Jerry Brown Unplugged


He will be fuhrer one day. He will command all of you. Your kids will meditate in school.

Is Jerry Brown Skyping his campaign commercials? Full text of a new bare-bones campaign spot from the former governor of California, sitting state attorney general and Democratic option in the November gubernatorial vote:

Our state is in a real mess, and I'm not gonna give you any phony plans or snappy slogans that don't go anywhere. We have to make some tough decisions. We have to live within our means. We've gotta take the power from the state capital and move it down to the local level, closer to the people, and no new taxes without voter approval. We've got to pull together not as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Californians first. And at this stage in life I'm prepared to do exactly that.

The ad has a bracing pull-yourself-together-dammit tone, but "at this stage in my life" smacks of the airy self-absorption for which Jerry Brown has always, fairly or unfairly, been mocked. And at the risk of being direct, I must note that at Jerry Brown's stage in life, most people are dead [pdf].

Nor is it clear what "no new taxes without voter approval" means. Electoral context in this case is ominous: California voters will be voting in November on Prop 25 [pdf], a taxation trojan horse that would eliminate the two-thirds-majority requirement for passage of state budgets and replace it with a simple majority. While Prop 25, which is backed solidly by government employee unions, claims to retain the supermajority requirement for taxes, both proponents and opponents have acknowledged that it will lead to new fees and taxes (some of which are already included in other measures on the ballot this fall).

If we count ballot initiatives as "voter approval," Brown's statement could mean he sees items like Prop 25 (and its inevitable offspring—an end to supermajority for overt tax hikes), Prop 21 (new vehicle license surcharge) and Prop 24 (tax on businesses)—as voter mandates for new taxes. Pages two through five of the Meg Whitman campaign's counterblaste [pdf] indicate that Jerry Brown has an artful way of saying "No" to taxes, so that it comes out as "Yes."

Update: A description of how Prop 25 will work to jack up taxes from the Fantastic Joel Fox:

While there is a dispute whether taxes can be raised directly through the mechanism of Prop 25, there is no question revenue can be raised to cover the spending in a majority vote budget through increases in majority vote fees, which in many cases are disguised taxes.


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  1. “And at the risk of being direct, I must note that at Jerry Brown’s stage in life, most people are dead.”


  2. I’d make some snappy comment about “If Californians elect Jerry Brown – again – they deserve….” etc. etc….except I live in the state that elected Jennifer Granholm (“Worst Governor – EVER!?”). Twice.

    So I’ll just shake my head and hope for the best…good luck, Caleeeforneeeuhns.

    1. Worse than Gray Davis?

      1. Worse than Gray Davis. Worse than governors appointed by Genghis Khan.

        1. You leave Ghenghis alone. Sure, he may have slaughtered all the men and enslaved the women and children. But, the places never went broke.

    2. Concur on Jenny. She’s the most ineffective executive I have ever had the misfortune to witness close up.

      Don’t you miss that fat tub of goo Engler?

      1. That woman is just stupid. I don’t ever want to hear again about how everyone who goes to Harvard Law is smart. Not her. I have never seen a dimmer public figure than her.

        1. Who would say that EVERYONE who went to Harvard Law is smart? As Woody Allen said “Even Harvard makes mistakes.”

          Like any generalization it’s an imprefect indicator, but to act like it is indicative of nothing is just as silly.

          1. You wouldn’t say that everyone who went to Harvard was smart MNG, just everyone with a “D” after their name.

            1. Yeah John, I’m the one that changes my stance depending on the party affiliation, like castigating one guy’s 21 year old joke that he was a bearded Marxist but glossing over the other parties youghtful dabbling in witchcraft.

              Oh wait a minute, that was you!

              1. Well, I, for one, prefer witches to Marxists.

                1. “Well, I, for one, prefer witches to Marxists.”

                  Beat me to it.

                  1. Yeah, but think of the tens of millions killed by witches.

                  2. They all look alike to me.

              2. I find Wiccas to be quite nice people. I have never said anywhere that Wiccans should be excluded from holding public office. Or even that I wouldn’t vote for a Wiccan if I otherwise agreed with their positions.

                Marxist in contrast no so much. And at worst I am no more guilty than you. Aren’t you glossing over someone’s Marxism while castigating someone for a youthful interest in witchcraft?

