Monday, January 23, 2012

Pat Brown and the Decision to Seek a Third Term

In March 1966, DeVan Shumway reported on Pat Brown's “reluctant” decision to seek a third-term as the most powerful government official in the largest state of the U.S.  In his best imitation of a martyr, Brown announced that he “really wanted” to leave politics…but gosh darn it, he just couldn’t pass up a third term run if the alternative was letting those wascaly wepubwicans into the governor’s chair. 

According to Brown, the only thing his opponents could do was to:
" around the state telling people what a bad governor I've been," (as though that isn't what candidates challenging incumbents ALWAYS do?!) "Wait until I start telling them what a good governor I've been...I'm confident I'll win again."

Good King Pat the Humble was kind enough to elucidate the problems of his top Republican competitor: 

"I think Reagan is a reactionary.  He has a fear of government that could be dangerous in a growing state like California. He doesn't have the slightest idea what he's talking about...I, better than any handlers, realize you have to know what you're talking about.  Your ignorance will come out."

Yet for all his talk of how stupid Reagan was, the themes Brown suggested he wanted to tackle in his assumed third term sound remarkably Reaganesque:

“I would like to have major tax reform and equalize the tax burden of the people of California.  This is the major thing that must be done.  Some are paying far too many taxes; others too few.”

And, finally, in a bit of political assessment that Democrats treat us to every cycle (and, for reasons unbeknownst to me, some of our guys ALWAYS fall for), Brown opined on the “weak” Republican field, “[The Republican Party] has its poorest crop of candidates in the last 27 years.”

How embarassing, then, to get trounced by one million votes by the poorest GOP candidate in 27 years:)

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