Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"Journalist" Indeed

When the scribe started this blog it was promised that his long-time vocation of hounding journalists who kiss power’s keister in exchange for fancy business cards and healthy paychecks would be shared with his readers ("Why Highwayscribery" March 7).

Turns out a Sunday column published by the "San Diego Union-Tribune" penned by Ruben Navarrette really got the scribe’s goat.

This piece of Schwarzenegger hagiography can be found at http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050320/news_mz1e20navar.html

It’s entitled "The Real Strengths of This Governor," and gives the impression of presenting an opinion when it’s merely a reinforcement of the (g)overnor as he sees and projects his "self."

By way of background, Navarrette is "The Trib’s" token Latino who replaced Jim Goldsborough. He quit after the election when the paper refused to run his piece critical of the Bush administration. Goldsborough was the last (or only) progressive on staff and so Copley News Service went over to the "Dallas Morning News" and hired Navarrette.

Much the same way hiring Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell allowed the administration to appear progressive by hiring African-Americans who are not at all progressive, hiring the Latino Navarrette provided "The Trib" with similar cover.

Navarrette deigns to speak for Latinos the way Republicans claim to speak for God. Problem is they both do it out their ass.

But enough history and character assassination, on to the article:

Ruben likes Arnold’s plan to get the heck out of the political schoolyard if "Democrats and special interests don’t let me reform our system of government."

You see, Arnold is already rich and famous and doesn’t need to sit around and take guff in order to achieve those most American of benchmarks through something quite so low as politics.

Cooing about the (g)overnor’s "enormous self-confidence...incredible work ethic, and unshakeable belief that, in this magnificent country, anything is possible" Navarette notes that already being rich and famous is a good position from which to negotiate - "and an even better one from which to govern."

He’s a kind of neo-Platonist, Navarette. By his reasoning we should jettison democracy and throw our lot in with the philosopher-king since his ambition won’t get in the way. Ruben’s got a lot of faith in the political system if he believes everybody save for established celebrities are in it to get "rich and famous."

Schwarzenegger’s brutish babbling about "politicians" does a tremendous disservice to our system of government (which he loves so much), feeding as it does into plebeian notions of miscreants and greed in every corner of public life (except his own cigar smoke-choked hole).

Navarrette says Schwarzenegger’s real asset is "his fearlessness...He’s not afraid of being picketed by nurses and firefighters, angry over some of his budget tinkering."

"Budget tinkering." Really? the scribe would venture it’s a little more than tinkering that has union members following him around the country in such a foul humor ("Honky Cat" March 10).
How fearless is he really?
In a March 19 editorial entitled "Nursing a Grudge," the usually staid "L.A. Times" reported how one of the (g)overnor’s bodyguards forcibly removed a union member from a movie screening Schwarzenegger was attending ("incredible work ethic"), because of the threat posed by that union member's presence.

She was a nurse and was shadowing the Lord of the Manner because he had suspended a new law nurses fought years to get requiring, God forbid, a lower patient-to-nurse ratio in California hospitals.

That means if you are in the hospital and quite ill, the nurse taking care of you has 10 other patients instead of, let’s say, 25.

But let me quote "The Times," because this is good: "With his usual swagger, Schwarzenegger dismissed the protesting nurses as just one of many ‘special interests’ who don’t like him because ‘I am always kicking their butts.’

"It turns out they kicked his. A Superior Court judge earlier this month ruled that the governor had misused the emergency order and had no authority to suspend the law."

Maybe this is what Attorney General Bill Lockyer means when he accuses Schwarzenegger of introducing the "scent of Austrian politics" into the California political system.

Navarrette says the media made too big a deal about Schwarzenegger’s fund raising in distant states, "but didn’t mention that the fund raisers were part of [his] campaign to raise $50 million to promote ballot initiatives he hopes to put before California voters."

And so the scribe wrote Ruben at ruben.navarrette@uniontrib.com, but never heard back from him:


You're kidding with this valentine to the (g)overnor, right?

Or is it an apologia? Remember his campaign commercial? "The special interests have a stranglehold on Sacramento" (he told a room filled with fake citizens). "Here's how it works. Money goes in; favors go out. We need to send a message. Game over."

You say the media has failed to note that his out-of-state travels "were part of Schwarzenegger's campaign to raise at least $50 million to promote ballot initiatives he hopes to put before California voters." What on earth is the difference? How is the game over?

What's so great about his redistricting reform? "Retired judges" will draw up the new map? So, who appoints them, an impartial deity or politicans? Newt Gingrich is retired. He doesn't seem less partisan to me than before.

Who's giving the governor money? Business interests. Are they different than special interests? Does he owe them nothing? Let the scribe tell you, the scribe covered the last bill-signing session in August/September and what the California Chamber of Commerce wanted, it got.

There's nothing "fun" about this guy signing budgets with deficits larger than his predecessor's, and just as late, if not later. There's nothing "fun" about his solutions for taking money out of workers' pockets even as he barks on about being for "da peepul."

He's a macho fool who confuses movie-script lines with information and you ought to be ashamed of yourself for not calling him on this cant.

And don't send me one of those wussy-assed automatic replies you're prone to, because this column is an abuse of your public duty as a journalist.

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