A COLLECTION OF STORIES BY LUKE TAGG
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SMOKE: Yoda For President

Originally published: 8 August 2003

California is in a bad way - it is the world's fifth-largest economy but is more than $38-billion in debt, and the situation has been steadily worsening under current governor Gray Davis.

A recall ballot is to be held on 7 October, in an effort to relieve Davis of his duties, and a number of people have stepped forward, announcing their intention to run for governor.

Amongst these is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose movie image is probably the furthest thing from governor of an all-American state you could envision.

On Wednesday night he announced his intention to run for governor on Jay Leno's Tonight Show, vowing to "bring California back to what it once was" should he be elected.

He argued that since he is so enormously wealthy he can't be bought, which means there will be no need for corruption in his office, and he has a bloody good point, I must say.

Corruption is always as a result of desired money and since Arnie couldn't possibly need any more money, it makes him exempt from temptation.

He has a vast wealth of extremely high-powered contacts - not just in California but in all major centres of the USA - which means if he wants to get things done they will get done.

What - are you going to refuse Arnie when he comes knocking on your door with some campaign to save the wildlife?

You: "No Arnie, sorry - I can't help you."

Arnie: "I'll be back."

Remember - Ronald Reagan was also a movie star and not only became governor of California, but president as well. And he had perhaps a fraction of the intelligence and clout that Arnie has.

Arnie's main competitors are Gary Coleman (from the TV series Diff'rent Strokes), syndicated columnist and TV pundit Arianna Huffington (who was born in Greece and like Schwarzenegger speaks with a heavy accent), Larry Flynt (founder and publisher of Hustler) and democrat Cruz Bustamante.

Even some porn starlet who wants to campaign to have guns replaced with porn is considering running, so it's quite a circus in the Sunshine State.

It all got me thinking, of course, and what I thought was this: Arnie certainly couldn't possibly do any worse than anyone else, and to be honest I think he'd do a whole lot better than most.

He came to America a penniless Austrian, with no knowledge of English and no friends - just a burning desire to achieve his dreams. Look where he is today.

Not the work of an idiot, I can promise you - not only did he have the thousands of other competitors in his particularly cutthroat field, but he was foreign as well, and we all know how much Americans love their foreigners.

The fact that he got anywhere at all is astounding in itself, but one thing is certainly clear - the man works like a beast (you don't win seven Mr Olympia titles and redefine the term "action movie" in that holiest of holies, Hollywood, unless you work like a bitch), and he also has a certain appeal and charm to him which makes him instantly accessible.

I think he'd be brilliant. If I was Californian I'd vote for him in a flash.

This got me thinking further - surely if only cool people ran for office, instead of politicians, the world would actually be a far better place?

If Martin Sheen can pretend to be president for an entire series of The West Wing, why can't he do the real thing? He'd have just the same amount of advisors and people coaching him and he'd certainly know how to deliver a fine piece of oratory.

Personally - if I were to construct a cabinet - I'd fill it with the following people, who I believe would do a far better job of it than the current incumbents:


Minister of Law and Order
James Hetfield (frontman for Metallica). Not only has the man got sufficient volumes of rage with which to petrify all wrongdoers, but he can gain the respect of inmates by being an even harder bastard than they are.

He can get them on his side by playing live gigs of St Anger (Metallica's latest single and album), and his street cred will be complete.

Minister of Transport
Michael Schumacher. If there's one thing transport blokes get wrong it's the speed limit - what's the point in having a car that can do 220km/h when you can only drive at 120km/h? I'd be asking Schumi to look into raising all the necessary speed limits, or simply doing away with them altogether.

Minister of Sport
Graeme Smith. He'd sort us out right quick and wouldn't be averse to some Aussie sledging while going about it. I worry about his batting though - I wouldn't want the added pressures of the job causing him a loss of form.

Minister of Health
George Clooney. Bladdy impressive in ER, bru.

Minister of Agriculture
Bob Marley. Of course.

But most importantly who would I want as president? It simply has to be Yoda, I'm afraid.

The Jedi master has the necessary wisdom, grace and tactical acumen to make a big difference to our lives, and if ever put on the spot can simply answer something vague and impressive-sounding, like "Of my intentions must you question not", or "In time good things to you will come".

I just think that the wrong people are always running things, and the world could be a whole lot simpler if untainted-by-corruption, well-intentioned people were put into positions in which they could make a difference.

I have no doubt that Arnie has sufficient clout to do a whole lot of good and surely that's what you want from your elected officials?

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

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Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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