Bill Buzenberg is senior vice president for news at Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota’s version of the BBC. Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune runs Buzenberg’s dyspeptic column on the inauguration of Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California: “In California, too, the show will wear thin.”
According to Buzenberg, Schwarzenegger is Jesse Ventura, and Schwarzenegger will prove a political flop just as Ventura did. The column is an exercise in smug attitudinizing that makes clear its writer thinks slightly higher of himself than the evidence warrants. It is one of those columns that is emitted rather than argued.
Buzenberg favors high taxes, balanced budgets, and nuanced arguments of the kind that can be observed by his reference to Ventura’s “politics with steroids.” He also finds Minnesota’s current political climate insufficiently conducive to sophistication: “[I]f the new macho political culture in California is anything like Minnesota’s, the level of California’s civic discourse is about to slide downhill. Issues will be acutely oversimplified, portrayed as simple good and bad. Glib sound bites will pass for full policy articulation.”
Full policy articulation a la Gray Davis…an explosion in state spending, a tripling of the car tax by administrative decree, the granting of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants…One hesitates to speculate what damage a politician incapable of such lofty thought might do.
When it comes to politics, Buzenberg prefers shades of Gray, although he is not inclined to say so outright. Perfect! Oh, for the days of Rudy Perpich and Gray Davis! “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive…” (Courtesy of reader Peg Kaplan.)
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