Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Professor Longhair

I'm beginning to think that Jerry Brown believes he isn't going to win the California governor's race. You know why? Because he's already starting to complain that his opponents are not as smart as he is. "Republicans are dumb" has long been the mating call of the liberal loser, and Brown is making sure we know that he thinks both of his potential rivals are idiots: Brown Lashes Out at GOP Candidates for Governor
Months after clearing the Democratic race for governor of any serious opponents, Attorney General Jerry Brown held his first official public campaign event Monday - slamming Republican gubernatorial rivals Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner as "the apostles of darkness and ignorance" and calling their expensive barrage of mudslinging "intellectually embarrassing" to California voters.

"They are so banal," Brown told about 200 students and others at a rally at UC Santa Barbara, referring to the millions of dollars that Whitman, the former eBay CEO and Poizner, the state Insurance Commissioner, have spent on attack ads in a primary battle that some polls suggest is a dead heat with three weeks until the June 8 election.

"If you know how to write and think," Brown said, "look at those ads, and do the exact opposite." He added: "The apostles of darkness and ignorance are well-heeled and they have great political consultants."

Right, like Democratic races with their Che T-shirted college kids, ACORN volunteers, busloads of union rowdies, and appeals to "The People v The Powerful" from billionaire pols like Nancy Pelosi are studies in high flown debate. Still, give Brown credit: he's got the Adlai Stevenson act ("banal" "apostles of darkness and ignorance" "great political consultants") down cold.

What I don't hear is how Brown plans to respond to his GOP rivals. He has to know what's coming: neither Whitman nor Poizner are what you would call committed conservatives (although Poizner does a credible job ladeling out red meat). But, the focus of the campaign is going to be reining in California's out of control government. Whitman has already laid out some specific plans to get things moving again, while Poizner has made all the right "starve the beast" noises in his speeches. Is Brown planning to defend Big Government? Is he going to tell us how he plans to pull California out of its hole? Or is he just going to gripe that no one in the race is as smart and sophisticated as he is?

Brown has a hard race to run. While he has name recognition, and obvious public service experience, he is also someone who has been in the public eye for 40+ years. Not only that, the crisis of Big Government is a crisis of the government that he and his dad pretty much established and set in motion. I half expect Brown to go into his favorite pose of "Melancholy Truth-teller," informing the Democratic Party's various stakeholders that the party is over, but for now he's sticking with "Republicans are dumb and evil." How inspiring.

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