When it comes to California politics, most Republicans will think of Governor-turned President Ronald Reagan, presumably. Average Joes of any other political affiliation, and maybe some Republicans, too, will think of Jerry Brown.
Now serving his third term as California’s governor, what hasn’t Brown done? In his younger days, he sat on the Los Angeles Community College District board, and then served as Secretary of State.
After his first term as governor, and two failed runs for US Senate, he got elected mayor of Oakland. Oakland native and local reporter J. Douglas Allen-Taylor witnessed the depressed Bay-area city turn into a police state under Brown’s watch, with a rising crime rate and a legacy of homicide, including seven murders in one weekend. Brown candidly admitted routinely picking up bullet shells in the street near his home.
As attorney general, he demonstrated an unlikely integrity, appealing all death penalty challenges, upholding state law, even though he personally opposes the death penalty. He also sued mortgage companies and stood with Arnold to resist appealing a Federal Judge’s ruling against Prop 8. There, Brown’s pandering bipartisanship worked in his favor, even though a majority of Californian’s had supported the 2008 constitutional initiative.
Brown also ran for President three times. The 1976 Presidential incumbent Gerald Ford had pardoned Richard Nixon, tripped down one too many stairs, and aside from his fiscal restraint (refused to bail out profligate New York City) channeled too much of the liberal Republican character. Democrats sensed a winning opportunity. Tacking to the left of Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976 and then1980, Brown slowed down the incumbent’s momentum (as did Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy), and Reagan prevailed. Running once more in 1992, he built a grass-roots, populist campaign, surviving on shoe-string donations, and kicked off Democratic primary challengers until he and Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton sparred. Offering to add the Reverend Jesse “Hymie-town” Jackson to his ticket, Brown offended New York’s larger Jewish voter population, and never recovered.
Following the media’s new left-leaning love for Governor Brown 2.0, new rumblings in the background suggest that he may install a 4.0 run for the White House in 2016, challenging the all-but-assured Hillary Clinton for the office. Supporters have listed his prior success with balancing budgets, as well as steering the state with a centrist flair, in spite of the newly-installed liberal, Democratic supermajority in Sacramento.
Does Governor Moonbeam have a chance, and does his record in the state support a fourth run?
Jerry Brown? Ha!
Let’s discuss that “balanced budget” from last year. Despite the passage of tax increases on high-income earners, and a higher sales tax, too, Brown did not so much balance the budget as bounce along on gimmick which ignore the wall of debt – bad investments, pension obligations, and an all-around hostile tax structure which assures an unstable revenue stream from high-income earners and small businesses, more of which are streaming out of California.
But he’s governing as a centrist of sorts, right? Signing into law the DREAM Act, which a majority of Californians opposed, including Hispanics, Brown pandered to one interest with a law which affects only 3,000 students, yet denies the deeper problem of integrating immigrants legally without compromising the integrity of the rule of law. He also approved driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, granted non-physicians the authority to perform abortions, and signed off on a transgender bathroom law for public schools, which will face an initiative recall.
About pension reform, Brown has offered nothing substantial, and liberal legislators are already cutting away at those meager reforms.
But the business climate has improved, somewhat, and unemployment has declined, right? An average of five businesses leave the state every day, and Prop 30 only hastened the flight of burdened businesses out of California. Sacramento NBC affiliate KRCA reported on Arizona and Nevada’s campaign to capture businesses and jobs fleeing the state. At least LA Mayor Eric Garcetti lamented that the Governor of Texas treated LA business leaders with more respect and approved tax credits. What about Brown?
David Davenport of Stanford University’s Hoover Institute listed other officious policies forcing people to leave California, including highest gas tax, most welfare recipients, and the greatest number of cities declaring bankruptcy (four, so far). What is Brown working on? Staving off releasing dangerous criminals from overcrowded prisons, bursting because of his previous administration’s tough policies. And there’s that billionaire bullet train boondoggle, with cost overruns and court injunctions. Scenic trips from Hanford to Bakersfield, anyone?
Jerry Brown for President? Why revisit such a failed candidate who has nothing but sleight of hand to stand on for a campaign record? Let’s not forget Meg Whitman’s most effective attack ad in 2010, which featured Bill Clinton hammering Brown for trying to repeal Prop 13.
Jerry Brown for President? That guy’s an old retread who should retreat from ever running for the White House, again.