As a Canadian I am neither for or against Jerry Brown, but this article is emblematic of why retirement is losing its currency in North America, in my opinion. At 72 most men and women are at the top of their intellectual game. Pasture is hardly the place for them. 72 the new 52 ???
Mercury News editorial:
Jerry Brown is the right choice for governor Mercury News Editorial Posted: 10/10/2010 12:05:00 AM PDT
Jerry Brown offers California exactly what it needs in its next governor: a mature politician who can get things done in Sacramento and who brings good ideas, strong principles and a reputation for telling the truth.
It’s popular in some circles to say we need an outsider with business experience to run government. We tried that. It didn’t work. This is the time for a leader who can work the system and who will act in the best interests of the people of California. Capping his career with a second run for the office he held three decades ago, Brown, at 72, has no ax to grind, no simmering ambition that would lead him to trump the public good with pandering to special interests. He is motivated by his desire to leave a shining legacy after a lifetime of public service.
We enthusiastically recommend him for governor.
The alternative, Meg Whitman, has demonstrated through her campaign a loose relationship with the truth, a poor understanding of government and a penchant for platitudes. Her carefully packaged positions offer pat solutions for problems whose depth and complexity clearly elude her. We recommended her in the Republican primary over the shape-shifting Steve Poizner, but as the campaign has unfolded we’ve come to see that she utterly lacks the qualifications to be governor.
Whitman is spending more than $140 million on this campaign — breaking all records — largely to buy misleading ads and pay a herd of consultants to tell her what to say. Their aim is obvious, targeting various interests. What we don’t know is who Meg Whitman really is, how she thinks or what she values. She can’t buy credibility.
Brown is the opposite. He’s so un-packaged that you never quite know what he’s going to say, and sometimes it’s, oh, let’s just say impolitic. But when he discusses California’s history, politics and challenges, you’re sure to learn something. This is the benefit of his longevity in public life, including a variety of statewide offices and the thankless job of mayor of Oakland. His insight is deep and his institutional memory vast, illuminating not only what California’s problems are but how they evolved through decades of different governors — all but one since him a Republican.
Brown is not sanguine about the state’s problems, but he is pragmatic. He believes in incremental change. Not long ago, this would have frustrated us. But after seeing dramatic reform ideas crash and burn (the constitutional convention) or languish on life support (California Forward’s proposals), we’re ready to give incremental a try.
Brown’s years of public life have offered the opposition lots of campaign fodder — a disadvantage of having a record, unlike Whitman, who rarely even voted until recently. That record is fair game, but many of Whitman’s attacks are not fair.
Brown is not a pawn of unions, although labor supports him. As governor, he vetoed several pay raises for public employees, and he now supports a second tier of pension benefits, while Whitman panders to police and firefighters by exempting them from reform. Brown is proud of starting two Oakland charter schools, hardly the way to court the teachers unions.
He is a business advocate: As mayor of Oakland, he even tried to get an exemption from state environmental laws for new development in the struggling city. He supports California’s global warming legislation, which has created jobs in the only sector that’s been growing through the recession, while Whitman’s position on the law is wishy-washy. And he is clear on immigration policy while Whitman was all over the map even before her undocumented former housekeeper showed up.
Brown has built relationships with members of both parties, working well with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example. When we asked Whitman recently what Democratic leaders she has met with to prepare for this run, she replied: none.
Perhaps the best illustration of Whitman’s manipulation of facts and cluelessness about government is the anecdote she likes to tell about eBay’s building project in San Jose. It took 21/2 years to break ground, and she uses this as an example of government regulation run amok. But it was eBay’s decision to redesign the project that held things up, not San Jose, which fast-tracked the plan. When we brought this up to her, she shrugged and said it just shouldn’t have taken that long — as if the reason didn’t matter.
Jerry Brown doesn’t need to fudge anecdotes to make a point. He knows what he’s talking about from experience. And if he makes a mistake, he’ll own up, probably with self-deprecating humor.
Brown is the right choice for California at this critical time.