Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Jerry) Elections

Brown v. Whitman: Who Won?

So who won Tuesday’s gubernatorial debate?

Look, I admit I’m not terribly objective. I don’t like Meg Whitman at all as a candidate. Whereas, I’ve known Jerry Brown for 34 years and think that he’s still one of the most interesting people in California political life, and assuredly one of the brightest in this or any other state. Yeah, he’s got flaws (everybody does), but he was a governor who advanced a list of prescient policies that both Republicans and Democrats have cribbed from for several decades. More recently, he’s been a tough and excellent attorney general—more so, I think, than the public generally knows. More to the point, it may very well be that EGB Jr. is readier than he has ever been in his life to do the job for which he is running.

Plus, at 72, he still has enough energy to light several medium sized cities.

With regard to Whitman, I am bothered by several things. For one thing, I don’t like that she makes sh*t up. Virtually all of her attacks against Brown involve either straight out falsities, or taking facts out of context in such a way that they become false, by definition.

To give you an example of the latter, Whitman says Brown took a $6 billion surplus and turned it into a $1 billion deficit—the implication being that Brown walked into office when California had a surplus and spent himself and the state into the red. However, Whitman fails to mention the inconvenient facts that it was well-known fiscal conservative Jerry Brown who created the surplus in the first place. As for the deficit, after the passage of Prop. 13, it was only Brown’s surplus, combined with his savvy budgeting, that allowed the state to avoid huge deficits—without slashing such basics as schools and highways.

In addition, in watching the debate, I saw that Whitman was well rehearsed, whereas Jerry has a bone-deep grasp of issues.

That is not to say that Jerry didn’t misstep. I think it was a mistake to only talk only about green jobs, while Whitman gave the impression that she has ways to create jobs in the broader sense—although she is short on practical details as to how she would accomplish all this job creation.

In general, Whitman made promises that are not within her power to deliver. Shwarzenegger made a lot of promises too and, unlike Whitman, whom I find disingenuous, I think he fully intended to keep them—but he had no idea how to get the cooperation of the legislature. In that Whitman’s management experience has been limited to the context of a employees who depend upon her for their paychecks, there is nothing that tells us she could do any better. Yet she comes to the task with the same narcissistic arrogance.

But, like I said, I’m biased. I know and like him. I don’t like her.

So….what did you think? Who do you feel won the debate and why?

While you’re contemplating the question, some debate highlights:


(It was noted that Brown ran for president of the United States twice before, one of those times when he was only a year into his term as governor. So what kind of assurances could Jerry offer the voters that he would focus solely on the job of being mayor?)


Hell, if I was younger you know I would be running again.

One more thing, I now have a wife. You know, I come home at night. I don’t try to close down the bars in Sacramento like I used to when I was governor of California….


WHITMAN: I will appoint very conservative judges to the bench….


(Combating Whitman’s accusation that Brown was beholden to special interests.)

BROWN: This is a little bit like the kettle calling the pot black….

(First of all, it is the “pot” that calls the “kettle”….. ….. But whatever. We know Jerry meant that Whitman was the sooty kettle, but that leaves him as the pot? And what is our takeaway from that exactly? “I’m screwed but she is too?”)


(Brown talking about how he wouldn’t take his pension until he was 80 if he served two terms.)

BROWN: I’m the best pension buy California has ever seen.


(About whether her opponent can stand up to the state’s powerful unions.)

WHITMAN: It’s like putting Count Dracula in charge of the blood bank!”


BROWN: Two “Hells” and one “damn.”

So there you have it. Opinions?

(Photo by Hector Amezcua / Reuters)


The LA Times has the story.

A federal judge Tuesday ordered a halt to the execution of convicted rapist and murderer Albert Greenwood Brown, saying there was “no way” the court could conduct a proper review of new lethal injection procedures before the inmate was scheduled to die Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel reversed a decision he handed down Friday that the execution could go forward if the state gave Brown the option of dying by a single-injection method used in other states, rather than the three-drug cocktail prescribed by California’s new regulations.

Here’s the rest.


  • Brown clearly outclassed Whitman in the debate, it was obvious his previous experience as Governor gave him a clearer understanding of the problems facing California and more importantly how to get things done to help California moving forward. It was obvious also he is out to help the everyday citizens of the State and not implement policies to help the rich and well to do. The previous Presidental administration should have taught us what a huge disaster that policy can lead to. As Jesse Ventura (an Independent) said about the GOP, “they promise you the moon and deliver nothing.” Sound familiar Arnold?

  • Brown was absolutely right that if even Arnold (with his movie-star charisma to Whitman’s none) couldn’t “run California like a business,” being unprepared for how to finesse the unions AND voters into getting what he wants,
    Whitman has no realistic chance. We’ve seen locally as well that candidates who tout their being outsiders with no history of civic participation let alone office, just end up alienating even those who hoped for genuine “reform” and “shaking up the status quo,” end up just bullies who are shunned and disliked. AND then whine about it. A lot.

