What Arnold Schwarzenegger can teach about the presidential campaign

CHARLOTTE, N.C – In 2005, California voters spanked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, rejecting a series of ballot measures he had promoted to change state government and shake up the public education system.

A year later, he won reelection in a blowout.

No two campaigns are ever alike. Indeed, there is nothing the least conventional about Schwarzenegger, who took office under remarkable circumstances—a snap recall election–and may be remembered as much for his schtick (calling balky lawmakers “girlie-men,” for instance) as anything he accomplished in Sacramento.

But Schwarzenegger’s comeback from political disaster seems instructive as Democrats kick off their convention Tuesday and could help explain why the presidential race is so close despite vital signs—the incumbent’s middling approval ratings, the sour mood of the public, widespread economic anxiety—that should put President Obama at a much deeper disadvantage.

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-- Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times 

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