Recommended Reading | Star ...
What often looks like chaos in California politics is actually part of its long history of populist democracy dating back to Governor Hiram Johnson in the early 1900s, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Mathews.
Arnold Schwarzenegger merely borrowed several pages from Johnson's book of showmanship and direct, dynamic democracy: initiatives, referendums, and recalls.
Mathews delivers a completely engrossing look at Schwarzenegger's long and calculated strategy to run for political office, taking advantage of the Gray Davis recall to sidestep a Republican primary where his liberal social views would have been a problem.
Mathews details Schwarzenegger's foibles and fumbles (including the "girlie man" criticism of the legislature), as well as his brilliant moves and dogged determination to build "a political machine run not on patronage but on stardust."
Schwarzenegger used his celebrity, wealth, business savvy, and marketing skills for a 2002 initiative to fund after-school programs that was really designed as the launch of his gubernatorial campaign. Mathews also details the alliances Schwarzenegger has had to build and hard-knuckle conflicts he has faced and will face as he governs the nation's most populous state. A thoroughly fascinating book. Vanessa Bush, Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved