Sunday’s New York Times editorial page featured this column from Maureen Dowd based on an interview with Governor Jerry Brown in Anaheim.Â Dowd’s wit and insight certainly come through, but as I read Brown’s quotes, I constantly wonder, “why didn’t Arnold say this? Why didn’t Arnold do this?”
Some excerpts from the inteview: ”
The shock of dark hair is gone, but Jerry Brown is still Jerry Brown. The prickliness, bluntness, questioning, calculating. That against-the-grain attitude; disdain for materialism, emptiness and politics as usual; that Jesuit-Buddhist outlook.
And yet, Jerry Brown is very different. The Howard Beale rants have become amiable riffs. Instead of tossing off insults, as when he called the Clintons the Bonnie and Clyde of American politics, he offers dry wit. He is less coiled.
â€œIâ€™m very happy,â€ he says, adding with a grin, â€œI have a wife.â€
In the old days, he tried to get people to accept their limits when they didnâ€™t think there were limits; now that theyâ€™ve learned the hard way that there are, his gospel sells well.
Once, he baked in existential estrangement, opportunistically tilting at authority figures â€” challenging the leaders of his party and bristling at the large shadow of his charming Irish Catholic dad, Pat Brown, Californiaâ€™s governor in the â€™60s.
He knows there were sins of arrogance. â€œThe first time, most of the legislators were all older than me,â€ recalls the governor, who is trim and energetic at 72. â€œI was on the warpath against corruption, and the politicians took it like I was against them, which to some extent â€”â€ He trails off, then picks up: â€œI thought I knew a lot, but obviously 30 years later, I know a hell of a lot more.â€
And Dowd’s key observation appears in the middle of her column:
“If the legislators approve his plan, a mix of spending cuts and tax extensions, the big test will be a referendum on it in June. If his plan passes, California could become the laboratory for how to do things right, the anti-Wisconsin. It is remarkable to watch the governors on two coasts, Brown and Andrew Cuomo, both sons of iconic liberal governors, boldly go against the grain to do what works today. They are eliminating or reforming many of their dadsâ€™ hallmark programs.”
To wit, Republicans are steadfast in not allowing the plan to come before a vote of the people.Â What are they afraid of? Actually Democracy at play?