At the risk of taking a left turn, I am going to suggest that Arnold’s entrance into the California fray will be good for conservatives. First, I think that it is all but certain that he wins. He will be hit very hard (as he already has) by Davis’s scandal mongers, but unless something really big comes up, I think the terminator is a shoe-in.
Why, then, you may ask, is this good for conservatives? After all, Arnold is socially liberal and probably toward the moderate end of fiscal policy. First, even that less than preferable posture will be a substantial shift to the right from Davis, who is literally in the pocket of special interest. But more importantly, Governor Arnold puts California back in play in 2004. The Democrats have gotten a pass in the last few presidential elections in California--collecting huge amounts of campaign cash from their Hollywood friends, but, California politics being what they are, not having to spend much of that money in the Golden State. Schwarzenegger changes this. He will be a popular campaigner for Bush. While I do not necessarily believe that this will swing the state, it will put it back into play. As such, Dems will have to spend a considerable sum in California, which has three large media markets (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego). The Democratic candidates will also have to spend significant time in California, and will therefore reduce their time in other key states. Run, Arnold, Run.