THE BLOG
10/25/2014 01:20 pm ET Updated Oct 27, 2014

Jerry Brown Does His Yale Law Reunion While Kashkari Keeps Attacking and Arnold Savors Paris

Republican Neel Kashkari has intensified his attack on Governor Jerry Brown, insisting that he has uncovered "Jerry Brown's Watergate." So what does Brown do? Continue to ignore the former Wall Street bailout coordinator, and continue his drive to a record fourth term as California's governor by ... spending four days back East around this weekend's 50th anniversary reunion of Brown's Yale Law School class in New Haven, Connecticut.

Since Yale Law '64 also includes former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, the two famed former presidential candidates are on a panel together. Hmm, maybe Jerry will explain "planetary realism," which he proclaimed as the name of his geopolitical strategy in his 1976 presidential campaign. Or not.


Governor Jerry Brown talks about how Prop 1 is needed to expand the state water project backbone established by his father, Governor Pat Brown.

Hart, the 1988 presidential frontrunner knocked from contention by a personal scandal spoon fed to a compliant media, talked up a potential Brown presidential run in 2016 over th summer. Unless Brown, cruising toward a third straight landslide win for governor, can figure out how to clone himself, that may not be in the cards. So perhaps Hart and Brown can discuss their unusual position as political stars of what may well turn out to be the first generation in American history not to produce a president of the United States.

Well, if that's the way it turns out, Brown can certainly find a way to inject his "dialogue and dialectic," to borrow a phrase from a certain 38-year old presidential candidate of the past, into the politics of 2016. Hart, incidentally, is a brand-new U.S. special envoy, just named as "Personal Representative of the Secretary of State," with his first work on Northern Ireland's chronic discord. He was already chairman of State's International Security Advisory Board.

Meanwhile, aside from a memorably acerbic reaction from Brown campaign spokesman Dan Newman, Brown continues to ignore Kashkari's melodramatic attacks on him for allowing a state appeal of a local LA court decision throwing out state law on teacher tenure, even after Kashkari tossed another million bucks from his fortune to push the offensively wacky "Drowning Boy" ad message I discussed on October 16th.

But Brown is very much engaged in the campaign on the air. Just not with ads telling Californians to re-elect him. The ads, from his consulting firm SCN Strategies (strategist Ace Smith, media consultant Sean Clegg, and the aforementioned Newman (oh, and a certain hands-on governor guy, too) all promote Brown's Propositions 1 and 2 to pass the $7.5 billion water bond and create a state rainy day fund.

In the latest report, Brown has spent $3.6 million from his re-election committee, almost all on Props 1 and 2, and $10 million from a new committee he controls to pass Props 1 and 2. He has a whopping $21 million left in his own campaign account and another $6 million left in the initiatives account. Brown's re-election committee has actually been outspent by Kashkari's campaign.

So Brown will end up with a huge warchest left over from a campaign which may never actually run a campaign ad for Brown himself.


UC Berkeley Professor Laura Tyson, former chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, discusses the need to pass Props 1 and 2 to end California's roller coaster rides on water and revenue.

Poor Kashkari. In the face of Brown's strength for re-election -- in a campaign probably clinched in November 2012 when the big win for Brown's Prop 30 revenue initiative marked the effective end of California's chronic budget crisis -- the tyro Republican is reduced to blathering about "Jerry Brown's Watergate." Which is a wild misuse of the term "Watergate."

If it were my business to spin up a spurious "Watergate" here, I might be able to come up with something. But it wouldn't be the appeal of a lower court decision on something that, while hardly insignificant, is hardly one of the biggest problems for public education. Brown says the decision needs appellate review before going into effect. (See my view of the decision, which I support.)


Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger met with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris earlier this month.

Maybe we should just chalk up the entire spectacle of the Kashkari campaign to a rookie having a bad time. Kashmir's certainly not having as good a time as the man who looks like the last Republican in history to win a landslide election as governor of California.

That, of course, is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who pulled off that feat twice. The champion of California's landmark climate change program, which corporate conservative Kashkari unsurprisingly opposes, is savoring his trip to France earlier this month.

There he and his Geneva and Santa Monica-based R20 group of subnational officials held a conference co-hosted with top French and international officials as part of the run-up to the big United Nations climate summit in Paris in December 2015. Schwarzenegger then met with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in an event closely covered by the French media, which speculated that the diminutive Socialist was worried about being photographed next to the Terminator. But it worked out well for all involved.

Unlike the California governor's race.

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