Chinese netizens speak highly of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s governance
Note: All photo descriptions and captions are translated from NetEase, the editor and the news portal’s viewpoints do not represent that of Ministry of Tofu. Ministry of Tofu did not do fact-check on the text either, as inaccuracies, slant or mistakes, if any, would at the same time reflect Chinese media’s reporting and attitude. Quotes of Schwarzenegger in this post are also translated from Chinese translation of the original version. Therefore they may not be verbatim quotes.
Schwarzenegger’s Road to becoming a state governor
From a remote mountain village of Austria to the United States territory, he succeeded. From a thin boy who didn’t speak any English, to a bodybuilder that has a strong physique, to a Hollywood star that has captured minds of the world’s moviegoers, he succeeded. He has extraordinary perseverance and is convinced that nothing is impossible. He is the spokesperson for the American dream. However, seven years after walking the the roads as a state governor, he admitted to all, “It’s more difficult than I thought.”
In 2003, Hollywood star Schwarzenegger won the election and became the 38th Governor of California. Besides stardom and charisma, help from his wife Maria Shriver was a definitive factor. Shriver was a descendent of the Kennedy family, and having been a journalism practitioner for over 20 years gives her insight into politics. During Schwarzenegger’s campaign, Shriver gave all-round instruction to him who had never dealt with politics before and even assisted him in forming his election team. The picture shows on January 5, 2007, Schwarzenegger was supported by his wife on his inauguration of his second-term as Governor of California after sustaining a leg injury during skiing.
His predecessor had left California $37 billion in debt. During his campaign, he vowed to resolve the budget deficit. Therefore, after he took office, his biggest challenge was to meet his promise – tackling California’s financial crisis without increasing tax or slashing grant for education and social welfare. The picture shows on July 21, 2004 in California, Schwarzenegger met local restaurants and bakeries asking for their support for his budgetary plan.
Schwarzenegger also suggested that the state capitol convene a special meeting for budget cuts, and announced that he would pass up his salary. During his seven years as a state governor, he never accepted his salary of $174,000 a year. Besides, since his preliminary preparation for election in 2001, he has altogether dumped $25 million smoothing the way for his political ventures. This sum did not even include the travel expenses after he took office. He commuted several times a week in his private helicopter at his own expense between his workplaces. The picture shows that on March 1, 2009, Schwarzenegger rode a bicycle with his bodyguards.
Unlike other Republicans, Schwarzenegger’s political views were mostly moderate. In California where Democratic Party has an overwhelming dominance, his accessible yet celebrity persona enjoyed widespread popularity. In 2004, opinion polls found that 65% favored him. The picture shows that on September 8, 2008, Schwarzenegger clapped hands with children while attending a ceremony in Sacramento, the capital city of California.
In contrast to Bush’s controversial environmental policy, Schwarzenegger was very ambitious about conserving the environment. He also announced a very specific environmental protection plan. The program included use of clean energy, promote use of hybrid vehicles; let more than half of new homes in California harness solar power before 2005; reduce air pollution by 50%; protect California’s coastal environment, and adopt other measures to reduce marine pollution. The picture shows on April 22, 2006, in San Pedro, Schwarzenegger joined Earth Day Beach Cleanup activities with schoolchildren.
Among environmental protection bills he signed, the most eye-catching one is Global Warming Solutions Act. It requires that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. When national climate change legislation was filibustered at the Congress by Republicans, California defined itself as a renewable energy laboratory. The picture shows a billboard of the film Terminator III erected on the roadside of a highway in California on October 17, 2003.
Wildfires in California in 2007 is considered the worst disaster in United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, it earned bonus points for Schwarzenegger’s governance. The public opinion showed that swift response and marshaling firefighters on the scene shed more spotlight on the former film star than on then President Bush. The picture shows in October 2007, Schwarzenegger took a helicopter to the disaster-hit area.
However, the growing budget deficit of California has always plagued Schwarzenegger. He once proposed a budget cut plan. The plan would work to cut spending by moving the elderly, the disabled and the blind out of nursing homes and by stopping art classes for people with disabilities. When the news came out, people accused Schwarzenegger of “betrayed people who need him most.” The picture shows on July 17, 2009 in Brentwood, California, people protest cutting social services because of fiscal crisis in front of his home.
On November 8, 2005, all of eight ballot propositions that Schwarzenegger pushed by investing money and effort were rejected by voters. After this unprecedented defeat, Schwarzenegger’s approval rating dropped to the freezing point. His position was also precarious. In addition, sexual harassment scandals and illicit drug scandal came to light and substantially impaired his image. Opinion poll in February 2005 showed Schwarzenegger’s approval rating plummeted from 65% in 2004 down to 30%.
After his fiasco during the special election, Schwarzenegger was faced with an unprecedented image crisis. At the same time, Schwarzenegger embarked on a journey to China. In contrast to the warm welcome he received in China, the U.S. media thought it was “soliciting trade” is his “last resort” to save his position at stake. The picture shows on September 11, 2010, Schwarzenegger was promoting the sales of produce from California during “Californian Food and Wine Festival” held in a shopping center in Hangzhou, China.
