If Jerry Brown Can’t Do It – Time to Blow Things Up

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Brown-at-Bistro-33Jerry Brown leads Democratic Sweep in California –

Democrats were licking in their wounds on Tuesday night, but frankly it could have been worse – a lot worse.  Republicans took the House, but Democrats have narrowly held the Senate.  The worst of the Tea Party candidates in Delaware and Nevada went down to defeat.  Even in Alaska the Tea Party candidate finished behind the write-in.

It was a different story in California.  The AP and most networks called it early for Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, and then watched nervously as the Senate Race remained tight until late, with Fiorina at one point holding a very narrow lead.  But the exit polls were right and the projections held.

 

As anyone who follows California politics knows, if the Republicans are not well ahead early, they are in trouble because Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Alameda are heavy Democratic strongholds, and they are usually the last to be counted.

By the end of the night, Democrats were poised to sweep the major offices in California.  Jerry Brown was up by nearly one million votes and held nearly a 13-point lead.  And it gets worse from there, as the Democrats won handily down the line except in the Attorney General race.

That was the one race that many believed the Republican could win.  There are several reasons for that.  First, Kamala Harris was perceived as a weak candidate.  She not only was very liberal, a strong opponent of the death penalty, but her office was plagued by numerous ethical problems.

Second, a lot of liberals in San Francisco were leery of her, recalling her record for failing to disclose exculpatory evidence and other problems with her crime lab.  The First Amendment Coalition nailed her office last week for failure to turn over public records to Steve Cooley’s campaign.

Third, Steve Cooley was a moderate Republican, well-respected in Los Angeles county, and thus he could eat into the Democrats’ traditional areas of support both in LA County and even in San Francisco.

Indeed, at around 11 pm, he called it for himself and gave his victory speech.  But Kamala Harris was not ready to concede.  (I should note that both Whitman and Fiorina likewise held out, but they have clearly lost).

“We’re trending upward, and I do believe we will be victorious,” Kamala Harris said at around 11 pm.

Overnight, she has taken the lead and built it to nearly 50,000 votes with 94 percent reporting (now over 50,000 with 95 percent reporting as of 5:40 am).  Still too close to call, but it looks like she may eke out a slight victory and give Democrats a complete sweep.

The propositions were a more mixed bag, and I am clearly disappointed that Proposition 19 went down, although more narrowly than it appeared earlier last night.  And Proposition 26 passed, though it will likely get challenged and thrown out on a variety of statutory and constitutional grounds.

The biggest one in the long term may be Proposition 25.  The sponsors of that bill were extremely clever this time, by excluding the raising of taxes from the measure.  But it reduces the requirements to pass a budget down to a majority vote.  They cannot raise taxes, but they can pass a budget.

And that leads me to my commentary which is to say that California is broken. 

Yesterday, I closed my piece on the Tea Party avoiding California by stating, “Barring the unforeseen, California will have an opportunity to move forward with a new political vision, and that is something worth watching.”

That prompted some of the commentators on the right to object.  One wrote, “That is so laughable on so many fronts. Move forward with a new political vision? Yeah right. The Democrats have controlled the State legislature for the past 14 years so what’s new about that?”

He concluded, “The public unions are jumping for joy.”

He missed the point.  The public unions might be jumping for joy, but who cares?  A Democrat like Jerry Brown is far more likely to gain support for pushing the kind of pension reform we need anyway.  Only Nixon could go to China, only a Democrat can achieve meaningful pension reform and Jerry Brown’s plan is a good one.

But the bigger point he missed is that this is for California.  In 2003, in response to a state fiscal crisis, the voters recalled the ineffectual Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The actor turned politician showed from the beginning that a political neophyte was not what this state needed.  He was a disaster as governor.

I am not talking ideologically, where he was a middle-of-the-roader on most issue.  But he lacked the ability to be a broker.  He was too bombastic and unable to forge compromise.  Moreover, he had no credibility in his own party and they would not even support his budgets.

