Rambling Jerry Brown speech raises fear among Dems
Brown started his speech by telling the crowd that he didn’t know what he was going to talk about, so when he arrived (late) for the speech, he asked San Francisco Democratic Party chair Aaron Peskin what he should say, and Peskin told him to talk about how there were more salmon in the streams and better overall environmental health back when Brown was governor in the ‘70s.
But rather than taking that advice and giving a forceful call to strength environmental regulation or conjure up California’s better days, Brown meandered around and mused on that and other topics, feeding fears that the 71-year-old candidate might come off as a nostalgic, slightly senile former-Governor Moonbeam rather than an effective agent of needed change.
“During that period when I was governor, I’m not going to call it the golden age because some people think I’m in the golden age, so I don’t want to get people confused. That’s why I don’t want to talk about way back then, because there are a number of people I can see weren’t even born then, so it gets a little embarrassing and I like to pretend it was just yesterday. But in that period, California created almost twice as many jobs as the nation did. We created jobs at about 24 percent over eight years and the nation grew jobs at 13 percent, so almost twice as much. And then Deukmejian did pretty good, he had about the same, maybe half a percent more,” Brown rambled, ticking off statistics, hedging his point by noting how little governors can really do to create jobs, before working up to a decent line that was flatly delivered: “It was a time when the environment got its biggest boost, as far as public policy.”
Nobody applauded, so he continued. “I was thinking tonight, I was trying to figure out that if I did announce, what the hell would I say? And so I decided to go back and read my first announcement, January 24, 1974. I was 35 then, it was another time, I’m now a little older than that. But I talked about clean air, I talked about the energy crisis and getting new sources of energy. I talked about statewide land use planning” – that last item drawing some applause – “and I talked about jobs. And I was thinking, wow, we still got a jobs problem, we got an energy problem, we have a land use problem that feeds into the energy problem, and while the air is cleaner in many respects, it’s not clean enough, or it isn’t healthy enough.”