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The Return of Governor Moonbeam
March 2, 2010 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Jerry Brown announces his candidacy for governor of California. Jerry Brown was derided as "Governor Moonbeam" during his two-term tenure as California's governor in the mid-70s and early 80s. He even had a famous fling with Linda Ronstadt. Later he became a radio-show host and mayor of Oakland, and he's currently California's Democratic attorney general. Brown contrasts his experience with current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican candidiate Meg Whitman, saying:

"Some people say that if you've been around the process, you can't handle the job, that we need to go out and find an outsider who knows virtually nothing about state government," Brown said. "Well we tried that, and it doesn't work. We found out that not knowing is not good."
posted by Cool Papa Bell (59 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wonder if he'll resurrect the Pinto.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:30 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


At this rate, soon he'll be president, and your kids will meditate in school.

brb, suede denim secret police
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 2:30 PM on March 2, 2010 [38 favorites]


doctor_negative: "Wonder if he'll resurrect the Pinto."

I was reminded of yesterday's post about a remake of The Rockford Files.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:31 PM on March 2, 2010


His aura smiles and never frowns.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 2:34 PM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh goody, another six years of a Republican in the Governor's office.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2010


Mike Royko in 1991:
Because the media like to demand original thinking, while declaring that any original thinker is zany, it decided Brown was "unorthodox."

Of course, if it hadn't been for that idiotic, damn-fool, meaningless, throw-away line, the rap that he was a bit unorthodox wouldn't have mattered or lingered.

Of course not. Ah, but toss in the "Moonbeam" tag and the reader has a vision of some weird, wild-eyed California oddball. Which he isn't.

So enough of this "Moonbeam" stuff. As the creator of this monster, I declare it null, void and deceased. To American pundits, gossip columnists and other opinion-warpers, I say this: Create your own stupid labels and leave my stupid label alone. Bunch of moonbeams.
posted by Knappster at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Wonder if Jello will endorse him, given his reconsideration of the obvious song.
posted by dw at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2010


Has anyone seen my uncool niece? She was here a second ago.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:36 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dude is old. Hella old.
posted by GuyZero at 2:38 PM on March 2, 2010


GuyZero: "Dude is old."

Full of memories. And anger.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:41 PM on March 2, 2010


Oh goody, another six years of a Republican in the Governor's office.

Not so fast. I think he can readily beat Meg Whitman, who is quickly getting on everyone's nerves. Brown's timing may actually be just right: his family name is the closest thing California has to a political dynasty, and people are actually nostalgic for the days when the state government actually seemed to work.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 2:41 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


At this rate, soon he'll be president, and your kids will meditate in school.
Shit, I had no idea this was about somebody real.
/too young, not Californian. awesome song though.
posted by whatzit at 2:42 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"He even had a famous fling with Linda Ronstadt."

This produced one of my all-time favorite jokes:

Why does Linda Ronstadt sing so slowly?

She has a governor on her.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2010 [18 favorites]


Shit, I had no idea this was about somebody real.

Enjoy your stay on my lawn.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm looking forward to an updated official portrait.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2010


HP Laserjet P10006: I hope you're right, but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2010


Shit, I had no idea this was about somebody real.

It's debatable. No one can really be sure what stuff from late 70s California actually happened.
posted by Babblesort at 2:48 PM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


What's his stance on demon sheep?
posted by theclaw at 2:51 PM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]




No one can really be sure what stuff from late 70s California actually happened.

If you can remember it you could not have been there.
posted by bukvich at 3:07 PM on March 2, 2010


Whatever one says about him, it's a given that he's more competent than Whitman, as far as I can see. That, plus the fact that California Republicans are insane, means I hope he wins.

Even if I no longer live in the state.
posted by lathrop at 3:09 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand at all how Whitman ran eBay given how she handles herself on the campaign trail.
posted by GuyZero at 3:18 PM on March 2, 2010


"Some people say that if you've been around the process, you can't handle the job, that we need to go out and find an outsider who knows virtually nothing about state government," Brown said. "Well we tried that, and it doesn't work. We found out that not knowing is not good."