                1. You really are a fool.

                  I said she deserved a pass for her comments (witchcraft and masturbation). But that doesn’t fit into your hyper-partisan narrative, so down the memory hole!

                  It’s what I pointed out the other day, you think I’m a partisan because I am not as quick to uncritically accept GOP talking points as you are. I’m not quick to uncritically accept Dem ones either, I try not to buy into either without a healthy critical analysis first. You really should try it.

                  1. Witches are better looking, too.

                  2. “I said she deserved a pass for her comments (witchcraft and masturbation). But that doesn’t fit into your hyper-partisan narrative, so down the memory hole!”

                    Then even you admit I am right to give O’Donnell a pass on this. So what is the big deal?

                2. In fact, I don;t think her comments, charitably read, even indicate a “youthful interest in witchcraft.” She went on a date with a guy who had “satanic” leanings. I knew such people in high school, no big whoop to me.

                  But John, she also clearly was not talking about “Wiccans”, so spare us…

                  1. Then why are the Wiccans so mad that she called them “witches”?

  3. If Californians elect Jerry Brown again it provides further proof they are idiots (as if we needed any).

    1. If they can fuck up, they will. It’s what they do.

    2. Why the Jerry Brown hate? That guy advocated a flat tax back in 92.

      1. Stopped clocks and all.

        1. Seriously, I guess I have not kept up with him during his Oakland-AG days, but what is it you hate about the guy so much?

          1. I don’t hate him; I just think he’s too flaky for prime time.

            1. That’s the meme, but he strikes me as fairly well read and smart.

              1. It’s a meme with some basis.

                1. No, they just called him Governor Moonbeam out of kindness. Of course he is a flake. In some ways that is good. There is nothing wrong with being a flake. It is my understanding that he was a pretty good mayor of Oakland. But unless he is really willing to go after the public employee unions and enforce some serious austerity on California, all the flakiness and good education in the world won’t make him an effective governor.

              2. He’s definitely not stupid, and he has the capability of surprising people when they don’t expect it.

                But political dynasties bug me (his father was Gov), as well as politicians who chair trade offices their entire lives. (Can’t we find someone who hasn’t already been governor?)

                I don’t think Brown is somebody who will take on the ‘insiders’. This guy grew up on the inside. His election would bring a dog and pony show to reform – just like the shifting of bureaucrats around to different divisions.

      2. “Why the Jerry Brown hate? That guy advocated a flat tax back in 92.”

        Is he advocating a flat tax today? Have to admit, that would be impressive.

        1. Good point. Perhaps he was for the flat tax before he was against it.

    3. The Civil War taught us that states can’t secede from The Union, but that doesn’t mean we can’t boot one out, right?

      1. It doesn’t mean they can’t, just that they will immediately get a test of their ability to protect their citizens against an aggressive, expansionist empire. Sort of like stress testing a new nation. It’s really more of a public service for would-be citizens of the independent state.

  4. It is impossible for me to read anything about Jerry Brown without getting “California ?ber Alles” stuck in my head. Guess it’s a good thing I like the song.

    1. You’re not the only one. I was waiting for the DK reference.


    IN other California news, sometimes justice is served. My favorite part.

    A witness told The Times he saw Councilman Luis Artiga taken away in handcuffs Tuesday morning.

    A neighbor of Hernandez said authorities used a battering ram on his front door after he failed to answer the door.

    “They broke the door down,” said the neighbor, who only gave his name as Jose. “They knocked down the door and they brought him out in cuffs.”]

    1. From TFA: “Last week, California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown filed a lawsuit against current and former Bell city leaders demanding that their pay contracts be nullified and that they pay back some of their salaries and pension benefits.”

      Good for him, I guess. Now, on to the pubsec unions.

  6. I didn’t spend the late 70s doing coke of Rondstadt’s tits to see this great state slip away from us!

    1. It’s nice when GOP shills show they don’t know their audience…

      1. Maybe the commenter was the audience.

        ’70’s, disco, Rondstadt…

  7. “We’ve gotta take the power from the state capital and move it down to the local level, closer to the people, ”

    Worked great for the city of Bell.

      1. I guess John beat me to it.

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