Brown steers clear of Dems as election nears

Brown steers clear of Dems as election nears

Jerry Brown, Prop. 1 adState Democrats haven’t had much luck in securing the biggest show of support in California — Gov. Jerry Brown.

As he gears up for the final stretch of his bid for an unprecedented fourth term in office, Brown has chosen to focus closely on his own fortunes and his own political brand. Rather than stumping around the Golden State, as Democrats have hoped, Brown has largely bowed out of his party’s push to reclaim a legislative supermajority in Sacramento.

Bucking the trend

Despite Democrats’ dominant position, the party’s worries have extended to the top of its state leadership. The new state Senate leader, Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, recently revealed his concerns to the Los Angeles Times. Although he did not shed any light on party leaders’ “negotiations” with the Brown camp, de Leon admitted he was “actively pursuing the governor to make appearances.” Sizing up his party’s challenges, de Leon said the upcoming election was “going to be the most challenging in more than a decade, so we absolutely have our work cut out for us.”

Democrats have fretted this year over a series of scandals, disagreements and internal divisions that have blunted the force of their policy agenda. On a growing number of issues, especially the influence of teachers’ unions, Democrats have taken contrasting positions.

The race for Superintendent of Public Instruction pits two Democrats — incumbent Tom Torlakson and challenger Marshall Tuck — against one another in an officially nonpartisan contest that has unofficially split key figures within the party into two surprisingly hostile camps.

In that kind of uncertain atmosphere, the rallying influence of a strong governor with substantial popular support would be a much-needed political balm. Brown, however, has not governed predictably, and his sometimes idiosyncratic approach toward his own party has created discomfort among Democrats who now must plead for his public support.

In advancing California’s high-speed rail project, for instance, Brown provoked irritation and concern among progressive environmentalists by diverting cap-and-trade fee revenue away from climate mitigation efforts toward the train’s infrastructure requirements — an investment that would not lessen carbon emissions for perhaps decades.

In light of Brown’s apparent determination to stray from the reliable ideological confines of his party’s far left, or its more moderate pro-business center, his hesitancy to take to the stump this election season makes his relative silence understandable.

Handpicked exceptions

Reluctance notwithstanding, Brown has chosen to take a handful of carefully chosen actions in the run-up to November. Perhaps most notably, although he has not taken to the stump on her behalf, Brown has pointedly endorsed Libby Schaaf, a candidate in the crowded race to replace Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. (Voters have soured on the incumbent Quan, but her challengers have failed to catch voters’ enthusiasm.) Schaaf, a councilwoman in the city where Brown was a popular mayor for eight years, also worked for Brown.

As the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out, Brown’s past endorsements have not necessarily made or broken the campaigns of candidates he supported. Still, at a time when his public favor is so strongly coveted, Brown’s choice to endorse Schaaf underscored his approach to November and beyond. Close friends and allies will be embraced, if somewhat quietly. Others may have to wait for a gift that will never come.

Meanwhile, Brown has turned his eye on his legacy and the state’s future. Sidestepping a brewing scandal involving PG&E’s cozy ties to regulators, Brown announced he returned campaign contributions from six of the utility’s officials.

And in his first ad buy of the season, Brown has chosen to push Propositions 1 and 2, the ballot measures that would secure his sought-after water bond and rainy-day fund. In the ads, Brown does not even mention his bid for reelection.


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  1. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 10 October, 2014, 16:48

    No matter what….you know this guy is a true talent. He can find weaknesses in any person running. It would be good for America if he makes a strong run in primaries against the chosen one…..

    Reply this comment
  2. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 10 October, 2014, 23:09

    Brownie has always been a maverick flake, going back to the days when he was hot to trot over that lib Linda Ronstadt. But when push came to shove Brownie never saw a tax increase, a public employee benefit or a campaign donation that he didn’t adore. My guess is that Brownie has full-on contempt all these young dem sychopants who lick his boots and want on their stump tours. At his advanced age I think that Brownie’s tired of being an elite political prostitute. Plus, he knows that his reelection is in the bag and their support isn’t needed. I fantasize somebody pulls one of his skeletons out of the closet (no doubt he has many) right before the election (like they did to Meg Whitman) and stick him behind the 8 ball. It would be fun watch Brownie squirm and listen to him squeal. Not that I want Cash ‘n Kari to win. He’s no friggin’ better. He’d confiscate your gold fillings given the chance and make Hanky-Panky Paulson his Chief of Staff. Prior to Brownie’s 2010 election I thought maybe, JUST MAYBE, at his decrepit age that he’d make good with God, turn over a new leaf and truly represent the common man. I was wrong. Sometimes trace amounts of my former youthful idealism cloud my judgment, thinking that age can change the spots on a leopard. Brownie won’t change. Never again will I give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Reply this comment
  3. Desmond
    Desmond 12 October, 2014, 05:24

    Many of my generation seem him as a very evil man, power driven, arrogant, condescending. History will not be kind to him.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 12 October, 2014, 23:58

      “History will not be kind to him.”

      IMO the Spirit in the Sky won’t be kind to him either. 50 years in politics probably guarantees a seat in the hottest part of hell.

      Reply this comment

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