It’s been a year now since Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California, the crown jewel of American states. He inherited partisan gridlock and a lousy economy. Now he’s beginning to turn the state around. Few if any pundits are still laughing about the former actor. Instead, he is met with respect for his unconventional approach, his growing public appeal and for bringing about change across party boundaries.
Schwarzenegger is living testimony to the American dream: there’s hardly anywhere you can’t go if you’ve got what it takes. He shows leadership, he electrifies the political process and by reaching out to politically uninterested groups he strengthens the Californian democracy. On top of all this he helped swing Ohio in the November election, campaigning effectively for the president. Governor Schwarzenegger is rapidly building a political platform and, at least in my book, he has already reached the fourth highest political office in the U.S.
Now take a look at this guy. A former body-builder-turned-actor with a funny accent. He’s self-made and as far from a political insider you could possibly get. Can anyone imagine this kind of career in Sweden? Ever seen this kind of charisma in the Riksdag? Why in the world do we consistently find ourselves with the most uninspiring leaders?
Ah, but we’re so very democratic, aren’t we? Money doesn’t matter here like in American politics! I disagree. Any campaign will cost money and I find it perfectly reasonable that a well-regulated and transparent fund-raising process is better than our system where the tax-payers foot most of the bill while additional money conveniently changes hands from supposedly non-partisan unions to the labor party whenever there is an election coming up.
Ok, so it’s only been a year. Schwarzenegger might fail, we don’t know yet. But we could certainly learn a thing or two from a vital democracy!