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Jerry Brown For Governor

| 35 Comments

Honestly, I wanted to break ranks on this one. I wanted to support someone who would try and break the stranglehold that public sector unions have on California politics, and with the bulk of Brown's funds coming from those unions...I'm not optimistic that he's the one.

And if eMeg had been...well, half the candidate that Chris Christie was in New Jersey (...rimshot!) I'd have been doorknocking for her.

But you know what? You need to be able to govern to be governor. And that starts with a basic ability to communicate in public. And her flat inability to shove aside this idiotic charge about her domestic help is the nail in the coffin for her.

It's not the issue - the issue is (as I just said) idiotic. But can you imagine Christie confronted with this?
"What? You're asking me why after I paid my maid three times the minimum wage, checked her paperwork, paid taxes on her - and she turns out to have defrauded me - I'm the bad guy? Next question."
Sorry, Meg, but you must be this tall to go on this ride...and you're not.

-

35 Comments

You should just move to another state, Brown is unlikely to do anything useful, he's just another hanger on. I thought his dad did well, but Jerry is a zero.

California is pretty much f**ked and I for one don't want to see a dime of bailout headed that way. The state has great natural resources, great climate, fertile farmland, and is the doorway to the Pacific. The only reason it has problems is incompetent government and a deluded populace. Until it gets its act together and gives up the drugs and the booze there is no sense in offering help.

But if you do move, please do the rest of us a favor and stop voting for Democrats. Yeah, there is always a good reason, some minor flaw in the other candidate, something comforting about treading the well worn path, something about being a liberal, but it is all rationalization. The party sucks.

Not that I think eMeg is an exemplary candidate, but you might want to contemplate the prospect of a gerrymandered, left dominated CA legislature with no counterbalance in the state house. Again, not that Ahnuld has been a great check since he retired in office, but consider where undivided left rule has taken us on the national scene, and contemplate the further ruination that could occur to an already ravaged CA economy.

I too wish we could have a Chris Christie of our own, but you go to war with the candidate you've got. I'm not voting for Meg, I'm voting against Jerry and the D's.

And chuck is right.

So, if he wins, how long until the inevitable "I can't believe I voted for this idiot because his opponent was falsely charged with wrongdoing, and didn't say exactly the right things at the right times in response" post? I realize that we are all (self included) more rationalizing than rational, but this is pretty weak tea even considering that.

No way I'm voting for any politician who gets one cent from government unions.

Arnold the Barbarian failed to bring California back on an even keel, but he tried.

I think Meg Whitman would try too, maybe with no greater success, but what possible hope can Jerry Brown represent? Even to the far left? Even if massive federal bailouts for the union ruling class were politically possible after November, he's not the man to get them.

> Arnold the Barbarian failed to bring California back on an even keel, but he tried.

Ahnuld flailed around for one election, overextended himself trying to get through four initiatives at once (not that they were bad) against the opposition of the public employees' unions, exhausted what political capital he had in the attempt, and ran up the RINO\\\\ surrender flag when he failed. Just take a look at how the CA budget has bloated compared to inflation and population growth. Who was holding the veto pen while that happened?

I don't regret voting for him - Davis would have been even worse - but the barbarian turned out to be a girly-man.

Jeff, the key issue for me is simply that Meg can't communicate in public - on her feet or on script.

Since a significant part of the job involves helping build public opinion, it requires the ability to stand and deliver.

I'm not happy that Jerry has been chosen on the other side. But the job is political, and that implies a base level of political skills to succeed.

Marc

Marc, assuming that you believe this article is on point - how do you see things changing while putting the same old people (literally, in Brown's case) in charge? There's a name for that, you know.

Give me real people with all their warts, and keep your professional pols - please!

Tim, I get it, I really do. But - just as you'd insist on some basic qualifications before you'd hire me as CEO of a portfolio company (being a bright nice guy isn't quite enough) - there are some basic qualifications for high political office.

The two key ones are: a demonstrated skill at communicating and message management; and (for the executive branch) a demonstrated skill at consensus and coalition building.

I don't see either one of those in Meg. You have more of them then she does, as do I. That's just not gonna get the problems solved. Think Jesse Ventura.

Sadly, to me this race is kind of an "Obama vs. Arnold" retread grudge match - the Machine Democrat who just might have enough sway with the left if only he wanted to use it, vs. the Outsider who might just reform things if only he could defeat the Machine. Except we've seen that movie before: the wholly owned leftist won't rock the boat, and the inexperienced outsider will get coopted by the establishment. (At least Whitman isn't married to a Democrat. :-)

I don't really expect anything substantial from either of those two. When the big crunch hits (and it will), they'll both flounder and fail. I guess you'll vote for the guy who (you think) looks governatorial. I'll vote against the establishment candidate. We both have our priorities.

