if you can avoid the punch, do it. It saves your skull for another day, another fight, when you may need it even more." I admired the way he answered the Los Angeles Times allegations with a forthright apology, but I think the low-key response to the "Pumping Iron" outtakes was better for him.
You can rarely see who's directing the punches in the public arena. I was in the movie "Rocky II" with Sylvester Stallone and was in the ring in one shot with sportswriters trying to interview him at the end of the fight (you can see me in another scene just after he gets knocked down with Apollo Creed and his wife at home shouts for him to get up; the next closeup is of me, in the crowd, cheering for him);. Direction? It looked like chaos. But the people making the film knew what they were doing.
The people calling the shots at the Times and elsewhere in Democratic politics across the country know exactly what they are doing; they are trying to devastate the campaign of a man they can't control. The bread is buttered already, and this new guy wants to knock it on the floor. You know it always falls face down, like a bar fighter sucker-punched into oblivion.
Don't forget to duck, Arnold. Give as good as you get. And at the end of (six) days, you'll know forever after what it is like to be in the toughest arena of all. Get a good cut man.