Sunday, April 10, 2005

You'd Think He Was Used To Such Productions

Wait a minute . . . .

The Chronicle profiles Schwarzenegger's picture perfect promotional productions - his recent "Kitchen Cabinet" meetings around the state (uh, in the redder parts, actually. Speaking of which, tap tap, Dems, you might want to plan that next convention for, say, Fresno). Let's hope there's no Hollywood ending for his latest efforts to rid California of its pesky representative government:

"[Kitchen Cabinet attendees are] not average people. They're opinion leaders,'' O'Connor said. The kitchen Cabinet approach "gives the appearance of broadening the point of view -- so it doesn't look like ... the Chamber (of Commerce) or consultants or money are driving everything. But experienced press people know that this is a shell game.''

Santa Rosa's carefully chosen crowd included a demographically diverse cross section: three women -- a female police officer, a health care specialist, an educator -- and two men -- a young Asian businessman and a Latino banker.

All of them, Schwarzenegger's staff acknowledged, were recommended by Citizens to Save California, the political arm pushing the governor's reform agenda; four were directly invited by Michael Hauser, president of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce; a fifth said she received an invitation from her good friend, an attorney who is a Schwarzenegger appointee.

Rob Stutzman, Schwarzenegger's communications director, argues that the format "provides some genuine dialogue. The governor really enjoys them, and people can ask anything they want. ... We don't coach them.''
Okay, so YOU don't coach them, but you're still calling up farm league players - of course, they know how to play the game.

The participants come armed with questions, of course. And one commentator says that Schwarzenegger probably really does listen to them because "he of all governors is more finely tuned to the views of political opinion."

The article has a nice profile of the Santa Rosa event that will warm the heart of advance types everywhere.

It may be worth noting that, as the guys over at The Roundup have continually mentioned, Schwarzenegger's Kitchen Cabinets haven't generated a whole lot of ink. Note further that the Chron ink is a process story - and not wholly flattering - not a substantive, man-of-the-people-and-his-band-of-merry-policy-proposal story. I'm just sayin' . . .

I hope Schwarzenegger blinks on the rest of his reform proposals so we can avoid this fall special election. Or the people and media continue their getting-wise trend to his electoral antics. I need a November off. So do the voters.

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