I was considering posting on the Arnold situation, since I know several of my readers are Californians. At some point, I wanted to make the point of how Cali is at risk of electing the worst governor in US History. It took about a second for me to realize that was a dangerous overstatement. I was mostly thinking about Reagan and Ventura. As nutty as them running for office seemed, both had political experience before running for Governor. Ventura was a mayor, after all, and Reagan was (rather improbably) a union president which is essentially a lobbying job. They weren't political novices, in spite of their colorful backgrounds.
Arnold, however, falls into the recent category of political newbies who are impossibly wealthy and just go straight for the big prize. He's got a lot of company. My current governor is one of those types. Jumped right into running for Senate, lost, and then went on to win the governor's office. Inevitably, the think and campaign on the notion that since they were successful in business, they must naturally be successful in government. The Perot arguement. Of course, its bullshit, but especially so in Arnold's case. I can at least understand the point when a person built a business from nothing. But Arnold? His fame is because he has muscles. That's it. I mean, I don't mean to knock acting, but any notion that this work prepares a person for government is downright bizarre.
So, basically, I just wanted to point out unprepared Arnold is for office. And, of course, his widespread problem with sexual harrassment/assault (which, for all the Arnold supports, is NOT the same thing as "womanizing" so you can stop comparing him to Clinton, or Kennedy, or whoever). But, I immediately realized that it was just silly hyperbole to say he's the worst governor ever. I mean, surely we've elected some real nutcases in the last 200 years. Probably more than a few people who were criminally corrupt, maybe even a murderer or two. And I think it took me about 30 seconds to remember the horrible leaders of segregation who have a lock on all of the "worst governor" slots in recent memory.
Which got me curious, who is the worst governor in US History. When I researched my article on the Democratic Presidential candidates, I came upon references to Kucinich being selected as one of the worst mayors in US history by an academic panel. Surely, such information would be available for our nation's governors with a simple google search.
Pretty much ever reference to "worst governor" was a partisan attack directed at whoever is currently in power or recently in power. Much of it was directed at Grey Davis, but I found references to most of the states in the union where the sitting Gov has been described by political opponants as the "worst governor" in the state's history. Democrat, Republican, whatever. Even the genuinely courageous and Nobel Peace Prize nominated George Ryan of Michigan. (UPDATE: Who, yeah, I know was a crook, but still) No acadmeic information at all. Ah, well.