Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jerry Brown Goes Way, Way Off-Script

Is the strain of trying to sell Californians on the prospect of paying five years of higher taxes finally starting to wear on Jerry Brown? Based on this piece in today's San Francisco Chronicle, it might be.

Do I make Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X now, m**therf***ers?
Apparently the Moonbeam is upset at all the heat his prison-guards contract is getting, especially the heat coming from the Sacramento Bee and the LA Times. One bad sign? He's preparing two pages worth of rebuttals to the Bee editorial. The other bad sign? He called up the Chronicle on Wednesday and gave an impromptu, off-the-teleprompter interview on the subject.

He started out accusing Republican lawmakers of failing to understand how negotiation works, as well as naked partisanship. "Collective bargaining is a give and take and Republican critics know nothing about it," he said. "These critics don't actually manage anything. ... They talk, and we have to actually manage. ... Some don't want unions to have any rights, which is a traditional right-wing idea." Careful, Jerry; those straw men are a fire hazard! Of course, even the Chronicle acknowledges that criticism of the deal has been on very specific aspects of it, and has largely been confined to questions about whether the deals' expected savings will materialize. It's only people like us who've been writing that the deals were political payback for union support of his election campaign. So, largely, Brown is arguing with thin air. But it gets better; after that, the Governor of the world's 8th-largest economy gave us this gem: "Why don't they go into prison and have people throw feces at them? It's not that easy of a job. They are up here on much easier duty." Um, Jerry, if someone is throwing feces at you during negotiations on a union contract, you're really doing something wrong. More to the point, any time your Governor's call-in appearances to local newspapers resemble Charlie Sheen's call-ins to the Alex Jones Show, you're justified in being a small bit concerned.

He went on to attack the GOP's positions on a variety of issues, including pension reform, spending limits, and government service outsourcing. We'd go into the details, but they're just more silliness; apparently the Republicans would have everything they wanted if they'd been more willing to trust the Governor. A Governor who, every day, seems closer to breaking his critical campaign pledge to not implement tax increases without voter approval. But that's water under the bridge. Did Jerry Brown really just complain about people flinging poop at him in a budget negotiation?


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