Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Former Calif. governor may run again

August 7, 2008

Advertisement

— California's former and perhaps future governor, Jerry Brown, says it took him 13 minutes to get here from Oakland, where he was mayor for eight years and now lives. He came on BART, the transit system launched by his father Pat, who was Democratic governor for two terms until beaten by Ronald Reagan in 1966, which ended a political career that began in 1928 when Pat ran unsuccessfully, as a Republican, for the state Assembly.

For 80 years a Brown has been active in California politics, and if Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who will be 77 in 2010, does not run for governor, Jerry Brown, who is now attorney general, probably will, although he says being governor "is an impossible task and anyone will leave discredited." Then why try? Because, he says, he is, in the formulation of the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, a pessimist of the intellect but an optimist of the will. He was 36 when he replaced a congenital optimist, Reagan, as governor, and will be twice that age when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger limps back to Los Angeles.

Feinstein is wealthy, well-known and popular, so she can wait until 2010 to decide, thereby paralyzing other possible Democratic candidates. If she then does not run, Brown's name recognition will make him the front-runner. His last year as governor was 1982, when there were 24.5 million Californians. Now there are 38 million, most of whom have only vague, if any, memories of him as governor. But in this megastate, becoming known can cost a fortune, and his name is known from Oregon's border to Mexico's. That is why he says he may become the last gubernatorial nominee not rich enough to personally finance his campaign. Besides, he says, in a "TiVo world," where people watch only what they select and "political news is not as salient as it used to be," a famous name becomes more salient.

Brown, who was 7 when the Second World War ended, remembers rationing and sometimes - when the former seminarian is in a San Francisco frame of mind, fretting about "unsustainable" growth and celebrating monastic asceticism - he seems to regret the end of it. But the realist in him dryly notes that the dreamy legislation Schwarzenegger signed that requires greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020 - when there will be 16 million more Californians than there were in 1990 - does not begin to bite until 2012, when Schwarzenegger will be gone.

Brown, a Catholic in everything but theology, regrets the end of the Latin Mass and three years ago had Gregorian chants and medieval music at his wedding. But he is dubious about certain important dogmas - the incarnation, Heaven, etc. - and it is difficult to discern his political beliefs, beyond a weary acceptance of the fact that in this megastate, which is planted thick with factions fiercely protective of the status quo, whoever becomes governor at the sufferance of those factions can only nibble at the edges of problems. The state government, which is hemorrhaging red ink, is heavily dependent on income taxes, which are volatile, and thanks to the state's populist tradition, initiatives promoted by the public education lobby and other factions have restricted budget flexibility.

When as Oakland's mayor he launched a military school for low-income children, he endured protesters who were, he says, suffering "misplaced concreteness." These gray-bearded "remnants" of the anti-Vietnam War movement "were looking for a war to protest." He preserved the school, promoted condominiums "to bring disposable income" back to the inner city, increased the number of charter schools from three to 24, expanded the police force and subsidized the arts to make Oakland attractive.

BART helped, by making San Francisco an easy commute, although he says the construction of BART "devastated" Oakland for a while. The moral of the story, he says, is that politics requires a long "time horizon" - to fix California, 40 years. Meanwhile, he fumes that the proposed $50 million net to deter suicidal jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge is an unaffordable "luxury."

In "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," a novel Brown admires, Milan Kundera writes: "Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition." Brown, with Sacramento on his mind, happily heads back to Oakland, using a BART fare card purchased, he notes, with a senior citizen's discount.

George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

not_dolph 5 years, 8 months ago

Is Metta just a new identity for Cool / Spiderman? You be the judge. Multiple posts. Youtube links. OCD. See - http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/jul/31/firm_pays_fine_lack_certificate/#comments

0

bearded_gnome 5 years, 8 months ago

oh, I'd forgotten that big mess screedy! wow, that was really bad. complete mismanagement. if he does leave the AG post in CA ... then they should call up bill clinton, he once was AG of Arkansas, in fact he committed a rape while in that office. ***screedy, I vaguely recall there was some scandal with Governor snowflake and the california division of forestry, too. like maybe he'd severely cut their funding and serious fires resulted out of control for lack of personnel and equipment...not sure. also, I remember back then he was dating Linda Ronstadt too. boy look at how they've both turned out, too bad they didn't marry...but the voters should've had the right to mandate total birth control.

