Are you ready for … the Senaterminator?

posted at 10:01 am on March 10, 2017 by Ed Morrissey

It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever, until … until … until it wins another election!

Now that he’s been freed up from his day job as Donald Trump’s replacement, Arnold Schwarzenegger may decide to dive back into politics a decade after closing out his gubernatorial career in California. Politico’s Carla Marinucci reports that the once and future Hollywood action star may become the once and future politician again — only this time perhaps without the GOP:

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — the “Terminator” action hero who made “I’ll be back” one of filmdom’s most iconic phrases — may be mulling a political comeback, according to several GOP political insiders in California.

The prospect of Schwarzenegger’s return to elected politics in a 2018 U.S. Senate run — possibly as an independent — is generating increasing buzz in state Republican circles, fueled by the former governor’s seeming ability to get under the skin of President Donald Trump on social media.

The president’s caustic tweets about Schwarzenegger, the recent host of “Celebrity Apprentice,” and their running feud has sparked talk that the intensely competitive Schwarzenegger — a seven-time Mr. Olympia world bodybuilding champ — may be interested in more than merely a verbal posedown with Trump.

His entry into the 2018 Senate race — when Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein would be 85 years old and up for reelection — “would give Arnold the stage to jam Trump for the next 16 months,’’ according to one veteran GOP strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Why get back out of Hollywood when he has patiently rebuilt his career since leaving office? At least at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be all that much going on in it. Schwarzenegger has one film coming out this year (Aftermath, based on a real-life airplane tragedy) and a couple more in the can that look like less-than-top-drawer efforts (Why We’re Killing Gunther and Journey to China: The Mystery of the Iron Mask). Other than those, he has four announced films on tap, three of which are sequels: The Legend of Conan, The Expendables 4, and Triplets, in which he and Danny DeVito discover that Eddie Murphy was their long-lost third brother from Twins.

So yeah, Schwarzenegger might be looking for something else to do. And without a doubt it would make things awkward to have Schwarzenegger and Trump taking potshots at each other from either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, so the former action star would get to feel as though he can exorcise a few demons along the way.

But … help me out with the thinking on this plan. Other than the gadfly opportunities, why would Schwarzenegger bother with a Senate seat? As governor of California, he got to make decisions and take charge. In the Senate, he’d be one of a hundred people in a club, and as low down the seniority ranks as it’s possible to get. It’s true that a Senate seat gives one a platform for media exposure, but … he’s frickin’ Arnold Schwarzenegger, man. Put that together with a willingness to slag Trump, and the media will beat a path to his door already.

One could see why California Republicans would want to recruit him, too, because they’re not going to win that Senate seat with anyone other than a well-liked celebrity. However, the idea of running as an independent doesn’t make a lot of sense. California’s single-primary system would undoubtedly make Schwarzenegger one of the two finalists even as a Republican. If he won, he’d still have to choose which party caucus to join. If he’s going to join the Republican caucus, he might have to temper his taunting of Trump if he wants to get any influential committee assignments, and running as an independent would be pointless. If he joined the Democratic caucus, it would be just in time to join them in their smallest minority in decades. Even The Expendables 4 has to be more fun that that.

Still, Schwarzenegger might do it anyway, because — and this is meant in the best possible way — he seems to really enjoy being part of the American political scene. He’s a naturalized US citizen who really loves the American system. One can’t help but admire that, even if one doesn’t agree that he should be back this time.


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