I think Meg Whitman would be a disaster, but I don't know if Brown will be able to do much better. California's system is a disaster. Look at how bad the U.S. senate is, and imagine if there was no way to over-ride a filibuster and all the senators were totally secure in their seats. And then throw in a crazy referendum system on top.

Unless CA fixes their constitution, they're going to have problems. Until the next economic boom comes around to mask the underlying problems.
posted by delmoi at 3:18 PM on March 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Meg Whitman preps bomb for Jerry Brown

Gonna be a long year for Californians:
Chris Lehane, one of the founders of the independent expenditure group Level the Playing Field 2010, which is running ads against GOP candidate Meg Whitman, told POLITICO that Brown can frame the race as "a guy who has always taken on the establishment on behalf of the little guy" against a "poster child for a bonus-making, Wall Street connected, multi-billionaire, big business candidate that fired California workers."
But how does he feel about plochops?
posted by zarq at 3:20 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Enjoy your stay on my lawn.
Hey, what's this I found on your lawn?
For your clothes, it's a pretty flower!
posted by whatzit at 3:24 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mellow out or you will pay...
posted by jokeefe at 3:28 PM on March 2, 2010


I am hopeful. Arnold has been the absolute mother of all trainwrecks for California. Not that it would not have been bad there, but he's made it a lot worse.
posted by Danf at 3:31 PM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Shit, I had no idea this was about somebody real.
/too young, not Californian. awesome song though.


Oy, kids these days. What they teaching you at school now, huh? *grumble grumble uphill both ways grumble*
posted by jokeefe at 3:32 PM on March 2, 2010


Has Meg said the "Rose Bird" word yet?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:34 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let's see...she was at the helm when Ebay bought Skype for 2.6 billion dollars...without buying the core engine of the technology (Joltid). They leased the peer to peer engine from Skype. Leased.

In essence, Whitman approved buying a car and paying to lease the engine and transmission from the founders of Skype. Terrible business decision for Ebay. Then, the litigious founders of Skype sued Ebay for stealing/modifying their proprietary software. Maybe, rightfully so.

If anyone else can shed insight on how this could have been a smart move for Ebay...I'd love to hear it. Prima Facie, this seems like the type of person that California does not need making big decisions.


EBAY v SKYPE


Follow up.
posted by zerobyproxy at 3:37 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


California has term limits on governor. Brown has already served two terms; isn't he ineligible for the office now?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:38 PM on March 2, 2010


California has term limits on governor. Brown has already served two terms; isn't he ineligible for the office now?

Although the state has imposed a two-term limit on the office, Brown served from 1975 to 1983, before term limits were passed.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:41 PM on March 2, 2010


Term limits only apply to terms after 1990.
posted by feckless at 3:42 PM on March 2, 2010


but he's made it a lot worse.

Considering how thoroughly screwed up California is, and how long the problems have been accumulating without ever really being addressed, it would have been a disaster with anyone in charge.

What, specifically, do you think he did that worsened the problems? I haven't been following him closely, but the stuff I've picked up from the national news has been eminently sensible, at least from the standpoint of actually fixing problems, instead of trying to gloss over them yet again.

California has been digging a hole for thirty years, and it's going to take at least a decade to dig back out.
posted by Malor at 3:44 PM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wonder if Jello will endorse him, given his reconsideration of the obvious song.

Wonder no more!
posted by Rangeboy at 3:56 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't understand at all how Whitman ran eBay given how she handles herself on the campaign trail.

It's not clear to me she did anything other than climb on the right train. eBay was something the world was basically waiting for, they got in early on top of the right technology while it was exploding, they captured mindshare, and are still more or less coasting on that.

Meanwhile, I can't think of anything eBay's actually done with their service in the last 10 years that's particularly increased its value. In fact, increasingly, it seems like enough of a scam hive that I rarely bother anymore. A lot of eBay's high profile decisions, like the Skype and PayPal purchases, have ranged from iffy to poor.

