Sunday, July 22, 2007

Schwarzenegger Sunday: The George W. Bush Administration

For an overview of Schwarzenegger Sunday, check out the Marching Orders above. Note – there will always be spoilers.

If you visit this space regularly, you will note that we rarely delve into the political arena here at FtY. This space is about music, movies, and the occasional rant against television. For the first half of 2007, we have been reviewing a different Schwarzenegger film every two weeks using certain criteria. At the risk of offending some of our regular readers, we’re taking a look at our current president’s administration and see how well these criteria fit. If you haven't read at least one or two of the reviews, this won't make a lick of sense. At least look at Recap Part I.

Quality/Plethora of “Ahnold” lines: Obviously, these are not going to be “Ahnold” lines, but there seem to be an endless supply of notable quotes. We live in the era of the soundbyte, and for better or worse, here are a slew of them:
“I can hear you. The rest of the world can hear you. And the people that knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
“Bring them on.”
“Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.”
“I’m the decider.”
“But I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.”
Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities.”
“I hear there’s rumors on the internets that we’re going to have a draft.”
“I couldn’t imagine someone like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah.”
“The really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway.”
“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
“The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.”
“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.” See comment section.
“One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps.”
“Can we win (the war on terror)? I don’t think you can win it.”
“Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere. Nope, no weapons over there ... maybe under here?"
“If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier – just so long as I’m the dictator.”
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, ‘fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.’”
“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”
Face for radio.”
“You gonna ask that question with shades on?”
“I’m trying to escape.”

“I’ll be back.”:
I tried to find something here, but aside from quotes actually made by Governor Schwarzenegger, I got nothin’.

Smarmy Villain: Now this is a tough one. I can choose Donald Rumsfeld or Paul Wolfowitz. Both orchestrated the war to disastrous effect. Both spread various lies about our reasons for going, and both are smarmy as hell. But because he was the man in charge of the Defense Department, and the fact that he is the evasive king of the non sequitur, Rumsfeld gets this title. Never without his air of superiority, Rummy is quick to refute any attack either through evasive answers or outright fabrication.

Rough and Tumble Henchman: Now, come on. This one’s obvious, right? He shot an elderly man in the face! His scowl is unparalleled in the political world. He recently declared himself a fourth branch of the federal government, in effect telling everyone, “Don’t you even try to mess with me.”

Diminutive Sidekick: We’re going to go with “legal counsel” on this one. Based solely on physical stature Harriet Miers may as well be Harriet the next-door neighbor from Small Wonder. She’s tiny. And Alberto Gonzales may even be shorter. Check him out compared to Bush here. Bush is only 5’11”, so Gonzo must be in the 5’5” range. George has kept both of the advisors close to him throughout his tenure as president.

Rejected hot love interest / Not nearly hot enough love interest:
Now we could go in one of two directions here. You could say that he has moved away from Laura to an obsession with Condoleezza. Early on, we saw Laura all the time. She was often presented with or even before George, while Condi was more of a bit player. But now that Rice is the Secretary of State, she has been brought to the forefront. And there was that whole kissing bit. For those that wish to debate the relative attractiveness of the two women, I remind you that this is what Condoleezza actually looks like. I’ve heard people (mostly women) claim that she’s attractive. I can only fathom that this is because she occasionally wears leather boots and some of my friends have some fetish fantasies that they have yet to recognize themselves. It’s no contest.

However, we could take this is a more subversive direction. We know that while Bush has his lady friends, his first true love will always be the sweet, intoxicating nectar found in a bottle. I mean, check out the captain here. He is hot. But on his 40th birthday, Bush gave up alcohol (it took him a while to stick to that, but he eventually gave it up). In doing so, he turned to Jesus. So yeah, I’m claiming that Captain Morgan is hotter than Jesus. Just physically. Um. I’m sure I’m probably going to hell anyway, but perhaps we should stop right there. Let’s just say that you have options on how to interpret this category.

Arnold yelling: If you don’t think Bush is a hollerer, you’re not paying much attention. Be it in debates, summits, or on the campaign trail, he loves to raise the volume to further his message.

Poignant cursing: While Arnold’s characters often curse to drive their point home, the poignancy of the curses made by this administration has actually resulted in legal consequences. A federal court adjusted FCC regulations in part because of two comments made by Bush and Cheney. First Cheney told Senator Pat Leahy, “Fuck yourself” on the floor of the Senate. We don’t have any footage, but it probably played out something like this. Perhaps more memorable was the exchange between Bush and Tony Blair at the G8 summit. I’ll let the video speak for itself:

Arnold George crazyface: We've got a whole slew of 'em for ya. Check it out.

