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Looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger won’t be coming to live in D.C. after all.
The Schwarzenegger-for-president story had grown weak even before news broke of his double-super-secret consulting contracts with a pair of musclehead magazines, Muscle & Fitness and Flex. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment, a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that would make the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger eligible for the highest office in the land, stalled in the last congress and hasn’t been reintroduced this session. A Field Poll released last week showed the California governor’s overall approval rating at 34 percent in his state, and he’s 4 percentage points behind somebody named Phil Angelides in the latest polling for next year’s governor’s race. Support is so spindly back home that the fan club formed to promote Schwarzenegger’s White House bid, Amend for Arnold, is no longer focusing its cheerleading energies on national politics.
“Our effort has gone into California,” says Amend for Arnold founder Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, explaining why the group scrapped efforts to hold rallies around the country for Schwarzenegger this weekend, in conjunction with his 58th birthday. Morgenthaler-Jones adds that “the heat” and a lack of excitement for the events among the faithful also played into the decision.
But no matter what his political future holds, Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding past has already netted him a presence in the White House. Not the sort he can be proud of, however.
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This presence comes courtesy of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the nerve center of Schwarzenegger ally George W. Bush’s war on drugs. On its Web site, alongside a roster of herbs, powders, and concoctions published by the agency to let all good boys and girls know what to stay away from, ONDCP has compiled a list of “street terms” for these illicit substances.
In the steroids category, beneath a pretty seal of the Executive Office of the President of the
United States and next to warnings about “shrinking of the testicles,” readers are told to steer clear
ONDCP spokesperson Rafael Lemaitre says the White House compiled its collection of more than 2,300 euphemisms for dozens of drugs using information from both the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), a Johnstown, Pa.– based wing of the Department of Justice, and Pulsecheck, a public– private alliance of ethnographers, epidemiologists, drug-treatment providers, and law-enforcement
officials that was formed under
the first Bush administration. (Schwarzenegger served as chair of the President’s Council on Fitness for the elder Bush.)
Neither the NDIC nor Pulsecheck can cite when or where “Arnolds” was first used as a nickname for steroids. (Both groups, however, use the slang word liberally on their own anti-steroids material, along with “juice,” “gym candy,” and “stackers.”) But officials with the Newark, N.J., office of the Drug Enforcement Agency say there’s no doubt the inspiration for the ONDCP’s street term is Schwarzenegger.
“Arnold being so big—big as far as recognition is concerned—in the bodybuilding community, that’s the term that bodybuilders in Southern California used for steroids,” says Douglas S. Collier, public-information officer for the agency in New Jersey, which has produced its own anti-steroids public-awareness campaign—complete with a reference to “Arnolds”—called Intelligence Bulletin: Steroids. “Now, everybody in that community knows what juice is—what gym candy, stackers, and, yes, what Arnolds is. Those are universal now.”
Schwarzenegger’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
This spring, the governor told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he has “no regrets” about using steroids and that the substances that helped him obtain thighs for biceps and seven Mr. Olympia titles weren’t illegal when he was pumping himself up with them. Schwarzenegger also insisted that “for those days that’s what we did,” intimating that bottles of synthetic testosterone were as common in the tackle boxes of his bodybuilding buddies as baby oil and Speedos.
Whether his steroids use was legal or not, Schwarzenegger will forever be associated with the now-heavily-regulated hormones at least as closely as anybody who has never swung a bat for a living.
But Schwarzenegger might take solace in the fact that the White House list, which was published in February 2004, also includes other celebs who have had all or part of their names hijacked by retailers of illicit substances.
Out on the street, says the ONDCP’s list, proverbial “Huggy Bears” use “Belushi” to refer to “a combination of cocaine and heroin,” the drug duo that killed comic icon John Belushi in 1982. “Bill Blass” (cocaine) and two popular Jerrys—“Jerry Garcia” (MDMA) and “Jerry Springer” (heroin)—have also muscled their way into the lexicon. “Buddha” means “potent marijuana spiked with opium,” and crying, “Sweet Jesus!” will get a heroin dealer’s attention. Though its highest-ranking occupant isn’t known as much of a reader, the White House’s list occasionally gets literate: “Alice B. Toklas” translates into “marijuana-laced brownies,” “Don Juan” means marijuana, and “Mighty Joe Young” conjures depressants. The list also includes some references that the president, who has been hit with drug-use allegations of his own over the years, would seemingly want stifled: “Bush,”
“Righteous Bush,” and “Bobo Bush” are all government-certified marijuana references.
But for anybody looking for proof that the names were indeed compiled by the current administration: According to the ONDCP, “Bin Laden” has come to mean “heroin after September 11.”
“Arnolds” is the only steroids pseudonym among the ONDCP’s street terms that can be traced to a specific former user, however.
The list, in other words, does not include “Barrys,” “Jasons,” “Josés,” or “Mark ’n’ Sammys.”—Dave McKenna
Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Illustration by Doug Boehm.