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Barbara Walking in the Valley
A weekly column for those who live and walk in Silicon Valley

by Barbara Dahlgren

And the Winner Is...
Column for the week of October 8-18, 2003

The last week of the crazy California history-making recall/gubernatorial election was interesting to say the least. Governor Davis paused from signing bills long enough to give a last minute valiant campaign effort as the mud got thicker and the allegations nastier against Arnold Schwarzenegger who was accused of everything from admiring Hitler to groping women on his movie sets (big surprise!). The jokes ran rampant.

"Six women have come forward that say Arnold Schwarzenegger groped them without their consent. This proves he would be a hands-on governor." —Jay Leno

"Today, the L.A. Times accused Arnold Schwarzenegger of groping six women. I'm telling ya, this guy is presidential material." —David Letterman

"Apparently, six women claim that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped them while working on his movies. Hats off to these women who admit they worked on Arnold's movies." —Craig Kilborn

"Eunice Kennedy Shriver, President Kennedy's sister, endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger, said he's not a womanizer. Of course by Kennedy standards that means he never drove one off a bridge." —Bill Maher

"Arnold Schwarzenegger made his tax returns public, [and] now there's a problem about him stretching the truth. Apparently under occupation he put down 'actor.'" —Jay Leno

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is in some trouble. Today, the Los Angeles Times broke a story that quoted six women who claimed that Arnold Schwarzenegger sexually harassed them. When asked about it, President Clinton said 'six? That's not enough experience to be governor.'" —Conan O'Brien

" Gray Davis told reporters that Arnold's behavior towards women warrants a criminal investigation and then he had to leave to go meet Clinton for a campaign rally." —Jay Leno

But in a victory that paralleled any movie plot, Arnold got the last laugh because he is California’s new governor. Voters came out in droves to recall Davis (55 %) and elect Schwarzenegger (48%). I guess you could say Davis, the only governor to be successfully recalled since that one from North Dakota in 1921, was terminated in a total recall election. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) Although Schwarzenegger won’t be sworn into office until November when the election results are certified, Democrats and Republicans alike are saying they’ll be supportive. Gray Davis said, "I am calling on everyone in this state to put the chaos and the division of the recall behind us and do what's right for this great state of California." That would be nice but already there is talk of circulating a new recall petition for Schwarzenegger. Let’s hope it’s just a rumor.

Winning the election may be the easy part compared to the economic challenges ahead to lead California out of debt and restore shine to the Golden State. A Republican Governor with a Democratic state legislature may pose obstacles too. Arnold says, “I will reach out to Republicans, to Democrats and independents, to those who supported the recall and those who did not, those who supported me today and those who did not. I want to reach out to everybody, to young and old, rich and poor, people of all religions, all colors and all nationalities. I want to be the Governor for the people. I want to represent everybody.” Spoken like a man who doesn’t know a lot about politics because what you want to do and what you are able to do are sometimes vastly different.

But hey, I wish him well. If he does well as governor, California benefits. So what if he doesn’t know a lot about politics. That may be an asset. After all, he doesn’t know how to act but made a gazillion bucks doing it anyway.

Be sure to visit this page every week to read the next edition of Walking in the Valley. You can write to the author at



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