NY Times on Gov. Brown

 

Sunday’s New York Times editorial page featured this column from Maureen Dowd based on an interview with Governor Jerry Brown in Anaheim.  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.

“I’m very happy,” he says, adding with a grin, “I have a wife.”

In the old days, he tried to get people to accept their limits when they didn’t think there were limits; now that they’ve learned the hard way that there are, his gospel sells well.

Once, he baked in existential estrangement, opportunistically tilting at authority figures — challenging the leaders of his party and bristling at the large shadow of his charming Irish Catholic dad, Pat Brown, California’s governor in the ’60s.

He knows there were sins of arrogance. “The first time, most of the legislators were all older than me,” recalls the governor, who is trim and energetic at 72. “I was on the warpath against corruption, and the politicians took it like I was against them, which to some extent —” He trails off, then picks up: “I thought I knew a lot, but obviously 30 years later, I know a hell of a lot more.”

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 dads’ hallmark programs.”

To wit, Republicans are steadfast in not allowing the plan to come before a vote of the people.  What are they afraid of? Actually Democracy at play?

  4 comments for “NY Times on Gov. Brown

  1. junior
    March 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    “What are they afraid of? Actually Democracy at play?”

    Last I heard Dan – the US and California were republics – has something changed?

    • March 8, 2011 at 8:42 am

      you mean the same folks that pushed the recall of Gray Davis in 2003 citing the power of the people? You can’t have it both ways here Junior. Republicans are scared to death that the voters are going to go over their heads and vote for a balanced and responsible way to right the state’s ship through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. No one is going to be happy about it but we’re not going to get there through spending cuts alone. Let the people decide.

      • junior
        March 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        “you mean the same folks that pushed the recall of Gray Davis in 2003 citing the power of the people?”

        We may have found some common ground here Dan. You may be surprised, but I agree with you that if the same process that was used to recall Davis is adhered to – (petition of and by the voters) then by all means have your vote for higher taxes.

  2. junior
    March 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    “.. as I read Brown’s quotes, I constantly wonder, “why didn’t Arnold say this? Why didn’t Arnold do this?”

    Maybe it was the $140 million the CTA spent to quash Arnold’s reforms.

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