Cheers
-- perry

I looked at Jerry Brown's website, and what a surprise, it's full of bong water about "green" jobs and "green" technology - all of the stuff that has made Obama the man he is today. (Though I note with approval that he is not weasel enough to say "climate change" instead of "global warming".)

Lot of big talk about "high tech" and manufacturing jobs, though firms would have to be crazy to build in a state where they might have to buy electricity on the spot market, and where carbon is not the stuff of life but the work of Satan.

No recognition that California faces any challenge other than the current general fiscal crisis caused by "Wall Street financiers". Apart from that, the world is freaking beautiful.

Big plans for education. The teacher's unions can look forward to another three inches of frosting on their big ugly cake of shit.

I really, really want to hope for something here, so how about A.L. goes back to work for Brown, and convinces him to provide huge tax breaks for the development of thorium reactors? (Possibly by pretending to be an alien from the future, like that guy in The Day the Earth Stood Still.) Huge networks of tiny thorium reactors will cover a multitude of sins!

Tocqueville was correct, when a majority discover they can pick their neighbors pocket, our democracy will be over. 47 % pay no taxes, indeed many receive the "earned tax refund" The candidates in both Ca. & NY are signs we are nearing the cusp. I will be holding my nose when I vote for Pallone.

A thing I never understood about the whole "green jobs" thing is why it is independent of the laws of the market. Even if AGW is real and massive greenifying has to happen, we'd buy green gear from China or other low-cost manufacturing places and we'd use cheap illegal workers to install it, just as we do with everything else. There may be a bit of R&D in Silicon Valley, but there's no more reason to build a factory in CA to build green gear than any other kind of gear; container ships and freight trains can move windmills and other greenstuff just as easily as anything else.

Foo: I'll add another question on top of your set. How many 'green' businesses are actually adding value compared to readily available alternatives? That's getting lost in the combination of hype and rent seeking. As both a venture and retail investor, I have trouble with the notion of putting capital into something that often leaves its customers less well off. Something that cannot continue will eventually end...

Jeff, the key issue for me is simply that Meg can't communicate in public - on her feet or on script.

This is a touchy-feely issue, and has pretty much nothing to do with being able to run a large organization. Sorry, Marc. You're just wrong on this one, and it's your gut leading you astray when your head should know better.

"there's no more reason to build a factory in CA to build green gear than any other kind of gear; container ships and freight trains can move windmills and other greenstuff just as easily as anything else."

This is true and goes to the heart of an issue: in order to sustain a large middle class we have to build stuff, manufacture stuff. [That's a premise and I'm willing to consider alternative views] As we've eroded our manufacturing base we've eroded the middle class. An eroded middle class buys less stuff and fewer services, . . . which leads to less and less manufacturing, and a smaller and smalle middle class in a downward spiral. The Republican idea is that lower taxes and less regulation will reverse this trend. But what if this is a false assumption? What's the evidenc? Can we really compete with third world labor prices, taxation, and lack of regulation? Do we really want to? If not, what's the alternative?

We could stand to have a more reasoned dialogue on these questions than we are being served up by the political machines.

Phil, I flatly don't agree. I should have clarified as 'public' - there are leaders of private orgs who are bad communicators (but they are few). But Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs in large part because of the mystique he creates around Apple.

And, again, I'll hold up Jesse Ventura as an example of what happens to a well-meaning naif who gets elected to high office.

Marc

So you would prefer a man whose ill intentions are listed on his website?

Now, I will agree that I don't see how Meg Whitman's experience prepares her for politics. No doubt five or ten years as mayor of a small town would be a good thing for her to have in her resume. But to compare her to Ventura is really a stretch.

The two key ones are: a demonstrated skill at communicating and message management; and (for the executive branch) a demonstrated skill at consensus and coalition building.

Nothing at all about their actual policies? So it doesn't matter what they try to do once in office, only that they're good at it. No wonder you vote for fast talking con men.

Personally I will always vote for an ineffective with the right policies vs. an effective with the wrong policies. Better to fail trying to do good than succeed at doing damage.

Marc, I think it's odd that you wish for Chris Christie in one hand, and a coalition builder in the other. Pick one, please; they aren't the same thing at all.

"Coalition building" is another term for logrolling. It's why Cali is so FUBAR right now.