Given the position eBay quickly captured in the market, a potted plant might have done pretty well as CEO over the last decade. Maybe Whitman's fairly competent. Maybe she's somebody who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. It's really kindof hard to tell from eBay's history.
posted by weston at 4:00 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ugh. Just ugh. I'm tired of the recycling. Jerry just likes to run. If elected, he'll just fish around for another office to run for -- almost immediately.

Mark my words.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:45 PM on March 2, 2010


I don't understand at all how Whitman ran eBay given how she handles herself on the campaign trail.

I get the impression she regards the governorship of California as a demotion from running eBay, and is acting accordingly on the campaign trail. I can think of no more logical reason than this for her conduct. Which is all to the good, if it helps Brown win the seat.
posted by motown missile at 4:46 PM on March 2, 2010


California must have a pretty shallow political bench if the best that they can come up with is a 71 year old ex-governor. The state's got more people than all of Canada and they can't find anyone better to run than Jerry Brown? Nothing against Brown specifically but isn't there anyone new?
posted by octothorpe at 4:58 PM on March 2, 2010


Great post CPB!

I may be wrong, but didn't Jerry Brown say that he enjoyed using marijuana during the same time period when Reagan was firing up the war on drugs?

FWIW I totally agree with malor and delmoi. While the leadership isn't great, the real underlying problem, or one major problem, is the state constitution.

While I don't know enough about law or politics to even pretend how to begin to amend that, I can issue a warning to petitioners...if you ask me to sign something to get some crap on a ballot that will further mess up our already completely effed up budget, I'm going to wipe a booger on your petition.

The endangered squirrels of Tecolote Ranch will just have to wait until our budget crisis has been resolved.
posted by snsranch at 4:58 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


California dosen't actually exist, so I have no opinion.
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on March 2, 2010


If elected, he'll just fish around for another office to run for -- almost immediately. Mark my words.

What, you think he'll run against Obama in 2012? If not that, what?
posted by robla at 5:08 PM on March 2, 2010


California must have a pretty shallow political bench if the best that they can come up with is a 71 year old ex-governor.

Agreed: it's as if at the national level the Democratic Party takes certain high-profile places and races (i.e., replacing Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts, New York's governor and New York City's mayor, the governorship of California) too much for granted. Will Obama campaign for Brown, and if so, how will he get around the fact that Brown does not exactly represent a breath of fresh air, but instead amounts to "I'm better than the internet billionaire"?
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:27 PM on March 2, 2010


I heard his aura smiles, and never frowns...
posted by symbioid at 5:29 PM on March 2, 2010


When I was like 22 years old, I thought his flat tax ('92 Presidential campaign) was a genius idea. But hey, I also liked J├Ągermeister.
posted by Mister_A at 6:08 PM on March 2, 2010


What's his stance on demon sheep?

or What can Brown do for ewe?
posted by hal9k at 6:10 PM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


All I remember about him are the soundbytes - "If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down," and people calling him Moonbeam. I was a bit too young to care - and I lived in Oklahoma. I live in California now, however. Why is he a good choice? Is he? I don't know who the hell to vote for at this point.
posted by Kloryne at 6:13 PM on March 2, 2010


Granted, I will do some of my own research - just wondered on the general consensus in Metafilterville.
posted by Kloryne at 6:13 PM on March 2, 2010


I'm still disappointed that Jack O'Connell isn't running, but I've always been fond of Jerry and I'll take ANYONE over that nutbar Meg Whitman.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:23 PM on March 2, 2010


California must have a pretty shallow political bench if the best that they can come up with is a 71 year old ex-governor.

I'm calling ageism on this post, just as soon as I find my metamucil.
posted by newdaddy at 10:08 PM on March 2, 2010


What, you think he'll run against Obama in 2012? If not that, what?

I know Jerry. He wanted to run against Boxer. He told me so. Fortunately, she grabbed his balls and he decided against it.

Make no mistake -- Jerry's sole constituency is Jerry Brown. Not the city of Oakland. Not the state of California. He'll find some other race that will keep him in the limelight. He gets bored otherwise.

