Jerry Brown announced his candidacy for governor by posting a three-minute speech on You Tube that was forceful and direct, making the case that California is in crisis and needs experienced, knowledgeable leadership, not an anti-government outsider who’s new to politics.
“We tried that and it doesn’t work. We found out that not knowing is not good,” Brown said in a veiled swipe at both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and likely Republican nominee Meg Whitman, a former CEO with no political experience who has rarely even voted.
This speech was right on the money, and a sharp contrast to his recent Sierra Club speech, which I criticized here – demonstrating that when Brown gets his game face on, he’s still a formidable political pro.
“It’s no secret that Sacramento isn’t working today. Partisanship has become poisonous, political posturing has replaced leadership, and the budget: it’s always late, it’s always in the red, and it’s always wrong,” he said.
It was short on specifics, but that’s probably understandable at this stage. He talked about created a “leaner” state government, but also decried the cuts in education spending, and ended up staking out an interesting position on the critical issue of taxes, pledging, “No new taxes unless you the people vote for them.”
Perhaps Brown is just the guy to begin to persuade Californians that we can’t have it all, and that we’ll have to raise taxes on rich individuals and corporations if we want to do something about our underfunded infrastructure and declining public services. After all, he described our current situation as “a crisis” and said, “You deserve the truth and that’s what you’ll get from me.”
If he wins, this will likely be this septuagenarian’s last job in politics, one in which he’ll hopefully be willing to push for what needs to be done, even if that hurts his popularity. “At this stage in my life, I’m prepared to focus on nothing else but fixing the state I love.”