Friday, April 09, 2010

The State Chamber in the Kitchen

 For the past 40 years California has lived with Jerry Brown.  It can be argued that many of the problems that the state faces were created during his eight years of tenure as Governor.  During his tenure as a talk show host he yabbered out a number of absurd comments.   He ran for president a number of times and then served as Mayor of Oakland.  He has a long record in California politics.   During most of his tenure in those offices he ran administrations that were hostile to the business community.

Earlier in the week the State Chamber of Commerce issued an ad which presents Brown's record in an unfavorable light.   But some from the business community objected and so the Chamber pulled the ad.  Some criticized the ad as deceptive.  But Brown did oppose Proposition 13, spending did increase during his tenure, and when he left as Governor we had a huge deficit.   Brown has always played himself as a populist so one of his staffers huffed "This is a shamefully deceptive ad that distorts Jerry Brown's record of lowering taxes on small businesses and creating more than 1.9 million new jobs for Californians. The hyper-partisan attack is an utter betrayal of the Chamber's mission to represent the business community,not just one billionaire running for governor."  Notice something about the response - the 1.9 million jobs nonsense is just that (a number which no one could credibly defend) and it would be hard to deny the rest of the substance in the ad.  So his spokesmouth raises the specter of a "billionaire running for governor" - Gee I wonder who he means.

What is odd about this is not the reaction to the ad; even a rank amateur should understand that there is diversity of political opinion in the business community.  But the Chamber's board should have understood that in our current political environment, expressing an opinion will often result in grumpiness from another corner.   The ad may or may not have been a good idea - but not thinking about possible results was just plain stupid.

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