- Marry a Kennedy and your thoughts eventually turn to
politics÷at least that's what we're being led to believe. The New
York Post reports Arnold Schwarzenegger "appears to be preparing to
be the next president of Austria." Yup, you heard right. The man who
raised the action-hero one-liner to an art form (e.g. "I'll be back.")
may have political ambitions in his native land.
- According to the paper, Schwarzenegger, who lives in
Los Angeles with his newscaster wife, Maria Shriver, and their four children,
holds dual citizenship in the United States and Austria. His mother still
resides there, and her companion, Alfred Gerstal, whom Arnold calls "Uncle,"
is head of the upper house of the Austrian parliament.
- "The guy has ambitions. There is no doubt about
it," Austrian diplomat Hans Janitschek tells the paper's Page Six.
"And I think he has a better chance of getting elected president of
Austria than he does governor of California." As you know, Arnold
can't be commander-in-chief because he wasn't born on American soil.
- Explains Janitschek, "Schwarzenegger is a beloved
figure in Austria. People are proud of him." He's not exaggerating.
Last year, the former muscleman turned Terminator star was on hand for
the dedication of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium in his hometown of
Graz. "I always dreamed as a child of being a bodybuilder and of going
to Hollywood," the former Mr. Universe told the cheering crowd, "but
I never dreamed I would make it this big."
- And the star created quite a stir recently when he attended
the inauguration of two-time-president Thomas Klestil, who cannot run again
once his term is over in 2004. Arnold was seated next to his longtime friend
Kurt Waldheim, the former Austrian president and general-secretary of the
United Nations whose career was halted when revelations of his Nazi background
came to light. "He will be the crown of our country," wrote one
columnist of Schwarzenegger. "Let him enjoy his success in the world
in little Austria."
- The paper speculates that Schwarzenegger, like Waldheim
and Klestil, is a member of the just-right-of-center People's Party, and
says that in order to win the election, he'd have to have the backing of
the extreme right Freedom Party, led by Joerg Haider. The Post says this
could create some problems, since Haider's picture hangs next to Idi Amin's
and David Duke's on the Demagogue Wall in the Museum of Tolerance in the
Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. The rub? Schwarzenegger is a major
contributor to the center, and last November took a politically charged
tour of it with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- A few years ago, while touring the center, Haider, best
known for some pro-Nazi comments he made that he later claimed were misinterpreted
and exaggerated, reportedly spotted the picture and became outraged, reported
the Los Angeles Times. He called on Schwarzenegger to help get the picture
removed. Arnold phoned the center, and officials explained the reasons
why Haider was included. According to one official, the star called Haider
and allegedly said, "You're on the wall because you deserve to be
- Of course, whether Schwarzenegger decides to pick up
stakes and move overseas remains to be seen. He's not commenting on his
alleged Austrian political ambitions, and right now, his immediate plans
including heading back in front of the camera this October to battle the
devil in the big-budget supernatural thriller The End of Days.
- http://www.9types.com/movieboard/messages/3994.html --