In short, he lacked the political skills to bring together disparate parties and he lacked the capital in his own party to get them to support his initiatives.  The result was that during the worst economic period in recent history, California was unable to govern.  It took record times to pass budgets, which did not solve the problem and failed to even balance the budget, except on paper.

So, instead of turning to another outsider, the voters elected the most inside person they could imagine.  Jerry Brown has been in government for 40 years.  He served 8 as Governor.  He has been at the local level, the state level, and he has even run for President.  He has had more political lives than a cat.

In the 1970s he was a brash young player on the scene, often partying it up, living in his station wagon, closing down the bars.  He embodied the excesses of the seventies in his personal lifestyle.  Now in his seventies, he is married, and while he still talks from the gut, he knows how to govern.

He has a still-strong Democratic majority.  And now he has an additional tool of not needing two-thirds of the legislature to pass a budget.

The only thing he cannot do is raise taxes.  But this will be his government and his legacy.  And the voters can finally hold someone accountable who is accountable.  There will be no shared blame and no shared credit.

The more I watch government, the more I realize that democracy cannot work well in gridlock.  The voters like gridlock.  They envision cooperation between the parties.  But then they reward obstruction.  That is what happened at the national level.  The voters were angry at the ineffectiveness of the Democrats, so they made it impossible for the Democrats to accomplish anything for the next two years.  That makes little sense and it rewards the obstructionists.

California is at a crossroads because if Jerry Brown, with his experience and a strong Democratic majority, cannot fix the problems in Sacramento, no one can.  That is not to argue that Jerry Brown is the best candidate or some sort of a great leader, but he of all people should know how to get things done, and if he cannot, then it is time to blow up the government and start a new one.

He inherits huge problems and he cannot solve them all.  But he can work on changes to the budget that do not include raising taxes.  He can restructure government.  He can fix the pension system.  He can eliminate waste.  He can restore education.  He can fix the corrections system.  There are many things he can now do, because of his Democratic majority and the voters who have given him one more tool to succeed.

And if he cannot do it, no one can.  That is what the next two years holds.  If the Democrats overreach, then they will lose.  There is no longer going to be partisan gerrymandering and safe seats.  While it is true that state demographic patterns will make a lot of safe districts anyway, more competitive districts mean a better government.

Now is the time.  So again I close with, “Barring the unforeseen, California will have an opportunity to move forward with a new political vision, and that is something worth watching.”  But this time I add that, by that I mean a political vision in which government can be governed by the victors and the voters can then hold them accountable.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

 

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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57 thoughts on “If Jerry Brown Can’t Do It – Time to Blow Things Up”

  1. Dr. Wu

    I tend to agree–Jerry is the one to do it and that is why I voted for him.

    We will most likely get gridlock in Washington. I hope some tea baggers have the gumption to proposed actual cuts but I think the days of Federal austerity have not come…quite yet.

    But I think Jerry is going to be more draconian than most people think. We’ll see soon. California lead the country in terms of fiscal irresponsibility; we now need to lead it back the other way.

  2. rusty49

    The public unions helped Brown get elected and now you really think he’s going to stick it to them?

    Fat chance.

    David, what did you mean by:
    “But one thing he can do is get non-tax raises done”?

  3. rusty49

    Overall I’m very happy with last night’s election results. With the Republicans in charge of the House they can put an end to Obama’s misguided agenda which according to the polls a majority of Americans are unhappy with.
    Had a few setbacks, we still have to put up with the very unpopular Harry Reid and California voters chose to stay on the same track to insolvency but nationally it was a Republican romp.

  4. davistownie

    [quote]California voters chose to stay on the same track to insolvency but nationally it was a Republican romp. [/quote]

    rusty, if in two years we are worse off nationally (hard to imagine) and California is on the road to solvency will you recognize it? or are you as blind to your own interests as the rest of the tea bagging nutcases?