Seriously, I respect your intellect too much to believe that you're voting for Brown based on reason.

The thing about Christie is that he's an effective asskicker. He's effective because he's a) a great communicator; and b) he's about to mobilize public opinion sufficiently to build coalitions - those that agree with him are joined by those who fear the consequences of disagreeing with him - to get things done.

I can't in a gazillion years imagine eMeg having anything like that kind of effectiveness. So it's a bet; odds of eMeg being effective in moving toward what she says she wants vs. odds of Moonbeam being able to wiggle out of the grasp of the public sector unions. Pay your money and make your choice.

Marc

I disagree on Christie. He's simply doing what has to be done, and not playing politics. He's leading. His persona is helping him, but only because of the course of action he is pursuing. The rest is window dressing.

So far as your "bet" is concerned, look around the table, Marc; if you can't tell who the mark is, it's you. And friend, if you're betting on Brown to do more than give lip service to the idea of bucking the unions, you're the mark. You got suckered pretty badly two years ago. That time you had a number of decent reasons, not least of which was "how much worse could he be"? This time, however, you know what you're getting. This is absolutely a case of doing the same thing, while expecting a different result.

I think it was Molly Ivins who coined the term "the evil of two lessers". Well, that may be a good description of the choice you have, but it doesn't excuse pretending that Jerry Brown is anything other than a confirmed doctrinaire leftist. Vote for Brown, and you'll get what you deserve - good and hard.

I disagree completely. If you're driving in the wrong direction which ends in a cliff, do you want the more effective driver that can take the car faster?

Ideas matter, certainly to the people who believe them. Jerry Brown will be an anchor that takes California straight to the bottom because the ideas he believe in economically are bankrupt.

Whitman might be ineffective, but at least she won't be actively pouring gasoline on the fire.

California has two absolutely critical problems right now- out of control spending, and chasing out or destroying business. The two are linked. The more wealth you destroy the more burdens you put on the government and the less they have to pay for it.

What will Brown do? What's in his playbook? And what will that mean for California?

Those answers are deadly obvious, because Brown is a well known quantity. Hoping for a miracle is well and good, but betting on one is reckless. At least let Whitman tread water for you, because Brown will make things much, much worse.

Do you really want someone who is effective... at destroying your state? Being able to communicate, motivate, and hence govern is certainly NOT the most important requirement for an executive... in fact its flat out counterproductive if that executive is intent on destructive policies.

On the other hand, good ideas have a momentum of their own in times like these. I'd argue this is the best time to push somebody that isn't a good politician, because people are far more willing to back tough choices. Whitman doesn't need to explain to Californians why the unions need to be reigned in... everybody knows or will soon enough, because its an inescapable fact. She needs to actually be willing to do it, which is the critical difference between the two.

If the bet is Whitman being able to execute the right thing, versus Brown (after a lifetime of being Jerry Brown and all that goes with that) suddenly coming to Jesus, I'm sorry but you'd have to be a fool to bet on Brown. We're in Charlie Brown field goal kicking territory here.

Hope is not a plan.

We're in Charlie Brown field goal kicking territory here.

Thread winner.

Phil - that "leading" thing is what I'm talking about. It requires communication; Christie's a great communicator (hence winning) Meg is demonstrably a crummy communicator (hence losing electorally and if elected, likely to be incapable of getting anything done).

Brown's a funny guy. I worked for the State during his Administration and he was far from a doctrinaire Democrat, and he's not been a doctrinaire Dem as mayor of Oakland (although not a brilliant Mayor, in my view).

The issue isn't Brown - I doubt that he'll be a great Governor, but he might be an adequate one. Meg just isn't showing me anything that looks like she's up to the job.

Marc

that "leading" thing is what I'm talking about. It requires communication.

No sir, it does not. Communication can be a byproduct of leadership, because you've attracted followers who understand you. What you've discussed so far is nothing more than demagoguery. It's useful to politicians, but it's just. Not. Leadership.

Besides, you're focusing on delivery, not content. Christie's delivery isn't the meat. It's just the gravy. His tactics are why he is winning. He'd be doing almost as well if he had the speaking skills of W. Not to take anything away from him, but he's also blessed with a particularly buffoonish set of opponents in the persons of the leadership of the NJ teacher's unions. In fact, I surmise that he chose them as his initial target precisely because he knew that they would respond to his opening gambit stupidly.

At any rate, we're arguing past each other. Mark Buehner did a better job than I did of laying out the competing decision theories, and why yours is a sure fire loser. Brown is Lucy; you're Charlie Brown.

