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Mar. 2 2010 - 5:06 am | 82 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Jerry Brown, the once (and future?) Democratic savior, reaches anew for higher office

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown

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The last time Jerry Brown had a sustained national audience, it was the winter and spring of 1992, when he challenged Bill Clinton for the Democrats’ presidential nomination. Much has changed in those two decades, but Brown – a former two-term governor of California – is betting that people still remember his firebrand version of liberal, progressive politics. Today, he announced his candidacy for a new term as California governor, putting himself in a political race that has national implications by dint of the state’s status as America’s most populous (and politically important) state.

It’s possible that Brown could even make another presidential run, but first things first: In November, Brown must get past the Republican nominee for governor (likely Meg Whitman). Polls indicate that Brown and Whitman are in a dead heat, but Brown’s official entry into the race should galvanize an electorate that is looking for someone with his experience: An insider with an outsider’s perspective.

During his ’92 campaign, and his years (1975-1983) in the governor’s seat, Brown championed ideas (green energy, healthcare and tax reform, etc.) that are now widely accepted. When I interviewed Brown six years ago in his office (when he was then mayor of San Francisco’s urban neighbor, Oakland), he was as combative and innovative as ever. Brown has never fit into an easy label, despite the “Governor Moonbeam” appellation that followed him for years. He’s a thinking person’s politician – one who, in many ways, is to the left of Barack Obama.

To see Brown’s political style, watch the video below of his 1992 campaign visit to Boston, then the next video that shows him last year, speaking before a California union. It’s vintage Brown – eloquent; inspiring; elliptical; truculent, funny. All in the same speech. As I put it in my profile of Brown (who’s now California’s attorney general), he’s a paradox – but a paradox worth following.


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  1. collapse expand

    Jerry Brown, Gubernatorial candidate is a typical “Tax and Spend” Democrat, who has no intentions of cutting off any kind of “compensated Care” health treatment, education to k-12, education at state colleges, hundreds of undisclosed benefits for “Anchor Babies” and their families. A prison system overcrowded with non-American people. California–THE Epitome of a SANCTUARY STATE for illegal immigrant families is dead broke. Millions of foreign nationals have settled there, and are part of the major cause of the states insolvency. They have been pandered to by Governors, mayors, Judges and elected official. Jerry Brown earlier had made the statement about reporting on the ACORN, but as yet he has remained silent.

    Sacramento has ignored the interests of the California taxpayers and condemned them to higher taxes, deteriorating public services as they cater to millions of illegal alien families living of the state-county welfare system. Today the current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has looked to the federal government to bail out this once prosperous state, to the tune of $20 billion dollars. GET INVOLVED AND BOMBARD YOUR PITIFUL REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON AT 202-224-312. Learn more at NUMBERSUSA & JUDICIALWATCH We also the 287 (G) local police arrest and detainment enforced and mandated for every law department across the country, including in every so-called Sanctuary Haven for illegal aliens.E-Verify the rejection computer program for illegal workers, that is gaining momentum and soon will be 100 percent fool proof. Nor should President Obama and his Homeland Security Secretary rescind No-Match-Letters to businesses from the IRS or drain funding from ICE raids.

    • collapse expand

      Thanks for the comment. Many people consider Brown — and the Democrats’ other long-time representatives — to be “tax and spend” liberals, but his supporters think of him/them as elected officials who care about the wider planet, including people from across the border who’ve sought refuge here. The issue of the state’s finances is crucial — and voters have rejected tax increases at the same time that tax revenues have disappeared because of the economy. The problems in California aren’t unique to the state — but the problems are exacerbated when there’s political gridlock, which has happened because of Democrats and Republicans. Democrats get their share of blame, as they should.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      I’m sorry but your opening statement invalidates everything that follows. Jerry Brown is not a typical “tax and spend” Democrat, putting aside the idea that Brown is hardly “typical” of anything, during his tenure as Governor the state had a budget surplus and much of his ideas about renewable resources, even the idea of burning waste walnut shells in government offices were meant to cut spending and support and boost innovative thinking.

      He was an early supporter of public and private financing, a booster for the arts in California, which by the way is this state’s largest business generator. Everything he proposed twenty some years ago are discussed as new today. Had he been able to push through all his ideas then the state would have been light years ahead of the world. People may laugh at his idealism but I would not want to be on the other side of a debate on the issues with him.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    There is a run down bar call Al’s in the warehouse district in downtown Los Angeles that was a hangout for local musicians and artists. One night while sipping my beer and waiting at the pool table in walked the Governor. He shook some hands, greeted everyone, all of whom were too cool to be impressed until he took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and dropped a quarter on the pool table. (He played a decent game.) I laugh when hearing about Bush being the president one would like to have a beer with, I assure you Brown is one interesting conversationalist. Turns out he was there to meet with a certain latin singer and they stayed a while with the crowd before leaving in Brown’s rent a car. The bar is no longer there…but Brown is going strong.

    Brown was way ahead of his time and hopefully still is…I support him 100%…his Dad knew how to play hardball and so does the son, our state needs the man desperately.

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    Filmmaker Michael Moore may hate former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who may distrust Mohammed Fadlallah (the former spiritual head of Hezbollah) but all three can agree on one thing: They liked meeting journalist Jonathan Curiel. That’s me. I don’t fawn over people I interview, but I give them room to talk before formulating an opinion (or two). Beyond my journalism (a long reporting stint for the San Francisco Chronicle, plus freelancing for the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Columbia Journalism Review, and others), I’ve taught as a Fulbright Scholar at Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan; and conducted research at England’s Oxford University, as a Reuters Foundation Fellow. I’m also the author of “Al’ America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots.” If journalists are what they cover, then I’m an omnivore – someone as interested in Picasso and Seinfeld as I am in Washington politics and foreign affairs.

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