  5. Perezoso

    Give Jerry Brown and the Bay Area DINOs–the Suits!, like that little phony Mark Leno–a year or so, before reaching for the notes to Bakunin. I doubt much will change, tho Brown will probably help out his public employee union cronies (he has to–they own him). At the same time, Brown did sound nearly conservative with his no new taxes schtick (as he has in the past). Overturning Prop 13 would be one authentic progressive tactic–like make all the coastside millionaires pay the taxes they should pay on their properties.

  6. rusty49

    Davistownie, I’ll respond to your slur of a post by saying I don’t belong to the Tea Party even though I do agree with many of their ideas.

    The House Republicans can now put forward new laws that would help the national situation but will the Democrat run Senate and the veto capable President want to now work with the House? Obama I’m sure will say it’s partisanship as he and the Senate block the Republican House’s ideas but remember it was Obama who said “elections have consequences”.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty: I was trying to say that they won’t be able to raise taxes, but they can make changes to the budget that don’t involve the raising of taxes.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    BTW, interesting piece on which polls did best. Field and LA Times performed best in California, Rasmussen which tends to be more Republican leaning performed the worst.

    [quote]Those pre-election polls divided into two noticeably different camps.

    One group, which included the L.A. Times/USC poll and the Field Poll, projected hefty wins by Democratic candidates Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer. The other, which included polls by the Rasmussen organization and Public Policy Polling, showed both Democrats likely to win, but by much smaller margins. Some showed the Senate race in particular getting closer.

    Republican candidates and strategists were, of course, eager to draw attention to the surveys in the latter group. The Republican candidate for governor, Meg Whitman, directly attacked the Times/USC poll in several speeches, saying incorrectly that Times polls always favored candidates the paper had endorsed.

    In the end, Brown won by 12 points and Boxer by nine. The poll that came closest to nailing the results: The L.A. Times/USC survey, which had projected a 13-point margin for Brown and an eight-point margin for Boxer. Field, which had projected margins of 10 points for Brown and eight for Boxer, came in a close second.

    The worst record? The Rasmussen surveys, which were conducted for Fox News and Rasmussen’s own survey website. Those polls projected a Boxer margin of three points and a Brown win by four.[/quote]

    Source ([url]http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2010/11/pollsters-california-hotly-contested-election-correctly.html[/url])

  9. Perezoso

    Start the trial of Schwarznegger, ASAP. That’s what should be on the agenda.

    Then seize the assets of Silicon billionaires (regardless of political affiliation). Larry Ellison, e-Meg, Steve McJobs,et al– perps

    Thats how to start the par-tay.

  10. Rifkin

    [i]Overnight, (Harris) has taken the lead and built it to nearly 50,000 votes with 94 percent reporting (now over 50,000 with 95 percent reporting as of 5:40 am). Still too close to call, but it looks like she may eke out a slight victory and give Democrats a complete sweep.[/i]

    From the Sec of State website: [quote] 97.1% ( 24,123 of 24,845 ) precincts partially or fully reporting as of November 3, 2010, 9:06 a.m.

    Kamala D. Harris (Dem) 3,246,146 46.1%
    Steve Cooley (Rep) 3,215,104 45.6% [/quote] That’s a lead of 21,042 votes. It usually takes a few weeks to sort out all of the ballots for voters who went to the wrong precinct or voted provisionally because their names were not on the voter roll. But unless the 2.9% not reporting yet are from more conservative districts in the state, it seems unlikely Harris will lose.

  11. Frankly

    “only a Democrat can achieve meaningful pension reform and Jerry Brown’s plan is a good one.”

    Wow, I think this is stunning in its naiveté. How does Brown deal with pension reform after all the backroom deals made with the unions? How does he get reelected next term if he pisses off the unions after having alienating the all the non-liberal state voters by sucking up to the union dollar? His best strategy will be to give the unions their candy while hoping the national economy improves. It won’t soon enough for him to benefit from it.

    If I were a liberal/progressive, I would be very, very nervous about what just happened. CA Democrats have no more scapegoats. They have the full spotlight and now they have to perform.

