Playing pundit: California turmoil
A young woman with a Colombian accent, Camila, just interviewed me by phone from Paris for Radio France Internationale's Spanish-language service, about today's California recall election. She expressed amazement that Arnold Schwarzenegger could still be a serious candidate after all the revelations of his man-handling of women. Well, unfortunately, lots of people have come to think of politics as part of the entertainment industry, and Arnold's shenanigans seem pretty amusing -- except to the victims. Lots of Americans also seem to have confused Arnold's on-screen persona with the real guy. If -- gasp! -- he actually gets to be governor, I don't expect him to be either bold or strong in protecting the less-powerful against the energy interests that robbed the state blind, or the auto and other industries that want to gut California's environmental protection laws. He'll be too busy posing for TV cameras and for himself in front of mirrors to even notice how he's being used by the money guys.

One of Camila's colleagues, another Colombian woman in Radio France Internationale, has called occasionally in the past for my views on such things as Bush's sudden attack on Afghanistan, the infuriating theft of the 2000 elections, and the political clout of hispanos in the US. The first time she called, I was a little embarrassed to opine for the world about things I could not possibly be expert on. But hell, William Saffire does it all the time, so why not? By now I'm quite comfortable, and glad that somebody who is not from the American right gets to be heard in the Spanish-language radio markets around the world.

If you want to see what else the station offers, go to Radio Francia Internacional en castellano

For another -- quite compatible -- view of the California vote, see this note by my friend RD Larson, Useless Knowledge.

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