In the "I am so not surprised" category, news this morning from the LA Times that Arnold Schwarzenegger has fathered a lust child with one of the household staff.
No, it doesn't surprise me. But it does aggravate me, because when the predecessors to the Tea Party Express were orchestrating Gray Davis' recall and Arnie's ascension, his womanizing ways were well-known to anyone living in this state, yet he managed to snow stupid voters into thinking he was some kind of 'family values' guy. The Washington Post reported "allegations" that he was a groper back in 2003, yet that's as far as it went. He denied it repeatedly, and the sheepish press gave him a great big pass.
Schwarzenegger's campaign initially scoffed at the charges, which were made by six women quoted in a lengthy story in today's Los Angeles Times. But even as Republican leaders were denouncing the account as a smear tactic planted by Democratic allies of embattled California Gov. Gray Davis, the actor issued a dramatic apology at a campaign event this morning, saying he had "behaved badly sometimes."
The six women told the newspaper that Schwarzenegger had grabbed their breasts or made other unwelcome, lewd advances on movie sets and other venues between 1975 and 2000. "Did he rape me? No," one woman said. "Did he humiliate me? You bet he did."
The accusations engulfed Schwarzenegger's campaign during what has appeared to be its finest hours. Polls this week have indicated that a majority of voters favor recalling Davis in next Tuesday's election and that the actor is leading the field of candidates vying to replace him. On Wednesday, sounding confident of victory, Schwarzenegger even outlined plans for his first 100 days in office.
Of course, as soon as the LA Times printed the allegations from six -- SIX -- women, attention turned to the Times instead of the issue at hand, thanks to Arnie's handlers.
The Times, Schwarzenegger and his supporters charged, had colluded with Governor Davis -- a notoriously negative campaigner -- in a "puke campaign" to undercut his frontrunner status late in the race. This charge was taken up by commentators in the press, many of them conservative, who excoriated the paper -- which had strongly opposed the recall election on its editorial pages -- for practicing "agenda journalism," in the words of one, and harboring, along with the rest of the "elite media" an "overwhelming bias" towards Democrats.
Six women came forward. Not one, not two. Six. And the conservative media managed to turn the whole thing around on them and extol Arnie's virtues while condemning those who chose to tell the truth.
As the duly-elected "family values" Republican governor, he railed against single moms in an interview with Salon, vetoed two gay marriage bills in the name of those selfsame Catholic family values, and cut Medicaid benefits for the poor, particularly in areas that hurt the disabled and children of poor parents.
If there's a lesson in all of this beyond the obvious lurid details, it's this: When six women come forward with similar allegations, they should be taken seriously, even if the conservative media pitches a fit. It's long past time to start ignoring their whining in favor of the real people who are harmed by actions of arrogant politicians.
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