    It is perplexing to almost all the political commentators that California seems not to have caught the wave of incumbent anger that swept the country and has been embodied in the Tea Party movement. This is fascinating given the fiscal mess we are in. It is also fascinating that voters rejected two Fortune 500 woman CEOs at a time when the biggest problems facing the state and the country are the lack of private sector jobs. Brown and Boxer are career politicians with zero experience in the private sector. Not to diminish the job performance requirements for being a US senator or CA governor, but neither Brown nor Boxer could have accomplished what Meg and Carly accomplished. The job of CEO of a large and fast-moving tech company has got to be one of the most challenging executive roles. Looking at what Carly accomplished at HP… a company with a dysfunctional entitled-employee culture, and a hostile Board of Directors… is impressive on its own not considering the fact that she is a woman in an industry where few women ascend to any executive level.

    Another bit of wisdom we can take away from this election. NOW is now easily recognized as Democrat Party tool and no longer an organization focused on the advancement of women. Otherwise, NOW would have come out in full support of Meg and Carly… two women that had achieved the top rung of the male-dominated corporate ladder.

  12. davistownie

    [quote]It is also fascinating that voters rejected two Fortune 500 woman CEOs at a time when the biggest problems facing the state and the country are the lack of private sector jobs. Brown and Boxer are career politicians with zero experience in the private sector.[/quote]

    this logic always astounds me. why would we want someone who has private enterprise experience to fix a public sector problem?? Government budgets are a very different beast than corporate budgets (where bottom line is all that matters). I can understand not liking a particular politician’s position, but why not look for an experienced politician with views that you do like.

    Someone like Megzilla should start smaller (lt. Governor, state senator maybe, learn the ropes). with some credibility she could then then run for a big office. We saw with Arnold how much real government experience is needed to get anything done.

  13. Frankly

    “this logic always astounds me. why would we want someone who has private enterprise experience to fix a public sector problem?? “

    Was this the design of our representative form of government… that government becomes so complex that we need to elect career professional technocrats to political leadership?

    It astounds me that more smart people don’t understand the problems inherent in this thinking.

    And, unless you have worked for a hyper-competitive private technology company, or have some insider’s knowledge about what it requires in human capability to lead one, you would not know how silly it sounds to favor any career politician over a Meg or a Carly. We need capable administrators and staff to handle the details. Our elected officials are supposed to be the leaders.

    Now, I agree that California is a mess of special interests and maybe it does take insiders knowledge to navigate it. However, if you understand leadership best practices, those too close to the details often fail because they cannot step back to paint a compelling vision of shared goals. This is exactly Obama’s problem. Encyclopedia brain does translate to being a capable leader.

    Using the point you make, every CEO should be promoted from within from the pool of most knowledgeable employees. God forbid you invest in a startup and select you CEO using that logic.

  14. rusty49

    Davistownie

    How much real government experience did your beloved leader and community oranizer Obama have before he ran for president? And don’t give me that he was a senator because he was running for president full time during those two years.

  15. Perezoso

    Not to diminish the job performance requirements for being a US senator or CA governor, but neither Brown nor Boxer could have accomplished what Meg and Carly accomplished

    You mean like Goldman-sachs insider deals, corporate perqs worth thousands, standing on stage with Cheney, Palin and McCain, etc? Or spending 150 mil or so for kicks on ads? E-meg might have just donated to charity and done a lot more good. Democrats have definite shortcomings but those hags would have been worse, far worse.

    Another Bay Area DINO–goldie boy Gavin Newsome, about as democratic as his pals Ahhnuld and Maria. Gavie’ll probably arrange some kick-ass Nob Hill par-ties though.

  16. Frankly

    “Nor vice versa, apparently”

    We will never know what these two skilled ex CEOs might have accomplished. True though that running a successful campaign can be considered a test of executive capability. However, CA is unique in that the Democrat-Union political power has had years to be refined and perfected. Even the popular Arnold got kicked down by a well-oiled union attack against his initiative maneuver to cut spending

  17. Frankly

    “Or spending 150 mil or so for kicks on ads?”

