If you believe “them”, Jerry Brown is preparing a populist campaign for governor. By them, I mean the consultants in Sacramento that aren’t connected to the “campaign”, but do have a history in almost winning gubernatorial campaigns. Darry Sragow, who ran Al Checchi’s primary campaign, thinks that Brown will use Whitman’s wealth and spending on the campaign against her.
“It’s building a trap that allows you to ultimately say, ‘There she goes again,’ ” Sragow said. “If you can say early on you are going to see nothing but Meg Whitman on TV because she thinks she can buy the office, you can say, ‘See, here she is again.’ It’s a smart tactic. He’s attempting to take one of her strengths to use it against her.” (CCT)
And Bill Carrick, who ran media for Phil Angelides in 2006, agrees 150%:
“Whitman and Poizner will both have to deal with the problem of money,” Carrick said. “Can a wealthy person be in touch with the reality of California and the economic anxieties Californians are going through? If Brown’s smart, he’ll be able to stoke some of that.”
But the bigger question is where he will be on the issues:
Brown has a history of riding the wave of popular sentiment, from falling in behind the anti-tax mood of Proposition 13 (after initially opposing it) as governor to embracing the state’s anti-crime atmosphere during his mayoral stint in Oakland by opposing an effort to weaken California’s Three Strikes Law.
As attorney general, Brown has taken on “the big, bad players – the big banks, the Wall Street executives – with a sharp, angry tone, and it resonates well,” said Ben Tulchin, a San Francisco-based Democratic political consultant. “If he can build on that and start going after Whitman, it would be very effective and he’d be a credible messenger.”
Taking on Whitman so early also “helps fire up the base” and serves to motivate potential donors, Tulchin said.
Of course, all that is predicated on Brown a) announcing at some point and b) actually going for the populist votes. While Brown has actually done a great job of going after the banks in the last 18 months, he hasn’t announced what he would do as governor. And while the AG is a critical position, the issues you face in each position are not identical. So, will Brown run on progressive solutions? It’s an open question.
Meanwhile, as we pointed out in the Open Thread, there is one candidate running for governor that is taking both progressive and populist positions. He’s “Prince” Frederic van Anhalt, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s 9th husband. But you needn’t make those jokes that you are thinking about the sanctity of marriage, Prince Frederic supports marriage equality. According to his very Homer Simpson website, Prince Freddy wants to overturn Prop 8, believing it unconstitutional.
Throw the Divorce Lawyers a Bone and quiet the Gays. I believe in marriage between men and women, but I am also a defender of the constitution which says equal rights for all. Let them be as miserable as the rest of us.
Aww…how sweet. But, the rest of his platform is really quite progressive. He wants to legalize and tax marijuana, add a ten cent tax on every booze-y drink sold in restaurants, and add a dollar to the taxes on liquor and cigarettes. He supports a oil severance tax, mandatory solar panels on all new buildings and a revised DMV fee structure that charges speeders and drunk drivers a lot more and reduces basic fees. All in all, a pretty populist system he has going on there.
Now, maybe Freddy and Jerry can get together for a cup of coffee or something, and connect the dots somehow.