Would You Vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

Would you vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger (search)?  That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

Californians have a very difficult decision to make tomorrow, whether to throw out their incompetent governor and elect a man who may have done a number of unseemly things to women.  The latest polls still have Schwarzenegger ahead, but obviously anything can happen.

But here's what's really going on.  This election is now between Mr. Schwarzenegger and The Los Angeles Times.  That's what it's all about.  The Times is acting as Gray Davis' chief supporter, throwing huge resources into digging up dirt on Schwarzenegger, some of which seems to be true.

Talking Points has never seen a newspaper try to destroy someone as aggressively as the Times is doing, but the tactic may backfire for two reasons.  First, the actor has never been charged with a crime or sued in civil court.  So his record is clean.  There's no Paula Jones here, no Monica Lewinsky, at least not yet.

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not defending Schwarzenegger's conduct because I don't know what he did.  His admission of behaving badly must be considered by the voters.

Second, if the media is going to become part of political campaigns, that is actively try to help a candidate in its news pages as the Times is doing with Gray Davis, then our political system's in trouble.  Voters instinctively know this.   Thousands of Californians have canceled their subscription to The L.A.Times.

It is simply wrong for powerful media operations to use their vast  resources to try and destroy individual Americans, politicians or otherwise.  There's no doubt that a number of Times reporters were sent on a mission -- get something on Arnold.  And they did.

But here's the dilemma.  Mr. Schwarzenegger may not be the right man  for the job, but what is the alternative?  There's no question the Democratic party has hurt California.  No honest person could dispute that.  So as a voter, I could not support [Gov. Gray] Davis or [Democratic candidate and Lt. Gov.] Bustamante.

In Nassau County, New York, where I live, the Republican party screwed  things up so badly, they were thrown out on their butts.  And a young Democrat, Tom , was elected county executive.  He's done OK, but it really doesn't matter.  The corrupt GOP machine had to go.

It's the same in California.  The corrupt Democratic machine has to go.  And it looks like Schwarzenegger is the only person that can make that happen.  The vote tomorrow features a flawed main contender versus an incompetent party apparatus, supported by the most powerful newspaper in the state.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is your choice.  Let the voting begin.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

Yesterday's [Sunday, October 5] New York Times mentioned that my new book Who's Looking Out For You? will debut at number one next Sunday.  But, as usual, the paper framed the story and the book as a conservative-versus-liberal thing.  My book has nothing to do with ideology.  It's about you and what you need to know to succeed in America.  There are plenty of other ideological books out there, if you like that.

And isn't it interesting that The New York Times gives the left-wing tomes such sponsorship.  Michael Moore has a new slam book out.  The Times loves it!  Loves it! --Almost as much as the paper loved the other defamation book written by you-know-who.  But they don't like the ones written by conservatives.

The Times was right about one thing, though.  The book war will say a lot about what kind of society Americans really wants.  I'm hoping, and symbolically betting that, by the end of this year, Who's Looking Out For You? will outsell the smear books by a wide margin.

I trust the folks.  To not do so would be ridiculous.  Very intense battle in the bookstores.