There is grim satisfaction in hearing conservatives complain about the press treatment of poor Arnold Schwarzenegger. And there is additional amusement in the fact that the newspaper leading the probe into the film star's alleged harassments is the Los Angeles Times, whose "Troopergate" articles badly damaged Bill Clinton. Arnold and his fans can complain about the "liberal media," but that excuse holds up poorly.
So does Arnold's increasingly incomprehensible answer to his growing legion of female accusers. First he apologized; now he denies, and suggests that some of the women are lying. "A lot of these are made-up stories," he told Tom Brokaw. "I never grabbed anyone and then pulled up their shirt and grabbed their breasts, and stuff like that. This is not me. So there's a lot of this stuff going on ..."
"So you deny all those stories about grabbing?" demanded Brokaw.
"Not at all," responded Arnold. "I'm just saying this is not -- this is not me."
Schwarzenegger is also insisting that somehow Gray Davis is behind the attacks on his character. That's a believable charge, or would be if the Republicans could produce any evidence for it. In fact, the Davis-did-it gambit is merely a diversion. Arnold is, and long has been, a magnet for stories like this one.
The harassment charges ought to give California voters second thoughts about electing the Terminator, whose fantasies about dictating terms to the legislature are both stupid and scary. Voters should also consider his connections with the discredited Pete Wilson crowd, his secret meeting with Enron's Ken Lay (discussed here by my friend Greg Palast) and his ties with Republicans like Grover Norquist. Surely Schwarzenegger no longer admires Hitler, if he ever did. But I can't help wondering whether the Austrian libertarian would agree with Norquist's weird comparison of the estate tax with the Holocaust.