I also fear the influence of Anne Gust. As far as I'm concerned, her only good point was her ability to shitcan Jacques ("The Wife Beater") Barzaghi. Google him if you want part of the story.

I weep for California. We deserve better.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:34 PM on March 2, 2010


California must have a pretty shallow political bench if the best that they can come up with is a 71 year old ex-governor. The state's got more people than all of Canada and they can't find anyone better to run than Jerry Brown? Nothing against Brown specifically but isn't there anyone new?

CA is so unbelievably fucked that no one with any sense wants the job. I think Brown is doing it because he feels responsible and I'd probably vote for him if I still lived there. Mostly because what he says about knowing how the system works to get anything done is really true. I spent three years working on fed-state projects in CA and anything that does happen (not much) only happens because someone knows a guy who's been there 25 years and he knows how they did it 8 years ago on a similar project and here copy these 35 forms and send them to some person in Sac you've never heard of who will do something that will never be disclosed to you and then 6 months later a different person will call you and ask if you've done the project already because your contract you never knew you had is about to expire. Under such a system everything is done on trusting a particular individual that you know that they will show up on the day (literally) with the money/permits/state seal and when/if that trust breaks down, then NOTHING gets done.

The day to day workings of the state are like a riddle wrapped in an enigma, then encased in lead and buried 400' underground in an undisclosed location. People that work there don't know how it works.
posted by fshgrl at 11:22 PM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Reading about Jacques Barzaghi doesn't improve my opinion of Brown. That said, from a cursory reading of his Wikipedia bio he seems like a pretty good candidate.

I like his style, and though parts of it may be weird he does seem both principled and outspoken, but also grounded enough to run the government.

He had a big surplus as governor-- given that the state's big problem now is the deficit, maybe he can figure out how to turn it around. Certainly I haven't seen the Republican candidates advance any proposals that seem remotely realistic-- it's just 'cut taxes and it'll work itself out somehow'. He's described as 'parsimonious' in the bio which I see as appropriate for the times.

I'm sure I'll be learning a lot more about him in the coming months, so we'll see.
posted by alexei at 2:50 AM on March 3, 2010


I also fear the influence of Anne Gust. As far as I'm concerned, her only good point was her ability to shitcan Jacques ("The Wife Beater") Barzaghi. Google him if you want part of the story.

Well, allegedly Mr. Barzaghi is back in the picture in a big way, so if she shitcanned him, he didn't stay shitcanned.
posted by blucevalo at 10:58 AM on March 3, 2010


I remember when Brown was Governor. The Republican party blasted him daily in the press, over any and everything, hoping something would stick. Occasionally weird things did, like a fruit fly epidemic (lots of fruit grows here), and one other.

I remember the large front page headlines: "Governor Brown Refuses to Spend Large State Surplus!"

Sigh...those were the days...
posted by eye of newt at 10:34 PM on March 3, 2010


Random searching found:
Jerry Brown: 25 Random Things About Me

Some more random things:
Jerry Brown's father Pat Brown was also Governor of California, and a real back-slapping politician type, unlike his son but more like his daughter, Kathleen Brown. She ran for Governor in 1994 but lost to the incumbent Governor Pete Wilson. Pete Wilson had previously beat Jerry Brown in an election to become US Senator in 1982.
posted by eye of newt at 11:37 PM on March 3, 2010


Oops, Jerry Brown: 25 Random Things About Me
posted by eye of newt at 11:42 PM on March 3, 2010


For those portraying Brown as some kind of blast to California's mellow past, be informed that Jerry Brown has spun all the way to religio-authoritarian. In a quote attributed to Winston Churchill, "I am glad I was not a radical in my youth as I did not have to be a reactionary in my dotage."
posted by telstar at 2:32 AM on March 4, 2010


For those portraying Brown as some kind of blast to California's mellow past, be informed that Jerry Brown has spun all the way to religio-authoritarian

cite?
posted by eye of newt at 7:24 AM on March 4, 2010


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