Jerry Brown releases forceful announcement speech

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Jerry Brown announced his candidacy for governor by posting a three-minute speech on You Tube that was forceful and direct, making the case that California is in crisis and needs experienced, knowledgeable leadership, not an anti-government outsider who’s new to politics.

“We tried that and it doesn’t work. We found out that not knowing is not good,” Brown said in a veiled swipe at both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and likely Republican nominee Meg Whitman, a former CEO with no political experience who has rarely even voted.

This speech was right on the money, and a sharp contrast to his recent Sierra Club speech, which I criticized here – demonstrating that when Brown gets his game face on, he’s still a formidable political pro.

“It’s no secret that Sacramento isn’t working today. Partisanship has become poisonous, political posturing has replaced leadership, and the budget: it’s always late, it’s always in the red, and it’s always wrong,” he said.

It was short on specifics, but that’s probably understandable at this stage. He talked about created a “leaner” state government, but also decried the cuts in education spending, and ended up staking out an interesting position on the critical issue of taxes, pledging, “No new taxes unless you the people vote for them.”

Perhaps Brown is just the guy to begin to persuade Californians that we can’t have it all, and that we’ll have to raise taxes on rich individuals and corporations if we want to do something about our underfunded infrastructure and declining public services. After all, he described our current situation as “a crisis” and said, “You deserve the truth and that’s what you’ll get from me.”

If he wins, this will likely be this septuagenarian’s last job in politics, one in which he’ll hopefully be willing to push for what needs to be done, even if that hurts his popularity. “At this stage in my life, I’m prepared to focus on nothing else but fixing the state I love.”   

 

 

Comments

You are seeing what you want to see, Steven. Amazingly, in spite of this, you can even admit that Brown is short on specifics. It is a pity that you are setting yourself up to be fooled again.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 11:51 am

So you prefer Meg Whitman, Matt? Unfortunatley, we have limited choices in the American electoral system. I wish it weren't so, and I've long advocated for a true multi-party system, but we're usually stuck with either the Democrat or Republican. That doesn't mean I'm being fooled now anymore than I was fooled by Obama, who I voted for after voicing serious concerns about his platform. And I still think Obama was the best choice, despite being disppointed in him now. Same thing with Brown: he's a far better choice than Whitman and he might even help the situation. But just because he's the only hope we have doesn't make me a fool if he doesn't do the right thing. Or do you have any better ideas, Matt?

Posted by steven on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

Steven,

Thanks for your response.

1.) Ideally, there would be another option (and, technically, there is one with the Green Party candidate who I think is equally unacceptable but that's beside the point). So, yes, it is a choice between a Democrat and a Republican.

2.) Is Jerry Brown better than Meg Whitman? Probably. But let's be realistic: at the end of the day, there will be no tangible changes that the poor and middle-class will experience under Brown just as he doesn't propose any tangible solutions during his campaign, relying on feel-good generalities and ambiguous insinuations in order to deceive people into thinking he will change things. He's a glorified con-man and the embodiment of a self-serving Rorschach Test. The most people can hope for is lip-service. Brown even says that he wants only the voters to decide about taxes which, quite literally, just passes the buck.

3.) As to how to handle an endorsement of a candidate, let me offer a novel idea: toss out the customary endorsement routine and lay out a declaration of principles, if you will. Instead of shoveling out the consummately timid, tired, woefully forgettable and enabling trope of how Jerry Brown is not ideal and how Meg Whitman is worse, why not lay out a series of demands people should have in a Democratic candidate and why Jerry Brown doesn't even begin to live up to them. Make a full-throated condemnation of his many egregious flaws and why he has not earned -- yes, EARNED -- anyone's support. I can guarantee that a declaration of principles will really make people think and question what we should expect in politician. And, ultimately, that is what's important. It will probably embarrass and enrage a lot of Democrats (most of all Brown because, underneath it all, it will remind him of his guilt and shame) but maybe that isn't such a bad thing. You shouldn't be afraid of success at the cost of asymptotic short-term gains. If the past 40 years have been any lesson, there is an ever-worsening crisis in confidence and expectations among people on the left. People have become desensitized to the utter inhumanity of their condition and the illusionary belief that the given Democrat is "far better" than the given Republican. This must change and such change will require a lot of uncomfortable risk-taking.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

Its easy to be subdued by this clown....remember the malathion fiasco in the late 70's. The was hack then as he is now. Vote Witman anybody but the current bunch. And if I could get rid of Boxer, Perata, Pelosi and Feinsten also I'd do it.

Posted by vrh on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

VRH, Arnold was an outsider and he's been a complete disaster, as Brown pointed out, and I think Whitman would be even worse. As least Arnold showed some interested in politics before running for governor -- Whitman hasn't demonstrated a clue how government even works, let alone how she would convince people to help her fix it. It's insane to elect people who are hostile to government to try to make it work well.

Matt, we often do write endorsements just like the one you recommend. We've even had politicians wonder whether we've really endorsed them, and had their opponents quote from our endorsements in campaign mailers. We share your belief in principles before politicians.

Posted by steven on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

Steven,

You can't play both sides against the middle -- it just pisses everyone off.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

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