The Commonwealth Club and The Huffington Post present Commonwealth Club Thought Leaders, an ongoing series of insights from the most interesting people in California. Read the summary below and watch the video above—then share your thoughts.
By John Zipperer
Most of the political punditocracy that rules the American airwaves comes from Washington, D.C., and New York City. But Willie Brown, one of the most outspoken and adroit politicians on the West Coast, appears to have more than enough insight and opinions to hold up his side of the continent.
For decades he was one of the most powerful politicians in California history, serving as the speaker of the state assembly and finishing up his official career after two terms as mayor of San Francisco. But Willie Brown continues to exercise his power even in "retirement," both as a behind-the-scenes power broker and advisor to office-holding allies, and as a public commentator and critic.
Each year, he gives an exclusive political lecture at The Commonwealth Club, critiquing and forecasting events on the local, state, and national stages. In his most recent lecture, with moderator Joseph Fink fielding questions, Brown weighed in on everything from current San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's success in attracting sports events to Governor Brown's stunning political comeback. He calls Brown "a solo act" taking on every significant issue, "just leaving in the dust all other politicians in the state of California."
But it is the 2016 national scene on which Brown is most forthright, declaring that Hillary's a shoo-in to win if she runs, and "I can assure you [Hillary] will be a candidate in 2016."
Getting the nomination should be a much different game than her unsuccessful 2008 bid, when the aura of inevitability her campaign sought to use to scare off competitors failed to scare off Senator Barack Obama.
For 2016, "everybody fears Hillary Clinton," says Brown. "They believe that all she has to do is continue to breath and in 2016 she'll be elected to the presidency of the United States."
He is unimpressed with the chances of any Republican to defeat her, and he expects the Democrats to focus on snagging Clinton's vice presidential spot rather than challenge her for the presidential nomination.
For more thought leaders, visit The Commonwealth Club of California.
Video editor: Mehroz Baig