    Brown Spot and Boxer Shorts didn’t need to spend their own money, since the unions did it for them. Unions can hide their contributions of money and manpower supporting an election, but most of what I read says that they probably exceeded what Meg and Carly spent on each of their races.

    Too bad the unions didn’t use these resources to help all the unemployed.

  18. Perezoso

    Even with the union support Brown’s totals were probably under 30 million or so (and it’s disclosed. Google ‘er!), about the same as Boxer. And the typical Teabagger’s belief that executives dedicated to corporate power and the private sector will be helping out the unemployed–that’s about as loony as like hearing Rev. Hagee chant from the Book of Revelation– was it the Book of Mormonics– at the Beck rally from a few weeks back. Holy Bloody Red Heifer, ratman

  19. davistownie

    Jeff, read the article that you linked and you will find that the union money referenced was for the 2009/2010 election nation wide, and was still less than meg spent. Union money spent to elect Jerry Brown was far less than she spent on her campaign.

  20. AeroDeo

    [quote]And, unless you have worked for a hyper-competitive private technology company, or have some insider’s knowledge about what it requires in human capability to lead one, you would not know how silly it sounds to favor any career politician over a Meg or a Carly. We need capable administrators and staff to handle the details. Our elected officials are supposed to be the leaders. [/quote]

    As others have said running a company is a vastly different scenario than running a state, a point that has been proven by countless titans of business that have utterly failed in the political arena. It is entirely possible to be skilled at both business and politics, but political success and business success are NOT mutually inclusive, and I’m not sure what warrants this type of faith in these people.

    I’m also surprised by how little most people know about Carly’s past when using the “CA needs leadership like these successful business people” argument due to her poor, some say inept, performance leading HP. I was once a part of a “hyper-competitive private technology company” and my experience has been that all leaders need to be judged on a case by case basis because there are very good and very poor leaders everywhere you look and the title of CEO is essentially worthless IMO.

  21. Frankly

    “Union money spent to elect Jerry Brown was far less than she spent on her campaign.”

    I think we will learn more about union spending in the coming months. Unions have been using non profits as outside funding pipelines. Also, unions provide free labor. Labor working a campagin is one of largest expenses… Meg and Carly had to fund their own.

    For an example, when Meg campaigned in Southern California, more than 1,000 unionized nurses wearing red hospital scrubs held a rally outside her home in Atherton. My guess is that the unions paid the wages of these people taking time off work and that the cost was not reported as a contribution.

  22. Major Dude

    [quote]tea bagging nutcases
    Please avoid terms like this.[/quote]

    I agree. Its redundant. Tea baggers won 32% of elections they participated in in a year when the economy is as bad as its been since the great depression.

  23. Frankly

    “leaders need to be judged on a case by case basis because there are very good and very poor leaders everywhere you look and the title of CEO is essentially worthless IMO”

    Certainly there are leaders of varying capability and strength, and even good leaders can fail (because good leaders will take calculated risks), but the filtering process for ascension to the rank of CEO… especially in a fortune 500 company… means only the strongest and most capable make it. Carly pulled off the largest tech company merger in history. Meg grew eBay to mega size. What has Brown Spot and Boxer Shorts done but contribute to putting the country and state in a ditch?

    You don’t get any respect from me saying the title of CEO is worthless. That is the typical view of a disgruntled and dysfunctional worker corrupted with an entitlement mindset. Those types of employees are why 12% company turnover is a good metric. The CEO job is a specific role. There are many roles in any given company. There are always far fewer people qualified to handle the role of the CEO than there are people qualified to handle other roles in the company. Supply and demand is a wonderful thing. You should embrace it.

    If California returns to balanced budgets, jobs and prosperity, I will be the first to give Brown and Boxer kudos. It won’t happen though since they work for the unions.

  24. Frankly

    “Prove it”

    They are guilty until proven innocent.

