What can The Wall Street Journal be thinking? On Friday, Oct. 3, The Journal ‘s editorial page applauded Arnold Schwarzenegger for his “candor” in admitting some truth to the accusations by several women that he had touched them sexually without their consent. The paper minimized the allegations by saying that all that was proven was that the actor “can be a boor” and that his statements were “a welcome contrast to the usual political stonewalling or denials.” Sounding like a bunch of 1950’s-era martini-guzzlers, the editors of The Journal gave Mr. Schwarzenegger a figurative big slap on the back and rewarded him because he did not “deny, dissemble or wag his finger into a camera and drop a whopper.” The movie star, in The Journal ‘s eyes, is apparently the paragon of virtue because he apologized for having, as he put it, “behaved badly.” Ignoring the evidence-that Mr. Schwarzenegger is clearly a slimeball whose “apology” was so vague as to be meaningless, a political incompetent who would sink the state of California further into the mud, and a man who used to admire Hitler’s way with a crowd- The Journal could barely contain its moist-eyed admiration for the ex-bodybuilder.
Just who is this man The Journal so admires? So far, over a dozen women -15 and counting-have come forward to accuse Mr. Schwarzenegger of making physical and verbal advances which left the women feeling shaken and frightened. And if 15 have spoken publicly, imagine how many more are keeping quiet. Several of the women have allowed their names to be printed, indicating just how serious they are taking the matter. Others still work in the film industry and worry about retribution. Their accounts span a quarter century-1975 to 2000. Mr. Schwarzenegger has admitted some of the behavior but dismisses it as just being “playful.” As reported by the Los Angeles Times , the women hardly saw the movie star’s actions as good-natured fun and games. To quote just a few:
“He was laughing like it was all a big joke. Well, it wasn’t. It was scary.”
“There was this tongue just lunging down my throat. I am in shock at this point. I wanted to throw up from the taste.”
“He would pin me against the corner in the elevator.”
It’s abundantly clear that Mr. Schwarzenegger views women as objects to be cruelly toyed with and humiliated for his own amusement, and as threats to his muscled masculinity whom he must dominate. No conventional politician could get away with Mr. Schwarzenegger’s acts and words. Nevertheless, he has seduced a large segment of California and one of the country’s most respected newspapers.
With politics in California having sunk so low, can the rest of the nation be far behind? Mr. Schwarzenegger, who at press time seemed to be within reach of his strange and disturbing victory, is a genuine example of the way in which the public has lost its capacity to distinguish between mediocre politicians and sleazy, shallow charlatans. The owners and editors of The Wall Street Journal should be ashamed of themselves.
Let’s let one of the women have the last word: “What could you do? He was the highest-paid actor in the world. I was a peon.”
Pataki Promotes a Hack
A year ago, an obscure-make that completely unknown-former judge named Dora Irizarry agreed to be the Republican Party’s sacrificial-lamb candidate against State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. In return, Ms. Irizarry no doubt anticipated a reward. It’s one thing, however, to appoint a mediocrity to some impressive-sounding but meaningless job in a state agency. It’s quite another to nominate an unqualified hack to an important judicial post. But that’s exactly what Governor George Pataki is doing.
At Mr. Pataki’s urging, the White House has nominated Ms. Irizarry for a federal judgeship in Brooklyn. This is cynical judicial politics in the extreme -the American Bar Association says that Ms. Irizarry is unqualified for the position, and others have questioned her competence and temperament. During confirmation hearings, Senators have heard that Ms. Irizarry is uncommonly rude and has been known to throw objects at lawyers. Just as troubling are assertions that Ms. Irizarry’s grasp on legal issues is hazy at best. President Bush has nominated 200 people to become federal judges; the A.B.A. has found only three to be unqualified. Ms. Irizarry is a member of that exclusive but not sought-after group.
You’d hope that New York Senator Charles Schumer, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would be holding press conferences to denounce this nomination, as he has with others. But he actually supports it. Political insiders suggest that the Senator doesn’t want to criticize the nomination of a Hispanic woman (Ms. Irizarry is a native of Puerto Rico).
So it’s not just hack politics, but hack ethnic politics, that brings the unqualified Dora Irizarry to the brink of federal judgeship. Ms. Irizarry’s greatest allies are Mr. Pataki’s cynicism and Mr. Schumer’s cowardice. What a way to pick a judge. New Yorkers deserve better, and our Senators must not allow this appointment to be confirmed.
Bloomberg Blasts Unions
Michael Bloomberg became Mayor with almost no support from the city’s powerful municipal unions-and that’s turning out to be a very good thing indeed for New Yorkers who care about the financial health of this city.
This was clear when the Mayor recently addressed the unions’ annual retreat and told members that they shouldn’t expect raises without offering “productivity enhancements.” Mr. Bloomberg is determined not to let the unions weasel out of doing their part to help the city emerge from its fiscal crisis. He knows that the union leaders are a self-centered bunch who care more about themselves than the city or their own members. And he made a point of letting the union leaders know that their decision to hold their retreat on Long Island was outrageous, since it effectively removed any potential tax revenues the event might have generated for the city.
It’s refreshing to hear a Mayor call the unions’ bluff. Last year, with the city facing a $6.4 billion budget gap, Mr. Bloomberg and the City Council raised property taxes and cut services to balance the budget. The Mayor, working with the State Legislature, won approval for a temporary income-tax surcharge and for refinancing debt. The municipal unions refused, however, to help New York in its time of need. They resisted calls to save money on pensions and to implement new work rules. The union leaders preferred layoffs of city workers to cuts in their own benefit packages. That’s why 3,000 city workers were laid off last year.
Mayor Bloomberg is correct in confronting the unions directly. The union leaders would rather wait for a new Mayor, whom they can control. But as the Mayor told them, “Anybody that wants to bet that I’m not going to be around in two years and they’ll wait it out, that’s a pretty stupid bet.”