    (I disagree with John, though, that Arnold was all about trying to help the rich, although his proposed cuts DID hurt the poor more, since they inevitably receive the most social services: he ALSO wanted to reform pensions, as do both Brown and Whitman. Among other things. But after he almost lost re-election, he turned away from the Republican right and is vilified by them as a RINO.) Meg’s claim that she had already shown success in this area rang hollow, when she could only point to some Sheriffs in the OC (I think that’s where) who she persuaded to reconsider getting their full pensions at 55 instead of the current 50. ELSEWHERE she said the practice of getting pensions at 55 instead of 65 is what she’d fight.

    Brown was funny but also true, pointing out that he was Exhibit A for taxpayers’ best investment in pensions. And right on that the current practice of allowing employees to spike their salaries any way they can their last year in office, instead of averaging the last 3 years as when he left office, has to go.

    Whitman did backpedal on her false accusation that Brown squandered a $6 billion budget by criticizing him for NOT spending more of that deficit in reducing…something I don’t recall. So she talked out of both sides of her mouth.

    And since his age (which he deflected so well) has become fodder and fair game, with his gamely joining in, why does she look so AWFUL with all that money? So overweight and un-fit looking for her age, even her hair so in need of a good conditioning, and I’m not talking about plastic surgery (which I respect both of them for not having, though don’t criticize those who feel better if they do).

    There’s no way that her claim to create jobs by cutting funding for welfare can add up. Sure there are abuses by those who milk the system (while unfortunates like Rodger Jacobs can’t figure out how to), but the dollars aren’t enough. Singling out San Francisco as a sanctuary city, and implying L A is one too, is a Republican hot button that doesn’t add up to enough “savings” either. It’s led to all kinds of disgusting grandstanding like we saw in L A over the Jamiel Shaw murder (blamed on city officials who were not involved when it was the Republican DA and Sheriff whose staffs released the killer), or in San Fran with the Balognas. That inevitably leads to their support for the death penalty, as though that would solve everything. (It’s appalling that the OTHER Brown’s execution may be hastened because supplies of the lethal drug will expire Friday and be unavailable til next year…! That would be reason enough to halt the thing, to avoid that being used as an excuse to rush the appeals process.)

    She has some good ideas with cutting red tape and business taxes, though. But her going on about what a model for business friendliness Texas is, got old, and it’s apples and oranges. However, this state definitely needs to attract more business and consider cutting certain taxes.

    She’s got ideas and a volunteer force which should be welcomed into the political debate, but she’s not Governor material in my book.

  • I thank Meg Whitman for E Bay, though. You have no idea what right wingers across the country will pay for anti Obama shirts. And they say the economy’s bad…

  • SBL, Thanks for the heads up. Found it—and one of WTF’s as well. (And, anyone else, if your comment disappears, please let me know. The spam assassin occasionally has a psychotic break or gets in a bad mood, or whatever.)

    sbl, good points all.

    And, to be truthful, I was wondering about how Whitman looked as well. It’s a trivial point, as we both realize, and I know the road has to be hideously exhausting, AND it’s unfair that we are more likely to comment on a woman’s looks than a man’s. But all that said, she should make friends with Hillary Clinton and find out who her make-up person was for the campaign. That person was amazing. (And maybe ask Carly Fiorina for her hairdresser. Fiorina, who who is two years older than Whitman, simply is blessed with good bones.)

    WTF, I’ve been out all day and hadn’t see that story. Weird.

  • That’s pretty sexist. You wait till I get my nails done tomorrow. Me and the girls are going to talk about this.

  • Rob’s sexist comment isn’t funny. No more so than if a conservative made disparaging comments about Elena Kagan’s or Hillary Clinton’s appearance. Or even Christine Romer.

  • What’s sexist about me getting my nails done? I saw Charles Barkley getting his nails done at the K Street Mall in Sacramento once. Next you’re going to tell me that my weekly Brazilian wax is sexist. You are the Tom Hayden of sexism, ATQ. You look for sexism anywhere you can get it. I just pretty much look for sex anywhere I can get it. And I rarely find it.

  • 30 pack of zima or wine coolers would have me thinking that Zack Ephron looks like Eva Mendez…if you catch my drift.

  • “I just pretty much look for sex anywhere I can get it. And I rarely find it.”

    Seriously? A macho stud like you? Hard to believe.

  • Whitman gets praised for Ebay, yet why isn’t it ever mentioned that she ran the company into the ground in her last three years there? Why isn’t it mentioned that she spent 2.6 billion dollars buying Skype, that turned out to be a major debacle because the purchase failed to include an integral part of the program?

    Is this how it works now? You fail in business, so you run for office? At least Brown has experience in actual governance. Whitman was a pampered CEO who didn’t vote and thumbed her nose at illegal immigration laws.

    I’m surprised she’s only 9 points behind.

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