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Sep 03, 2004 - 05:15 PM

True Lies and Soviet Tanks

by Jerry Flanagan and Douglas Heller
Arnold had historians scratching their heads on Tuesday night when he recalled the Soviet tanks rolling through the socialist Austria of his youth. See, there weren't Soviet tanks in the British zone of Austria where Arnold grew up. And that iron curtain of a country he remembered was actually led by Conservative chancellors the whole time, not by the Socialists.

This from the guy who joked about the "True Lies" at the Democrats' convention.

These colorful reconstructions of the truth are not surprising given Arnold's drive to portray himself as a man-of-the-people, while becoming a man of Big Business. As ArnoldWatch has observed over the last year, the Gov effortlessly reconfigures the truth to fit whichever scene he happens to be in. The Gov, for example, has fibbed about:

1. Special Interest Money... Arnold could not have been more clear on the campaign trail: "I will go to Sacramento and I will clean house. I don't have to take money from anybody. I have plenty of money." But now he says that the news media misinterpreted his pledge. The problem with this redo of history is that voters remember that Arnold's calling card during the recall election was that he was above the fray of politics as usual: That promise only became a "misinterpretation" when he moved into the Governor's office.

2. Sunshine in Government... One of Arnold's favorite lines is that his door and administration are open to the people of California. Actually, all of Arnold's big projects have been developed under wraps: Workers' Comp (bill released at 3am for its only "public" hearing); Budget (built on private meetings and secret deals); the California Performance Review to restructure government (six-months of clandestine crafting and gag orders on government employees)

3. Travel Schedules... In order to prove that this action governor never takes a break, Arnold told radio listeners in August that "I haven't even taken a vacation" and "I have not gone anywhere." Hmmm, what was that 12 day winter-trip to Sun Valley Idaho? Or the 10-day Maui getaway? He also made trips to Ohio, New York, Virginia, even Israel. And then there was the trip to Austria earlier this summer.

Of course, maybe he went home to Austria to beat back the Red Menace.

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