Actor unfathomable as president

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ columnist

It’s a little overdue, but I’ve got to say it — I miss Tim Russert. He kept people honest, and he was the national voice for Buffalo Sabres fans like me.

But I’m glad to know the late “Meet the Press” host wasn’t perfect, and in discovering that I found out I was far from it myself.

As I watched “Meet the Press” on Sunday with Tom Brokaw, I was treated to an interview with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Brokaw: “Governor, you were the guest of Tim Russert several times.”

Schwarzenegger: “Several times, and he always did great interviews with a lot of humor, tough questions, but we had a great time, and I really miss him, I have to say that. And he was — I remember when I ran for governor, he called me, and he says, ‘If you make that, if you win, then I will take care of the rest.’ And I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he says, ‘I will get you to run for president. I will make sure that we change the Constitution.’ Well, it never happened, but anyway, I miss him very much.”

You can view or read the rest of the interview on msnbc.nbc.com, and I recommend it because it’s really good and I’m not going to cover the rest of it.

I want to talk about the Schwarzenegger president Russert never saw come to fruition. Sunday’s interview revealed my personal shortcoming. I’m not ready now, or ever, for an Arnold Schwarzenegger administration.

It’s not xenophobia, anti-Republicanism, or a referendum on Schwarzenegger’s job performance — in fact, I’d be the last one to say, “You guys shoulda voted for Gary Coleman.”

My reasons are simple, if admittedly sophomoric.

First, take the name Schwarzenegger. That’s 14 letters, with no respectful way to abbreviate. Can’t use the first name, can’t fit 14 letters into your average newspaper headline.

Second, I just couldn’t accept a president with such an acting history.

“But Kevin, Ronald Reagan was an actor, and people took him seriously enough to elect him twice.” Well, strawman argument, I think people would feel differently about Reagan had he played a pregnant man, a frozen villain in a “Batman” movie, a murderous cyborg, and a barbarian warrior in a loin cloth.

That body of work equals convenient and cheap laughs. On Monday, California one-upped New Mexico tax incentive offers to keep a car manufacturer in state. I chuckled to myself when I imagined Schwarzenegger telling the company bosses, “Follow me if you want to live,” or calling New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to rub it in and say, “Who is your daddy, and what does he do?” Now, imagine that every day, with the media attention any president gets.

So there. I don’t want the Constitution changed to allow such a presidency to take place, and it’s because I’m selfish and immature. Even from the grave, Tim Russert made another honest man.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com