Back in July 2004, when the California legislature was 17 days late in voting on the state budget, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger mocked Democratic legislators by calling themâ€œgirlie-men.â€
The Democrats, Schwarzenegger said, were â€œpart of a bureaucracy that is out of shape, that is out of date, that is out of touch and that is definitely out of control in Sacramentoâ€¦ They cannot have the guts to come out there in front of you and say, â€˜I donâ€™t want to represent you. I want to represent those special interests: the unions, the trial lawyers.â€™ â€¦ I call them girlie-men. They should get back to the table and they should finish the budget.â€
With his political muscles still pumped from his 1.3 million vote margin of victory in the October 2003 recall election, Schwarzenegger made a series of highly publicized appearances across the state, threatening the Democratic legislators who had not approved his budget in language taken from his Hollywood persona: â€œI want each and every one of you to go the polls on Nov. 2nd,â€ he told the voters. â€œThat will be judgment day. I want you to go to the polls. â€¦ You are the terminators, yes!â€
All that now seems asÂ long ago and far away asÂ Schwarzeneggarâ€™s epic Hercules in New York.
With a $42 billion budget short-fall, the worst credit rating in the nation, schools and social services on the verge of collapse, infrastructure crumbling, state offices closed, more than 200,000 state workers on forced unpaid furlough, and no new budget in sight, our Action Hero Governor has gone into hiding.
The blustering larger-than-life Hollywood hero riding across the state with his machismo exploding and his political guns blazing has turned into a pathetically meek mendicant, crouching under his desk and writing letters to Washington begging the president for federal charity.
When Arnold The Terminator arrogantly (and homophobicly) called Democratic legislators â€œgirlie-menâ€ in 2004, he meant to say that they were weak, impotent cowards, incapable of standing up to the special interests in their party for the good of the state.
Now it is the Republicans who are making it impossible for the state to pass a budget, throwing a tantrum and holding their breath until the state turns blue.
And it is Arnold, the has-been hero, whoÂ lacks the political cojones to stand up to the special interests in his party.
Whoâ€™s the girlie-man now?