0

twaldaisy 5 years, 8 months ago

Parkay what planet are you on? Are you disappointed your dog and pony show got cancelled with Kline's demise?

0

metta 5 years, 8 months ago

it will be great to have him replace 'the governator'.....

0

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 8 months ago

"Feinstein is... paralyzing other possible Democratic candidates...."Yet... "Former Calif. governor may run again"The miracles of modern medicine... will the wonders never cease? "Brown, a Catholic in everything but theology...."So... he's a priest?

0

Ray Parker 5 years, 8 months ago

San Francisco police made no arrests as nearby naked men engaged in public displays of sodomy in an event called "Up Your Alley" where police were under Mayor Newsom's orders not to prosecute the inevitable public nudity and indecency at sodomite gatherings, lest interference with such vile depravities be deemed intolerant.The public perversions included variations of sodomy, whippings, shacklings and other sado-masochist acts, urination on others, and perhaps worse acts not photographed or documented.This is what Bilious Sebelius, AG SixSixSix, and their homosexual agenda will bring to your Kansas streets unless you act to stop them.

0

75x55 5 years, 8 months ago

Consider that Nixon was masterful in his international relations, and the extraction from the mess that Kennedy (D) and Lyndon "Tonkin Gulf fabricated incident" Johnson (D) had entrenched this country in was nearly accomplished during his administration. Had he been able to avoid the deplorable Watergate meltdown - who knows what would have come out of Vietnam. As for the millions dead in SEA - in addition to the fabricator of the Great Society (D) above, you must also give a big super-special thanks to the ascendant Democrats (and toadying Republicans) basking in their glory of bringing down the Great Satan Nixon, ratcheting down financial aid to the South, and finally cutting off all support for South Vietnam at the most critical point in 1974/5, when even the renowned Gen. Giap pointed out was about the last gasp push that the North would have taken.Something like a 'domino' effect of 'killing fields' seems to have followed in the region, if I recall correctly.... Seems that many of those 'millions' were, in reality, stabbed in the back.

0

dontcallmedan 5 years, 8 months ago

No, not a Nixon fan. Positive for California, but certainly not positive for the country and the world (see: millions killed in Southeast Asia) But a "phenomenally successful drive to be president in '68"? He got 43%. And you know what he felt he had to do to get reelected in '72. (see millions killed in Southeast Asia, Watergate....)

0

75x55 5 years, 8 months ago

Positive? Who then used the opportunity to rebuild his support and make a phenomenally successful drive to become president in '68, without the political baggage of being governor of a dysfunctional state? A big Nixon fan you are?

0

dontcallmedan 5 years, 8 months ago

75x55--Say what you will about Pat Brown, but he prevented Richard Nixon from being gov. That is a true positive.

0

screedposter 5 years, 8 months ago

Gnome, remember Brown's halt on construction? The lovely bridges to no-where in L.A. , the dam collapse, the mess that is the East Bay freeway system? Now they call themselves Progressives!

0

bearded_gnome 5 years, 8 months ago

Jerry Brown aka governor snowflake! wow. just what calif needs! a completely nutbag governor! pay cuts for state employees, massive budget deficit, and the inmates running the asylum! okay. that about does it!Brown, a Catholic in everything but theology, regrets the end of the Latin Mass and three years ago had Gregorian chants and medieval music at his wedding.But he is dubious about certain important dogmas - the incarnation, Heaven, etc. - and it is difficult to discern his political beliefs, beyond a wearyacceptance of the fact that in this megastate, which is planted thick with factions fiercely protective of the status quo, whoever becomes governor atno, brown truly is not a chatholic. I believe he has been [properly] refused comunion. his life and choices, besides his words, make it very clear.
finally, taking credit for his daddy getting BART in? sheeeeeeeeeeeeesh? no, not much. ***ronald reagan=last great governor of california. last great governor?

0

prospector 5 years, 8 months ago

"Governor Moonbeam" returns!The sequel will keep us in stitches.

0

preebo 5 years, 8 months ago

Brown has been far more successful as CA's AG, then he was as CA Gov.

0

75x55 5 years, 8 months ago

The Brown family - are they still legal in the state of California? Pat and Jerry were probably two of the most inept and destructive governors that state ever had. What's wrong with Kansas, indeed!

0

madmike 5 years, 8 months ago

Jerry Brown, almost as crazy ar Kucinich!

0

cato_the_elder 5 years, 8 months ago

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being" is also one of the greatest films of our time.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.