When Jerry Brown’s campaign began running a television ad last week comparing Meg Whitman to Arnold Schwarzenegger it became clear to me that he had taken another page out of the political playbook of Barack Obama. After all a big part of Obama’s campaign was to try to present a McCain presidency as no different from that of President George W. Bush. It was effective for Obama and one has to admit that Jerry’s ad against Meg scored a couple of points.
But this also got me thinking about other parallels between Obama’s campaign two years ago and that of Jerry Brown. There are quite a few. And those similarities ought to convince those conservatives who have concluded that Meg is not conservative enough not only to cast a vote for her but to compel others to do the same.
As everyone now realizes with a great deal of buyer’s remorse Obama’s policy platform was non-existent. For people who like to consume details about what a candidate is going to do in office Obama’s “Hope & Change” platform was a zero calorie meal. 20/20 hindsight now informs us that “Hope & Change” really meant “Hoax & Chains.”
Contrary to the assertions of main stream media Meg’s policy platform does in fact contain details about a variety of issue areas (pensions government efficiency education etc.). Indeed there are a lot more specifics there than anything Jerry has put out. And here’s the frustrating part: Main stream media has doggedly pursued Meg over specifics of her proposals while giving Jerry close to a free ride. His relaxed folksy demeanor during the debates is not the kind of stuff that gives voters any substantive guidance. We are therefore left with having to speculate over what another Governor Brown term in office means to average California.
For taxpayers Jerry’s equivocation over Proposition 13 is the greatest concern. Sure he is quick to point out that he actually became a friend of Howard Jarvis shortly after Proposition 13 was enacted overwhelmingly by the voters. But that friendship didn’t last very long. After a number of decidedly anti-taxpayer decisions Howard made it clear he was happy to see Jerry leave office.
Has Jerry changed? While he touts his government experience is that really what California needs right now? And while he claims that a Whitman administration would be Arnold’s third term — an assertion silly on its face — is there anything to suggest that Jerry’s term would be nothing more than extension of Gray Davis’s inept and corrupt administration? The bad news for California is that the San Francisco Chronicle reported that if Jerry wins his transition director will be — you guessed it — Gray Davis.
If Jerry wins therefore the very foundation of his “new” administration will be the very cast of characters who brought an unparalleled level of incompetence and corruption (remember the energy crisis and the deal with the prison guards?) to the governance of California. Will the “new” Jerry Brown also appoint judges like Rose Bird who are openly hostile to founding constitutional principles? Will he be totally beholden to the public employee unions who financed the lion’s share of his campaign? Will he leverage his office in a way that rewards his political friends and punishes his political enemies in a manner devoid of public policy concerns? Why would anyone believe he wouldn’t?
Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.