Go on, kick the ball. But don't you dare ask for assistance or sympathy when Jerry just continues spending more money that you don't have.

Phil, I'd love an example - a single example - of a big-city mayor or governor who succeeded by 'attracting like minded people' without communicating and shaping public perception?

You say propaganda, I say politics - or at least Aristotle says so.

Marc

Christie is the example, Marc. He's succeeding so far not because he lays down righteous smackdown at public meetings. That's just red meat. He's succeeding because he has a plan. If he wasn't the guy with the better answers, he'd just be a fat loudmouth. You'd be running him down as a reactionary, most likely.

Regardless - even if we assume arguendo that this portion of your thesis is correct, you're still charging at the football. I am morally certain that you will end up flat on your back. Again. Seriously, how can you follow a post titled "You f*cked up, you trusted him" - making exactly this point about trusting a doctrinaire leftist to be a centrist once he cons you into voting for him - with an argument that you're going to trust an even more thoroughly proven doctrinaire leftist to be a centrist? It's just mind-boggling that you could stake out these two diametrically opposed positions within a week of each other.

"inability to shove aside this idiotic charge about her domestic help"

'Shove aside?' How, exactly? Get the media to stop talking about it? She's a Republican, so fat chance of that short of having every member of the fourth estate who brings it up killed. It doesn't matter what she says on the matter, from no comment to some scathing argument worthy of Cicero, they're not going to let it go. Legally? It's a nuisance suit, but the courts will deal with it in their own sweet time, there's no rushing that.

I hope you have other nails for that coffin, because 'insufficiently glib' isn't a nail, it's a reed -- and a weak one at that. Or maybe a straw that you're grasping at. (Not to mention having heard Brown stammer and fumble his way through the portion of the debate I caught, communication isn't a core strength of his, either).

Achillea, it's funny; I just went to a PJ O'Rourke event where he talked about politics and his new book "Don't Vote, I Just Encourages The Bastards."

He had a long paragraph that I wish I'd written down about how the central job of a politician was to explain things to people in order to move opinions and thus get things done.

Meg had a chance to brush this aside - if she couldn't stop the media from talking about it to show it as insignificant (and thus embarrass the media). She couldn't do it; her team couldn't do it, and neither of them demonstrated competence at this very basic task.

Marc

Marc-

When people like you are willing to hide their eyes from the truth, we have no hope. Do you really believe that Jerry Brown will stand up to the unions and save this state? Really? No. You HOPE he will but you know better, based on Brown's entire career. Dang, he was the one who signed the bill allowing public employee unions.

The big question now is when to sell my house and get out of here. Do i wait until the election and risk the market collapsing (more than it already has) or do we hope for a little rally we can sell into? When the State goes bankrupt, we are going to get creamed. We being those who actually have a job and pay for all this monkey business. Especially someone like me who can do his job anywhere and is not geographically tied to the area. What reason can there be to stay and fight??

i am going to miss you and all my friends but how long do we stand on the Titantic's deck, hoping for salvation? We cannot protect those who we love if we are being dragged underwater too. But the Danzigers will always have a place to stay on my ranch. ;-)

Mike A speaks for me as well. I'm viewing this election in CA as an indicator for how soon (not whether) to pack up and get out. The election results elsewhere will be salutary in indicating which new locations may be relatively safe for someone who doesn't want to be either a member of the political class or a moocher.

There's the brilliant communicator who deserves to be Governor of California.

A.L. makes me think of someone who has to hire someone for a town police force and has to decide between the Keystone Kops and The Joker. Naturally, he hires The Joker because The Joker is obviously more competent. What could go wrong?

P.S. I don't agree that Whitman is a Keystone Kop, I am just trying to express it A.L.'s point of view.

Yeah, I saw that. Was actually going to update my post; if you look closely at the piece, you see that Brown was calling the police unions to hassle them about endorsing Whitman - because she agreed to exempt them from pension reform.

Brown, OTOH, seems to be doing the right thing. From your linked article:
Brown discussed the pressure he was under to refuse to reduce public safety pensions or lose law enforcement endorsements to Whitman. Months earlier, Whitman had agreed to exempt public safety officials from key parts of her pension reform plan.
Interesting, no?

Marc

So now it's about policy?

I basically agree with Phil Smith's take in the other post so I won't go on about it here.

I am distinctly not claiming Smith/Whitman are obviously right on this. It's debatable. I will also concur that it is interesting in terms of making a voting choice. But it's not among what you listed as the key features of the better candidate.

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