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Sure the Dixie Chicks are against Arnold, but where is the rest of Hollywood on the recall race?

8:00 AM, Sep 10, 2003 • By BILL WHALEN
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SAY GOODBYE to recall's principled Peter. That's Peter Ueberroth, the former baseball commissioner, who yesterday ended his issue-oriented (and mostly invisible) run for governor. "In the four weeks where we are and where we have to get, we just can't get there," Ueberroth said in a farewell news conference that was absent any endorsement. That's welcome news for Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he'll probably inherit the lion's share of Ueberroth's 5 percent support.

Meanwhile, Arnold has a bigger problem: women. According to the latest Field Poll, Schwarzenegger trails Democratic Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante among women voters, 35 percent to 22 percent. That's not what the Arnold candidacy is supposed to do: He's pro-choice, socially moderate, and married to a Kennedy. He shouldn't suffer the same gender gap as more conservative Republicans.

Chicks just aren't digging Arnold--and that goes double for Dixie Chicks. "He is a great film star," the Chicks' banjo-playing Emily Robison told a German newspaper this week. "But I find his idea to run for governor absolutely insane. America should be governed by people who have a clue. I hope he doesn't win."

It's no shock that the Lone Star trio ventured to Europe and took a swipe at a Republican politician. It was only six months ago that Natalie Maines told a British audience: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

But what is surprising is how few celebrities have joined the chorus. Sure, there's Cybill Shepherd. She once made out with Gray Davis. Now, she makes out Arnold to be Western civilization's greatest threat. "That would be the worst tragedy in the history of California," the former "Moonlighting" star confided to "Access Hollywood." "I think that we are the laughing stock of the world, with Arnold Schwarzenegger running [for] governor. I think he's a real hypocrite. I think he has a past that is going to come out, and I'm not going to mention what it is, but it's not going to be pretty."

But beyond Cybill, Hollywood has taken a pass on Arnold-bashing. There's no liberal vitriol coming from the red carpets, no doom-and-gloom prophecies that a Schwarzenegger administration will rape the environment, re-segregate lunch counters, or condemn women to back-alley abortions--not one iota of the spite and malice directed at the George W. Bush or a conservative punching bag like Tom DeLay.

Arnold did have one industry flap upon entering recall, when he suggested that his agency, CAA, was endorsing him for governor. CAA quickly said no. That led to rumors--and stories in The New York Post--suggesting that Tom Hanks, also a CAA client, was furious at the agency for choosing sides and had decided to organize a Democratic effort against his fellow film star (Hanks vehemently denied this).

MOST CELEBRITIES are against the recall process, but not Arnold. That begins with the oracle herself--Barbra Streisand. She's donated $1,000 to an anti-recall committee and another $1,000 to Bustamante's campaign. But she won't go after the biggest threat to the Democratic reign in Sacramento. "Arnold is a social friend whose company and whose wife's company I enjoy," Streisand said in a statement first sent to Newsweek and later the Associated Press. "I'm a Democrat and he's a Republican." Watch for more celebrity liberals to follow her lead when Davis's anti-recall committee holds a fundraiser in Century City next week.

And believe it or not, there's actually a pro-Schwarzenegger contingent. Actor Kelsey Grammer and media bigwig Jerry Perenchio have contributed to his campaign. Rob Lowe is on board as a liaison. Tom Arnold and Jamie Lee Curtis and a host of Arnold' past co-stars and co-workers will attest to his character. Oprah Winfrey is rumored to be willing to have Arnold and Maria on her show.

(Arianna Huffington also gets a boost from her famous pals. She's collected $21,200 checks from producer Lawrence Bender and Larry David of "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fame. "ER's" Noah Wylie and "The West Wing's" Aaron Sorkin have chipped in $5,000 apiece.)

Does this mean Hollywood has a secret fondness for Arnold, or sees his candidacy as a way to boost an image that took a beating during the Iraq conflict? Not exactly. "Most people I speak with respect Schwarzenegger, find him smart, hard working and a true friend," writes Hollywood Reporter editor and columnist Robert Dowling. "They like to make movies with him and respect his work ethic. But they're unclear about his positions. Is he a hard-line Republican or a moderate? What are his ideas? The normal questions. He has yet to answer any of them, so far."