Hit & Run

Jerry Brown Interviews Me

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Brown: What are you with?
Me: I'm sorry; I'm with Reason magazine.
Brown: Oh Reason, you're one of those guys. (Awkward pause.) Secular humanists.
Me: Something like that, yeah (laughs nervously).
Brown: I want to just frame you properly.
Me: There you go. Um, sort of an Economist-style version on that…. You think you've seen something here that would appeal to independents, such as the readers of our magazine?
Brown: I think that Bush is a little to the right of the Reason mind.
Me: (laughs)
Brown: He's a bit simplistic. And that has its attractiveness, but not everywhere.
Other Reporter: How would you contrast this; what makes this Democratic convention distinguishable from the last several ones.
Brown: Definitely more delegate seats on the floor.
Brown: Like for example (accosts person named Bob): Hey Bob! Is there a microphone that you can call up to the podium here?
Bob: To the secretary's office, yeah.
Brown: But where's the secretary's office?
Bob: It's up there.
Brown: So you can call -- but you don't have a microphone. If I wanted to say "Mr. Chairman!!" I can't do that anymore. You can't grab the microphone and yell up to the candidates, the secretaries.
Bob: We neutered that years ago!
Brown: OK, so that's a difference. These are fundamental differences in the way these things operate. Third, you don't have any dissident voices. All speeches are approved.
Reporter: You were one of those in 1992, right?
Brown: Mine wasn't approved, because I seconded my own nomination. Otherwise it would have to be approved. That was a technicality.
Me: I voted for you by the way, in the presidential election.
Brown: Thanks. I'm a very reasoned fellow.
Other Reporter: I did too. In the '92 primaries.
Me: But not in the primary, I did it in the general election. That's how crazy I am.
Brown: Are you a follower of Hayek?
Me: I'm a reader of Hayek, I wouldn't describe myself as a--
Brown: I'm a reader of Hayek.
Me: (trying to change subject) Is there a–
Brown: Are you a reader of British philosophy, do you find that interesting?
Me: I'm not much like, you know, the whole, uh … I'm not a very learned guy. I'm not like your pal Jacques.
Brown: Yeah?
Me: There's a lot of libertarians who are really into that political philosophy stuff. I'm kinda practical and dull-witted -- I'm from Long Beach, California.
Brown: Oh, that's why. Most people from Long Beach derive from Iowa.
Me: Exactly. Exactly.
Brown: The good news about that is, that more people like corn than caviar.
Me: Speaking of libertarians, do you think that there's more, is there a legitimate free-market kinda reason to go Democrat instead of Republican these days?
Brown: Uh, I think the Bush politicizing of science and distorting it, that's certainly not reasonable. So that's important. I think that Kerry's a pretty reasonable guy. You know they say that "where's the passion?" Well, there's a lot reason there, and there's a lot of thoughtfulness. And yes he's a political person, and political person is apt to be flexible, that's also true. But flexibility is a quality in an ever-changing world. Rigidity is definitely a vice.