On July 1, 2009, California declared fiscal emergency. Schwarzenegger soon ordered a 15% reduction in the state’s vehicle fleet. Therefore, on August 28, 2009, a garage sale was held in Sacramento, California’s capital city to sell government-owned motor vehicle. Schwarzenegger said the sale was “to live up to the promise of eliminating government waste.” The picture shows Schwarzenegger was autographing on the windshield of a used vehicle, hoping it could be sold at a good price.
On July 21, 2009, Schwarzenegger uploaded a video clip to a blog site (Jing’s note: Twitter is banned in China. That’s why the news does not make specific what the site is.) expressing his gratitude to Californians for offering their opinion. However, the video of “Governor holding a knife” came in for waves of criticism. Not long ago, he was bashed for proposing a $15 billion spending cut.
On the verge of California’s total bankruptcy, the state government has to sell the office buildings and even prisons, including San Quentin State Prison, which has beautiful scenery. Its value was estimated to be $2 billion, but inmates were strongly opposed to it and reluctant to be forced to leave. The picture shows on August 19, 2009, Schwarzenegger visited a prison in Chino where a riot had taken place.
On January 3, 2011, 63-year-old Schwarzenegger officially stepped down and left the mess of $28 billion budget deficit to his successor. Schwarzenegger said frankly to Wall Street Journal that he failed to live up to his promise six years ago. “It’s more difficult than I thought.”
Selected comments from NetEase
37 billion in debt before he took office, 28 billion when he left office, isn’t that accomplishment? I support Schwarzenegger!
There isn’t any comment on such a good cadre?
网易甘肃省酒泉市网友 [来自月球] 的原贴：This is a real good cadre that serves the people!!!! What kind of guiding ideology does he have?
网易湖北省武汉市网友 [浪里格朗朗]：Freedom shines over the world!
The criminals have the right to refuse to move? How dare they! Crush them over with bulldozers.
网易四川省南充市网友:There are no chengguan in the U.S. It’s sad for those officials.
网易广东省网友:I suggest that they send for Chinese officials. They will force demolition if they don’t relocate.
I have read about such a governor: no tax increase, no cut on education funds and social welfare, constant conservation and improvement of the environment, refuse to take a cent as his salary, invest his private money into work, would rather sell government-owned buildings, prisons, motor vehicles than demolish (private residences), sell seized land or develop private property, advertise for Californian produce everywhere. 37 billion in debt before he took office, 28 billion when he left office. Judging America from Arnold, I’ve understood how difficult it is to be a governor in America, understood why America can become so strong. God bless Ame~ri~ca, Ame~ri~ca, mankind’s hope!
网易广东省汕头市网友 [yasashii0] 的原贴：I Support you! Finally understand why so many elites from the Heavenly Kingdom turn to embrace America.
网易内蒙古锡林郭勒盟网友:It’s impossible to demolish (a building) and sell the land in America. In America, land can be bought by yourself. House can be built by yourself! (Jing’s note: In China, most land is owned by the state, and an individual can only buy the right to use within a land tenure.)
Brother Schwar, come here and be a village chief. It’s better than being a U.S. government!
It’s much easier to be an official in the Heavenly Kingdom, ha!
网易山东省临沂市网友 [盼民主快来] 的原贴：
In America, is every citizen able to become a governor or the president through election? Begging for the answer.
网易广东省清远市网友 [edmonjl] 的原贴：Let me tell you: it needs money, and a certain amount. Impossible for poor people.
网易四川省南充市阆中市网友 [社会闲散人员] 的原贴：Yes, poor people can’t become a governor or the president, but they can decide if that person can be a governor or the president.
网易山西省运城市网友 [潜行者] 的原贴：The thing is, do you want a high-sounding poor guy to manage finances for you?
网易广东省佛山市顺德区网友(59.38.*.*)的原贴：True! Poor guy – a person who isn’t capable of even changing his own life, how can he change everyone’s life?
网易广东省广州市网友(113.109.*.*)的原贴：Guan Lizhen (Jing’s note: aka Jean Quan) was originally a poor person. Her ancestral home was in Kaiping, Guangdong. After her father died when she was 5, she lived with her mother who doesn’t read a word.
网易广东省广州市网友 [haofeng1981] 的原贴：Who is Guan Lizhen?
网易江苏省南京市网友 [xjwss2597] 的原贴：A female mayor of Oakland.
网易上海市闵行区网友(222.66.*.*)的原贴：Clinton and Obama were poor people before (becoming U.S. presidents) too. The key is if an individual is competent and if any business group is willing to fund your campaign. If you don’t have the capability to garner support, then exercise your right to decide who can take office.
网易江苏省无锡市网友 [河蟹美利坚] 的原贴：Strive to emigrate!
网易广东省东莞市网友 [zmtghs] 的原贴：I also want to emigrate.
网易广东省中山市网友:Thank my country for letting me know there is such a great governor in the U.S.
Such a great governor will never appear within a system like China’s! I support him.
Let Little Brother(refering to self) say: 37 billion in debt when Arnold took office, 28 billion when he left office. It should count as a progress. Americans count to much on a hero to descend upon them.
At the very least, he is thousands and ten thousands times better than China’s corrupt officials.
Can we change the positions of our civil servant with American civil servants? I guess in two days they will all be killed by Americans.
Salute to the civil servant!
100% a good leader!
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jackson are the Americans that I knew as early as in elementary school. And I didn’t who was then U.S. president.