Why Gary Coleman would make a nice governor. EW explains why we think former ''Diff'rent Strokes'' star would be the best man for the job

Gary Coleman
Credit: Gary Coleman Illustration by Mark Summers

By now, we’ve all gotten over the tabloid shock of it: Yes, there will be a recall election in California. Yes, the strongest candidate opposing embattled governor Gray Davis will be a Hollywood sex symbol. And yes, all symbolic sexiness aside, Gary Coleman is the man for the job.

We here at Entertainment Weekly don’t purport to know much about politics. But we do watch a lot of television. In former child star Gary Coleman, we’ve got a guy who’s faced every pitfall the writers of ”Diff’rent Strokes” could throw at him, from the savage bullying of the Gooch to racism to an exhausting two-parter guest-starring David Hasselhoff. The man has seen hell. He can certainly handle Sacramento.

Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, EW? the skeptics will no doubt ask. Gary Coleman has no political experience! Au contraire, mon bastards, we answer in broken French. Coleman has been a behind-the-scenes player since his high-profile prime-time meeting with Nancy Reagan so many moons ago. Pundits will recall how guest star Nancy compassionately, conservatively steered Coleman’s character, Arnold, off the dark path of substance abuse. Since then, Gary Coleman has stood for straight, clean livin’. His occasional fits of rage suggest he’d be tough on terror, especially if terror asks for an autograph. Most important, he’s the only declared virgin on the ballot.

As for his chief competitor: Gallagher is making a mockery of this race — and fine candidates like Coleman.

Entertainment Weekly invites all its readers to join in our endorsement of the Coleman ticket. (Please send your messages of support to gary4gov@ew.com.) We also invite candidate Coleman himself to come visit our campaign headquarters and sign off on the red, white, and blue bunting we bought without his permission.