In his Zen-inflected drive for a record fourth term as Governor of California, Jerry Brown had a deceptively simple approach. He would run for governor by being governor.
As a result, Brown, who has a 60 percent job approval rating, is on the verge of another landslide election win after waging a campaign which never issued any TV advertisement or press release urging his election. I can't name another successful campaign for high office which has done that. Certainly not in California.
Governor Jerry Brown held a final rally over the weekend with some 500 people in rural Williams, California, a town with no little Brown family history.
Indeed, Brown sported an "Age Quod Agis" logo on the jacket he wore at his final event of the election season, a Saturday rally in the small Northern California town of Williams in the middle of the state about 60 miles from Sacramento. The area has a lot of Brown family history. The governor's ancestor crossed the plains during the Gold Rush days and set up a ranch near there which remains in the family still, causing Brown to invoke the family's pioneer history as he looks at California's history and its future. And there may be something else around there of interest as well.
"Age Quod Agis," which I've mentioned before as a sort of longtime watchword phrase for Brown -- he used it in a note to me way back in the 1980s -- means, well, it means more than the simple translation. Actually, an entire column can be written about this, and may yet be. For now, let's say that it means do what you are doing, do what you do well, keep on doing what you do, and do your thing, to put it more succinctly.
Brown's existential approach to his re-election extended even to dispensing with the classic candidate Election Day event of voting by showing up instead last Thursday at his San Francisco Bay Area registrar of voters to doe the deed in advance of the election.
In reality, Brown was effectively re-elected two years ago, when he and his team won what was to most observers a shock landslide victory for his Proposition 30 revenue initiative. Along with earlier budget cuts and an ongoing if uneven economic recovery, the advent of the Prop 30 era ended many years of constant California budget crisis.
Meanwhile, Brown was moving on a host of other programmatic reform fronts, such as renewable energy, greenhouse gas reduction, space promotion, water, high-speed rail, prison realignment, education reform, Medi-Cal expansion ...
All that and the disarray of the California Republican Party -- along with skilled behind the scenes maneuvering by Brown, First Lady/Special Counsel Anne Gust Brown, and company -- combined to leave Brown effectively unopposed, as I suggested in this article 20 months ago.
While Brown has spent plenty of money to pass Props 1 and 2, the $7.5 billion water bond and state rainy day fund, he's spent nothing opposing the hapless Republican opposition of Neel Kashkari and company. As a result, Brown will have a massive archest heading into Term 4 to pursue targets of policy opportunity.
Despite his lack of campaigning for himself, the statewide Democratic ticket members all lead their Republican opponents going into election day. And Brown has campaigned for candidates in key districts.
What will Brown do in his coming term? Much of it is obvious, if not to reporters who want predigested bites of information for increasingly prefabricated articles.
Brown, who's made a point of not producing re-election campaign materials, became perturbed last week in Modesto at yet another press question about his lack of a formal Term 4 agenda statement.
He'll pursue next steps on the agenda items mentioned above.
He'll deal with political crises that became apparent this year; namely, the need to straighten out the Public Utilities Commission and its relations with utilities, such as Pacific Gas & Electric, and the need to change teacher tenure laws to a reasonable balance between teacher rights and teacher quality.
And he'll explore a list of other ideas, many of which he's discussed in past iterations. One seedbed that occurs tome is his second and, ironically, least successful presidential campaign, much of which looks rather prescient today.
All this will be explored in greater length as the election recedes.
But before we get to that, there will have to be some more looks at what the heck happened to/with President Barack Obama and his crew.
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