All posts by Sterling Clifford

Facts Don’t Line Up With Joel Fox’s Attack Ads

(Welcome to Sterling Clifford, Spokesman for Jerry Brown’s Campaign for Governor. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Joel Fox essentially takes the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination in explaining why he will not disclose the donors to his TV ‘issue’ ad fusillade against Jerry Brown. Under the auspices of the “Small” Business Action Committee (SBAC), Fox, his right wing partner James Lacy, and their secret financial backers, are using $1.6 million worth of false ads to pummel a foe Fox brands a job killer, taxer, spender, debtor, and all around bad guy.

Let’s start with some basic facts:

When Jerry Brown was Governor, California created 1.9 million new jobs. When compared to national job growth, California did better under Jerry than any Governor since.

It is a fact that when Jerry was Governor, government spending as a percentage of personal income declined. Spending grew under Gov. Reagan, and it went up under Gov. Deukmejian. The state debt under the Brown Administration was a fraction of what it is today, under a Republican Governor who Fox has long supported.

And it’s a fact that credible California news outlets and declared “misleading” the claim that Jerry turned a surplus into a deficit. You’ll notice that Fox ignores the multi-billion dollar backfill assistance to local government supported by then-Governor Brown in order to protect local schools, police, and fire services. Plus Brown and the Legislature provided billions more in tax relief that Fox would presumably have supported if he had been around at the time.

Fox wants you to believe that it’s mere coincidence that these same false attacks – which have been roundly and rightly criticized by California’s political press corps – have shown up in Whitman ads. But it stops looking like a coincidence when you see the check for $10,000 that Whitman wrote to the Small Business Action Committee. Fox assures us that he endorsed Whitman before she paid him. Oh, well then. But how can we trust the assurances of a man who refuses to comeclean with the press and the voters about the secret backers of his cynical advertising blitz.

Perhaps Fox won’t say who funded his ad because he knows the donor list will be full of other “coincidences.” Like oil companies trying to repeal AB32? Just a coincidence.  Right-wing groups trying to sue over the President’s birth certificate? Just a coincidence. Wall Street bankers who got rich off a falsely propped up economy? Just a coincidence.

The truth is, Jerry Brown has supporters in many industries from all across California. Fox is probably worried that if he names his donors – if the voters are allowed to see who is attacking Jerry, they will see the ad for what it is – special interests with a motivation to lie.

Finally, Fox makes the bizarre claim that these narrow interest behemoths funding this smear campaign are acting in the great tradition of Americans dressing up like those of Boston Tea Party fame. Fox has been around the political block so long he has gotten lost in his own political rhetoric.

Joel Fox and the “Small” BAC should be willing to own up to the names on the checks paying for this ad. He diminishes his name and his cause with his crass gamesmanship and hollow explanations.  He can hide behind the Fifth Amendment, but transparency is an American value that he would expect from us and we should expect from him.