    BTW, did you know that non-profit organization granted 501 (c)(4) status by the Internal Revenue Service need not publicly disclose its donors… And 501 (c) (4) companies do not need to disclose their contributions to political causes?

    For all we know, George Soros funneled money to 501 (c) (4) companies to pay the salaries of union employees taking time to get a win for their sugar daddy and mommy.

  25. Alphonso

    “Carly pulled off the largest tech company merger in history.”

    HP and Compaq did merge, but it was not a successful merger which is of course the reason Fiorina was fired. The primary goal of a CEO is to increase shareholder value and HP stock value dropped 50% under Fiorina – a huge failure.

    I liked Meg Whitman, she had a positive impact at EBay. Whitman could easily find another CEO job while Fiorina probably could not.

  26. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “The propositions were a more mixed bag, and I am clearly disappointed that Proposition 19 went down…”

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one 🙂 I suspect the majority of voters did not buy the argument that legalizing marijuana was going to fix our fiscal problems by generating all sorts of new tax revenue – what a whopper! LOL

    dmg: “He has a still-strong Democratic majority. And now he has an additional tool of not needing two-thirds of the legislature to pass a budget. The only thing he cannot do is raise taxes. But this will be his government and his legacy. And the voters can finally hold someone accountable who is accountable. There will be no shared blame and no shared credit.”

    I will bet you my bottom dollar that if Brown and the Dems do not make headway in CA to solve some of CA’s problems, the Dems will still blame the Repubs… I think the same scenario will play out at the national level – the Dems will blame the Repubs if things get no better; the Dems will take sole credit if things start to improve. And if the situation was reverse, the Repubs would do the same thing… Call me a cynic, but the blame game has become the typical political tactic of the day. Both sides are so busy pointing fingers at each other, which they feel somehow “excuses” both sides from actually doing something about our pressing problems of the day… The voters are sick to death of this kind of strategy…

  27. Alphonso

    “All tech stocks fell during that period. Compared to the perfomance of NASDAC, HP did better than average.”

    That is not true – the merger was announced in around March of 2002 and from that point on the HPQ stock price fell to half of its value before the end of that year. Its true, the price recovered some after 2002 but the price never significantly improved until after they fired Fiorina. Hurd was the CEO who added value to the stock.

  28. E Roberts Musser

    Neither Brown nor Whitman were good candidates. I suspect a lot of people had to hold their collective noses to vote for either one. I also suspect another reason Brown was elected is bc the Republican Governator has made such a poor hash of running CA. The voters in CA figured it was probably time to throw out any and all Republicans, including Cooley for AG despite Harris’s questionable behavior… I suspect the voters are going to end up regretting that choice (putting Harris in as AG)…

    I will be extremely surprised if Brown makes an even mediocre Governor – but I hope I am wrong…

  29. E Roberts Musser

    wdf1: “Who do you think has been a good governor in California?”

    I have only lived in CA since 1987. Didn’t care for Brown, nor Wilson, nor Gray Davis, nor Governator. Can’t think off the top of my head if anyone else has been Governor of CA while I’ve been here…

  30. Alphonso

    I thought Arnold would do a good job when he was elected. He had a good group of advisors and he had a reasonable goal of controlling costs, but he faced two problems. His referendums to take back control of unions failed and based on that mandate he backed away from his primary goal. Its too bad because the referendums were ahead of their time – I think they would have passed last night. Then there was the housing bubble deflation – there was no reasonable way to make people happy when faced with the related horrendous revenue shortfall.

  31. Rifkin

    [b]”Who do you think has been a good governor in California?” [/b]

    [i]”I have only lived in CA since 1987. Didn’t care for Brown …”[/i]

    Brown was governor from Jan. 1975-Jan. 1983. You didn’t like what he did for the state you did not live in?

  32. Frankly

    “All tech stocks fell during that period. Compared to the perfomance of NASDAC, HP did better than average.”

    Alphonso: That is not true

    It is true. The timing was bad because of the merger work started and completed before the tech stock bubble popped. However, HP revenue had started to go flat before Carly arrived. There were many at HP that agreed that HP needed to do something.

