Consistent with the Republican theme this week (not to mention, the past four years) of shaping facts to conform to fantasy, it now appears that the core of Arnold Schwarznegger’s endearing personal account of his political awakening was fabricated.
Arnold told the rapt delegates that, as a boy, “I saw Soviet tanks in the streets” and “experienced communism with my own eyes.” That’s very impressive, but Arnold was born in 1947 and, as historians point out, the Soviets left that region of Austria in 1945. (In fact, if Arnold saw foreigners, they were more likely to be English, since he was living in the British zone.) Furthermore, that “socialist state” that Arnold claims to have grown up in is also a ruse. From 1945 to 1970, the country was run by either a conservative government, or a coalition of conservatives and Social Democrats.
In the NYTimes this past week, there was an article about the Republican’s perceived advantage in holding their convention second. It alluded to particular Republican speeches that had specific lines targeted to reply to or counter specific Democratic speech lines. In this case, it seems that Arnold was trying to match John Kerry’s description of having lived in cold war Germany and having once ridden his bicycle into the occupied zone.
If Arnold himself wasn’t such a made-up person, this twisting of reality might serve as a stronger example of how Bush, Cheney and the Republicans spent the past week compulsively doing the same thing.