So did anyone else catch Arnold Schwarzenegger at the end of Wednesday’s debate as he answered questions from the press? When asked by someone about whether he would participate in any more debates, he essentially said no, which isn’t exactly news. But he went on to brush off the other debates based on the argument that they received poor Nielsen ratings!
To wit, here’s what the gubernator had to say:
“I think as you can see the other debates did wrong–only 1 share ratings, or something like that, but this [debate] is going to have a high rating.”
This has to be a first, folks: claiming to use TV ratings to craft your debate participation strategy. Politicians have always pulled from a goody bag of lame excuses as to why they didn’t want to participate in debates — because of the particular format, because they’re a waste of time, because you can’t equate forensic skills with executive or legislative skills, etc. But because of a lack of Nielsen ratings? Granted, it’s Arnold’s business to know how well his mug plays when it’s aired in some movie for the umpteenth time on USA Network (and I’d bet the average Beltway suit would know what on earth a “1 share” is except for mistaking it for having something to do with Wall Street).
But the fact that Arnold actually used Nielsen ratings as his public excuse for not participating in the debates shows how much he’s having a hard time separating his Hollywood persona from his political persona. His penchant for using Terminator-esque one liners isn’t exactly helping either.
Let’s face it, Arnold’s a serious candidate because he’s got the political and financial backing to make himself one. But Just because you’ve got clout and name recognition doesn’t necessarily add up to posessing the ability to govern and make executive decisions. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. But until he stops talking about his big policy plans in the future tense and gives the public some detail, I’m gonna remain skeptical.
“1 share ratings….” Sheesh. Maybe at his next speech he’ll tell a compelling story about a working class Nielsen household or something…. -ac