Arnold Speaks

Nixon may have inspired him to become a Republican, but Arnold Schwarzenegger completely lacks The Pride of Yorba Linda's flair when it comes to taped conversations. Consider, for example, this lecture on history captured by the Oval Office taping system. Nixon explains why the Soviet Union is superior to the U.S., England, France, the Catholic Church, and even the later Roman Empire:

Do you know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags…. You know what happened to the popes? It's all right that popes were laying the nuns. That's been going for years, centuries, but when the popes, when the Catholic Church went to hell in, I don't know, three or four centuries ago, it was homosexual…. Now, that's what happened to Britain, it happened earlier to France. And let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. Goddamn it, they root them out, they don't let 'em hang around at all. You know what I mean? I don't know what they do with them.

Dope? Do you think the Russians allow dope? Hell no. Not if they can catch it, they send them up. You see, homosexuality, dope, uh, immorality in general: These are the enemies of strong societies. That why the Communists and the left-wingers are pushing it. They're trying to destroy us.

In a new round of tapes from Schwarzenegger's office– first leaked to the LA Times, but then officially released to the rest of the media on Sunday to deprive the Times of a scoop– the governor calling the President Pro Tem of the state Senate “a very sick man” and “really weird” is about as extreme as it gets. Very disappointing. Not a hint of Nixonian flair. And judging by press reports, the new tapes even lack that standard feature of the Nixon tape transcripts, [expletive deleted].

Like Nixon, however, Schwarzenegger does engage in a little cultural theory, though with the Cold War over, Schwarzenegger is left to speculate on what's wrong with Mexican immigrants in California. Alas, he didn't say anything that can't be heard in any boozy barroom bullshit season (minus the expletives to be deleted). His ramblings have none of those imaginative leaps that make the Nixon tapes such a delight.

The Times, unsurprisingly, has the longest story of any newspaper on the new tapes. But the Sacramento Bee has the best, and best written, account.

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