    The merger increased net revenue (more than doubled in the five years Carly was the CEO). However, because of the cost of the merger, earning fell… until it started to rise after the merger work completed. In 1999 when she started, earning were about $3 billion. In 2005 when she left, they were $2.4B. However, the following year, 2006, they shot up to $6.2B. That wasn’t because of the work of Mark Hurd… although he certainly did good work in the subsequent years. The Compaq merger brokered by Carly made HP a stronger company. The stock price didn’t recover because it had been inflated by the tech stock bubble like all other tech stocks. HP stock performance has pretty much tracked the NASDAQ index or better since then.

  33. Alphonso

    “The timing was bad because of the merger work started and completed before the tech stock bubble popped.”

    Actualy the bubble popped in 2000, long before they started the merger work. HP was trading above $60 before the bust and fell to about $25 before the merger (I place no blame for that) but after the merger the price dropped to about $12 and never got past about $25 until Fiorina was removed. You can defend the woman all you like but as a shareholder she did nothing to improve the value of my stock. I was happy to see her go!

  34. wdf1

    Prior to Schwarzenegger:
    Jerry Brown 1975–1983
    George Deukmejian 1983–1991
    Pete Wilson 1991–1999
    Gray Davis 1999–2003

    Off the top of my head I don’t know exact dates, but Reagan was before Jerry Brown, and then Pat Brown (Jerry’s dad) was before that. I wasn’t around or politically conscious when Pat Brown was governor, but I admire and appreciate that he was around to help set up the California master plan for higher education. I think it did a tremendous amount for the state economically.

  35. wdf1

    This biographical article, from the American Conservative a year ago, describes Jerry Brown as being more fiscally conservative than Ronald Reagan. But I personally believe that Ronald Reagan being characterized as a fiscal conservative was mostly urban legend.

    [url]http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/nov/01/00012/[/url]

  36. hpierce

    Thanks Rich & others who have quoted the “provenance” of the governor-ship…

    re: wdf1’s post… Pat Brown was somewhat of a jerk, “beholden” to the unions etc., but was great for public works projects… add the California Aqueduct to his list of achievements… boom times economically & gas was 19-29 cents/gallon.

    I was young, but remember a campaign bumper sticker from the Reagan governor campaign… “Why not an actor?… we’ve had a clown for the last 8 years…”. I have no opinion on whether the ‘claim’ was justified… but I do remember I thought it was clever…

  37. Plankton

    Thank god I live in California! While Obama squanders any opportunity left to show the American people he’s got a spine, Jerry Brown will get the State back on track, coinciding with a slowly rebounding economy. Even though it isn’t obvious yet, I think Brown has a light economic wind at his back, and really low expectations which a paramecium could exceed. It’s all good!

  38. E Roberts Musser

    RR: “Brown was governor from Jan. 1975-Jan. 1983. You didn’t like what he did for the state you did not live in?”

    We heard about “Mr. Moonbeam” as far away as Washington D.C. where I lived at the time. Brown’s dating scandals w rock stars and such were always fodder for the news. He seemed more interested in fooling around than being governor – at least that is how he was portrayed in the press back East… didn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence!

  39. E Roberts Musser

    Just for context, I used to live in the Washington, D.C. area, in the state of MD and then VA. VA had some real fiscal problems, and the voters decided to do something about it. They elected a fairly conservative governor, after having had a string of liberal governors. The legislature went conservative too. Together, they brought about some real postive change – passing legislation that insisted upon a balanced budget. VA finally got its collective act together, got its house in order, and became quite fiscally responsible. It was refreshing, especially while watching the state of MD continue down the path of fiscal irresponsibility led by out of control liberals… I believe VA has remained more or less fiscally responsible, but since I haven’t lived there in a while I can’t be absolutely sure…

    My hope is Jerry Brown sets CA on the path to greater fiscal responsibility, but I certainly have my doubts…

  40. Frankly

    “My hope is Jerry Brown sets CA on the path to greater fiscal responsibility, but I certainly have my doubts…”

    This CA election result is fascinating… it was about opposite of what objectivity people would have expected. We needed a fresh new Chris Christie and instead we get a used car with bad gas mileage. What is that definition of insanity?… I think we must be insane in this state.

