Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Hit and Run Candidate - Mr. Soundbite - Moonbeam III

Tom Wolfe wrote humorous books on many things in life and was able to catch the sounds of life in unique ways. For example, in one treatment of slot machines, he used the repeated phrase "hernia, hernia" to capture the sounds of seniors using slot machines.

Wolfe could have written about Jerry Brown. He did a press conference when the democrats released their budget proposal this week in which he said their process was too opaque. He compared it to the problems facing the City of Bell that has been in the headlines the past few weeks for its outrageous salaries for City Manager, Police Chief and Council Members. I suspect that if you look up cheap shot in Wikipedia soon, it will include a copy or a reference to Brown's blatant attempt to grab some press.

What is most interesting about Brown's constant ploys was how he dealt with the democrat's proposal. There are things in the proposal that everyone could disagree with - but it is indeed a serious attempt to think about how to dig the state out of its perpetual budget hole. But Brown, spineless publicity hound that he is declined to offer opinions about the proposal. Is it too large; does it raise taxes too much or not enough: are the priorities right? We can't tell from Brown's response. If that is not opacity then I am not sure what the term means.

At lunch today I was asked whether I thought the former Governor was smart. He promoted that reputation by all sorts of new age babble in his last administration. But I am not so sure. Is he cunning? Indeed. But is he smart? If he won't offer anything but soundbites - how could you tell?

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