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Arnold Schwarzenegger goes to Mexico after Mexican-American vote, cheap labor

The day after the (U.S.) midterm election, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger flew to Mexico to discuss topics such as immigration. The article by Kate Folmar of the MediaNews Sacramento Bureau is a strange beast, at times mocking the governator, using inappropriate language (Arnold's "post-election high"; his trip to China was a "tonic for his special election hangover", etc.), spouting talking points, and offering innuendo. The impression I'm left with is that we're living inside a corporatist nightmare and that Arnold is just a tool of business interests. He works for them and not for the bulk of California citizens. Whether intentional or not, it's probably well-deserved. A related AP report by Laura Kurtzman ("Schwarzenegger says Washington 'stuck'") has some additional details on the jaunt.

Arnie will meet with both Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon. First lady/real governor Maria Shriver will - "[a]s is her wont" - be delivering humanitarian aid to Chiapas. (No meeting with Subcomandante Marcos is apparently planned; outreach only goes so far). The AP report has Arnold sounding very Bush-like:
"I think this is good that we have new blood coming to Washington, that we have new people with new ideas coming to Washington... because Washington was stuck."
He lauds bipartisanship, and also speaks out against the border fence (the AP lies and calls it a "wall") [UPDATE: See below]. And, he supported again Bush's "guest" worker scheme. He also presents himself as a model of how Republicans could govern by reaching across the aisle. Of course, in his case he's reaching across the aisle to people like Antonio Villaraigosa and Fabian Nunez, two people who have questionable allegiance to this country. As an example of how bad this meme is, Insty promoted it here, and Pajamas Media promoted it at the page that links to. Returning to the MediaNews report:
The governor is traveling with more than 60 business delegates, representing agriculture, entertainment, banking and tourism concerns -- several of which have made generous donations to the governor and his political causes.
Needless to say, the ag interests are strongly interested in cheap labor, and the banking interests are probably interested in helping illegal aliens send money home. In fact, the AP article says, he was "traveling with California farmers who were unable to harvest their crops because of a lack of workers". (Whether one of those is Luawanna Hallstrom is not known.)

Meanwhile, here in what is still apparently our country, frequent quote source Jack Pitney of Claremont McKenna says:
"I think Schwarzenegger is thinking long-term... The Republican Party can't survive forever without a substantial share of the Latino vote."
While most Latinos in California are Mexican-American, one wonders whether going to Mexico is the best way to reach out to Puerto Ricans or Argentinians. And one wonders whether it's good to reach out to a specific ethnic group by going to the country from which they or their ancestors came. Doesn't that discourage assimilation? Doesn't that encourage them to maintain ties to the "old country" rather than becoming 100% Americans? Why, Arnold even recognized the proximity of Mexico as an impediment to assimilation, and that's stated in the article. Maybe one side of Arnold knows something that the other side doesn't.

We're also informed that, according to the William C. Velasquez Institute, Arnie got 41.5% of the Latino vote, and this was apparently a high for a Republican.

Then, we get some interesting innuendo I wasn't aware of:
Schwarzenegger trade missions tend to be elaborate spectacles that rack up serious expenses. Unseen donors underwrite travel for the governor and his staff through the tax-exempt California Protocol Foundation, run under the auspices of the California Chamber of Commerce. Delegates pay their own way. And the state covers some minor costs.

The protocol foundation arrangement aggravates campaign finance watchdogs who see it as a covert way for donors to court favor.

Chamber of Commerce head Allan Zaremberg says the governor is not influenced. And he doesn't know who is giving. Donors "have an expectation of confidentiality when they contribute," he said.

The protocol foundation's 2005 tax returns show that it spent more than $1.2 million to "lessen the burden of government" in promoting "California as a place to do business." That number probably reflects costs of last year's mission to China, plus some expenses from a similar mission to Japan in late 2004.
UPDATE: Arnold himself called it a wall, and he's not opposed to it, he just thinks it's incomplete:
"Approving a law to build a wall between the United States and Mexico is an incomplete way to solve the problem... That´s why a guest-worker program must be functioning at the same time."

California · Fri, 11/10/2006 - 04:59 · Importance: 1

Fri, 11/10/2006 - 07:54

I'd like to let you know about a new, nonpartisan public database of money and votes in California that was recently launched, MAPLight.org.

For example, one could easily access the following information:

The crop production industry contributed $1,207,876 to members of the 2003-2004 California legislature (http://www.maplight.org/maplight/map/ca/2003/interest/browse/Agriculture).

To learn more about this new resource, visit http://www.maplight.org

C. Powers, Research Intern, MAPLight.org