Superfluous Explosions: We’re there to liberate. Er. WMD’s, er whatever. We can’t fathom that the Iraqi citizens are the least pit peeved after this? This footage is from Baghdad, the largest city in the country. Superfluous Explosions defined:

Director: A possible option for the diminutive sidekick, Karl Rove is far more than that. He has been involved with the Bush family’s political run from its beginnings in Texas all the way through the orchestration of many of W’s tactics and positions. His success in getting and keeping Bush in power is clear. However, he’s also been at the center of a number of scandals including the treasonous leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name to the media, the firing of US attorneys for political reasons, and the illegal RNC e-mails. Through it all, he has remained Bush’s closest advisor and continues to help guide Bush’s decisions. And then there’s this:

My eyes! My ears! Somebody kill me now!

Franco Columbu / Sven Ole-Thorsen: Not applicable, but I’d be curious to hear their thoughts, wouldn’t you?

Shirtless Arnold: While there are some pretty impressive photoshopped images of the president on the internet, this one is technically n/a. Unless you count Abu Ghraib.

Severely brutal killing of rough and tumble henchman: While there has been some talk of impeaching the vice president, it does not appear likely. So unless that fifth heart attack gets him, I don’t think this item will be completed. Seriously, if try to kill him he will shoot you in the face.

Even more severely brutal killing of villain: After much clamor from retired generals to Pat Buchanan to anyone with any common sense, Rumsfeld resigned on November 8 - the day after the mid-term elections. Sadly, it was neither severe nor brutal. In fact, it was a bit lighthearted:

Plausibly implausible plot: Ah, the elephant in the room. You know this category was coming, and you knew this would be a doozy. While this has been an overwhelmingly mendacious administration, all falsehoods seem inconsequential compared to what we heard in the lead up to the Iraq war. I urge you to examine the Iraq Resolution. (The official document can be found here.) Reading it now, it’s an amazing series of ridiculous claims. Especially now that we know US intelligence had already refuted several of these points. The most outlandish reason for invasion is “The efforts by the Congress and the President to fight the 9/11 terrorists and those who aided or harbored them.” So while this story is ridiculous on its face – and I won’t waste your time by getting into all the various ways these statements are ridiculous – the American people somehow bought into this plan. In April of 2003, 72% of Americans supported the war, and 60% supported it even if no WMDs were found. In May, 79% of American citizens said the war was justified. So despite the fact that all of the claims ranged from questionable to totally implausible, America found the reasons for invasion plausible anyway. There are other plausibly implausible programs we could tackle, but as I said, this is the “big plot” of the administration, for lack of a better word.

Ambiguous ending: Bush has claimed that the end of our military involvement in Iraq is for “future presidents” to determine. However, the only thing that can salvage his legacy at this point would be to find a way to get our military home safely. Without any change in the Iraq situation, there is no way Bush’s approval ratings climb above 30% ever again. He has wasted billions and billions of taxpayer dollars, done nothing to address issues such as health care or global warming. So while I don’t see much ambiguity at this point, we are not at the end. Impeachment is possible, but unlikely. This means that the jury is out for another 18 months. We’ll see what they do with their remaining time.

So there you have it. Our last Schwarzenegger Sunday of 2008. If it weren’t all so sad, this edition would have been more fun.

All the Schwarzenegger Sundays:
The Terminator
Raw Deal
The Running Man
True Lies
Pumping Iron
Conan The Barbarian
Total Recall
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Last Action Hero
Roundup, Part I
Roundup, Part II


Anonymous said...

I think it is hilarious that you Schwarzenegger Sundayed the Bush Administration.

Didn't Bush also have a clip of him calling some reporter a "major league asshole".

- Scott H

Anonymous said...

“The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.”
“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”

Phony quotes.

Reed said...

You got a link for me? I'm not going to argue, but just saying "Phony quotes" doesn't amount to much.

So I did some further research: Looks like the second quote is a paraphrase mentioned by John Kerry and should not be directly attributed to Bush. He did say something very similar, but it was taken out of context. His comment: "And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run." Full analysis of the quote in question can be found here.

Thanks for pointing this out, Anon. I am updating the posting to correctly reflect this.