When Jerry Brown made his run for the Democratic nomination for Governor official, my knee jerk reaction is to snicker about good ol’ “Governor Moonbeam.” But I’ve been caught by surprise by the reaction of people when I refer to Jerry Brown with this infamous nickname, bestowed on him by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko in 1978.
They have NO idea who I’m talking about.
Brown’s quirky politics have faded into history. What’s more, the stuff we all thought was plenty kooky back in the day doesn’t seem eccentric at all in the 21st Century.
Brown proposed purchasing a satellite for California to provide emergency communication for the state. That’s what earned him his nickname… but later this would indeed happen. He eschewed many of the luxurious trappings of the Governor’s office, frugality that would win friends today but drew catcalls back then. Remember that Plymouth?
During his last Presidential campaign in 1992. Brown called for campaign finance reform, Congressional term limits, opposed free trade, and called for a flat tax system. Brown was the first to use alternative media (the radical “cable TV” and “talk radio”) to communicate with the public and raise funds. The 800 number he established 18 years ago is still in use in 2009.
This is the guy we wrote off as a nut job. Funny, he looks positively reasonable to this Libertarian next to Gavin Newsom. He’s been a halfway decent Attorney General (although he’s got to be the first Attorney General who didn’t pass his bar exam the first time… true). He’s got $7.4 million in the bank next to Newsom’s $1.2 million.
Now the latest Field Poll shows Brown with a commanding lead over Newsom. Matched head to head, Brown gets 47 percent of the vote and Newsom just 27 percent.
This is what’s odd to me: The poll found Newsom beating Brown by nine percentage points among respondents age 18 to 39 while Brown beat Newsom by a whopping 45 percentage points among respondents aged 65 or older.
Jerry Brown has a legitimate shot at this thing. Go figure. And at least he’s voted.