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How Much From Special Interests?

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Jul 21, 2004 - 04:50 PM

Out to Lunch

by Douglas Heller
Arnold missed the vote on the budget in the Capitol today, deciding instead to meet with San Diegans for lunch at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant. An Arnold Watcher informs us that many of the diners were not actually regular San Diegans but Republican staffers who have been practicing their hooting and hollering for the TV cameras (as usual, Arnold had a large media contingent with him.)

The Gov., apparently not toning down his rhetoric, exhorted the so-called San Diegans to "Terminate" the legislators on November 2nd if they don't pass the budget and added that "they think of the special interests, I think of the public interests."

So what really is "special" and what is "public" to Arnold?

When he asks HMOs, health care corporations and their CEOs for $1.2 million in campaign contributions is he thinking about the public interest? When the Gov holds up the budget to please a private school bus company whose political consultant (Jeff Randle) also happens to be a close political advisor to the Gov, is that what he calls "standing up" to the special interests? What can be made of his performance last Thursday evening, when, immediately after he railed against special interests at a Sacramento press conference, he flew down to a Beverly Hills fundraiser to rake in $400K.

Does Arnold really believe that his big business backers aren't special interests, or is Governor Manly-Man just acting? One indication that it's all theater: Arnold reportedly fell back on old scripts and Saturday Night Live skits over lunch today when he bellowed "Hasta La Vista to the special interests. I'm here to pump you up."

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