  41. wdf1

    One thing I’ve observed about Jerry Brown is that he appears to be politically fearless (almost appears not to give a damn about polls or what other people think), and he has been open to new ideas, even if crazy to others. That’s where the Governor “Moonbeam” monicker came from. Those qualities made him stand out from Whitman.

    If the right things fall into place, I would expect that those qualities would help him to make movement on the budget. He has also failed with those qualities, as well.

  42. David M. Greenwald

    [quote]This CA election result is fascinating… it was about opposite of what objectivity people would have expected. We needed a fresh new Chris Christie and instead we get a used car with bad gas mileage. What is that definition of insanity?… I think we must be insane in this state. [/quote]

    Jeff: You failed to understand what the voters were doing. They saw that ineptitude of Gov. Arnold and instead opted for experience over more of the same lack of experience. Republicans misread the electorate. Had they nominated a veteran lawmaker, they may have won. But Whitman was an unknown and a risk and we had just been through that. So in fact, electing Whitman would be the insanity because Arnold was an unmitigated disaster. It wasn’t ideological, it was an indictment of mavericks and inexperienced governors.

  43. Frankly

    Oh, hell yes, I fail to understand CA voters who did the complete opposite of the rest of the country in a state that has the biggest financial mess. I look at my fellow CA residents in an entirely new fog of confusion.

    I get that Arnold was the lightning rod for voter disaffection as is the case for most heads of state regardless of how the legislature performs. However, this is what the uniformed vote on. Do we really have that many uninformed voters in this state?

    I do think that this CA election sheds light on another explanation… how thoroughly pissed off people are at the low number of job prospects and how good a job the Democrat political apparatus – funded by union money – did transferring this anger to corporate CEOs for shipping all their jobs overseas… even though most of the job loss and income disparity has come from global competition, technology automation, poor education quality and immigration expanding the low-skilled labor pool.

    Meg and Carly are two capable business women that reached the pinnacle of success and power in the most competitive and dynamic of industries… at a time when CA’s biggest problems is the lack of business to create jobs and revenue for the state. They were rejected because they lacked government experience? What does that say?

    It is fascinating to me that most intelligent liberals and conservatives in this state have completely different designs for how we would achieve the same shared goals. Those on the left trust experienced government bureaucrats more than they trust experienced business leaders. Conservative libertarians like me see that as fascinating given the state’s financial situation is the direct result of all the experienced government bureaucrats. Note that neither Meg nor Carly worked for Wall Street.

  44. Alphonso

    Whitman’s effort to BUY the election turned people off and in the end her marketing efforts were not as good as Brown’s. Brown had some very effective ads. I think Whitman would have been quite capable.

    Fiorina on the other hand proved herself to be not capable and she never displayed genuine interest in the State. The Republicans could have won that seat had they put up a better candidate.

  45. Frankly

    “Fiorina on the other hand proved herself to be not capable and she never displayed genuine interest in the State.”

    I wonder how much of this perception was the result of Fiorina’s health? Having breast cancer, a mastectomy, chemo and then reconstructive surgery would seem to justify some distraction. I guess only Democrats get victim sympathy votes for these type of circumstances.

    Again, you don’t rise to the top of a fortune 100 technology company without tremendous intelligence and leadership capability. I think a CEO of a large tech company could handle the job of a governor or Senator. I think few governors or senators would succeed as CEO of a large tech company. Just my opinion based on experience working in the IT industry.

    Brown’s ads certainly were more creative. I saw many more adds for Brown than I did for Whittman. If Whittman spent more, it sure wasn’t apparent based on the TV exposure. That is what leads be to believe that much less than 100% of the money spent in support of Brown has been disclosed.

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