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When Will the Providence Journal Promote Mayor Angel Taveras for President?!

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I guess we’ve now reached the point in the presidential cycle when hometown newspapers write ridiculous articles promoting local candidates for a presidential run.

If he weren’t the nation’s oldest governor, a ripe 75, Jerry Brown would automatically be counted among serious Democratic candidates for president in 2016.

He boasts a household name, an impressive list of accomplishments in the country’s most populous state — a state some once deemed ungovernable — glowing national media coverage and a deep familiarity with the pitfalls and rigors of a White House bid, having run three times before.

Now, some are pushing Brown to consider another try for the White House, even if it means taking on Hillary Rodham Clinton, the prohibitive, if still undeclared, Democratic favorite.

“I think Jerry is precisely what America needs,” said Rose Ann DeMoro, the leader of a national nurses union and a strong political ally of Brown. “He has the courage of his convictions, which we haven’t seen in a very long while.”

Hmmm…..I don’t think any of that is true.

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  • He does have a household name at least in California. Although some people only know him by the name of Moonbeam.

    • njorl

      He is a household name all over the country. Over half a percent of US households are named Brown.

      • How many are named Moonbeam? It is a very common woman’s name in Kyrgyzstan, Ainura. My sister in law and one of her cousin’s has that name.

        • TribalistMeathead

          One of her cousin’s what?

          • OOps, typographical error.

            • Actually, he’s a junior, Otto. Thanks for demonstrating what happens when intellectual gravity reaches Jovian proportions.

              • Actually, I though Otto’s comment was informative, quaintly topic-oblique and illuminating – in an Ainura kind of way.

    • That’s Governor Moonbeam, thank you.

    • EH

      Nobody under 50 voted for Gov. Moonbeam, and those perpetuating the nickname are all over 50.

  • Davis X. Machina

    Providence has a wealth of options. Buddy Cianci is a native-born US citizen, and over 35. And has his own line of pasta sauce. The felonies — just water under the bridge….

    • Buddy obviously gets promoted to World Emperor.

      • efgoldman

        I’m thinking Buddy/Christie (in any order) would make a hell of a ticket for all the angry voters.

    • UserGoogol

      A valid point, but it’s hard to take seriously other options when Rhode Island has a Senator whose name is literally Whitehouse.

      • ExpatChad

        You neglected to put Mr. Whitehouse’s first name in upper case….

  • If he weren’t the nation’s oldest governor, a ripe 75, Jerry Brown would automatically be counted among serious Democratic candidates for president in 2016.

    Ledes like this are why I am reaching the point where I want to track writers down and shake them while shouting PROVE YOUR HYPOTHESIS!

    • David W.

      I’m reminded of a line I heard recently about “dead” being the new “old”. The oldest elected leader of a nation I can think of offhand is Konrad Adenauer, who served until he was 87 as Chancellor of Germany back in 1963. So maybe Brown isn’t all that old yet.

      • Eamon de valera finished his time as President of Ireland four months shy of 91.

  • TribalistMeathead

    Was 1992 the last time he ran, or has he run more recently than that?

    • David W.

      The last Presidential run for Brown was back in 1992.

      • sharculese

        Good thing nothings really changed about campaigning since then!

        • David W.

          I suspect two terms as mayor of Oakland, a term as State Attorney General and being elected Governor in 2010 has got Brown more or less up to speed with respect to running for office.

          • Anonymous

            FTA:

            “Every move he’s making is the move of a presidential candidate,” said Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate, who has run several times himself and would like to see Brown make another try for the White House in two years. “It’s almost a blueprint.”

            • Tucker

              Consider the source

              • joe from Lowell

                OK. The source, while an asshole, is right.

  • Erik L: “Hmmm…..I don’t think any of that is true.”

    True statements:
    (1) “the nation’s oldest governor, a ripe 75” (though the whole sentence is bollocks)

    (2) “an impressive list of accomplishments” – over multiple terms as governor, plus he dated RnR HoFer Linda Ronstadt.

    (3) “the country’s most populous state” — true as of 2012

    (4) “a deep familiarity with the pitfalls and rigors of a White House bid, having run three times before.” — well, the first half might not be true, but the second certainly is.

    (5) “Hillary Rodham Clinton, the prohibitive, if still undeclared, Democratic favorite” – any reasonable argument agains this? Senator MBNABofA?

    (6) “I think Jerry is precisely what America needs,” said Rose Ann DeMoro — I’m certain she said that, and suspect she might believe it.

    At least six true things.

    • NonyNony

      I’m certain she said that, and suspect she might believe it.

      I’ve been quoted by newspapers before, so I’d be leery about certainty here.

      She might very well have said “I think Halle Berry is precisely what America needs” or “Spam with sherry is precisely why America grieves” or possibly even “Get out of my face, I’m on my way to work.”

    • catclub

      If you can believe six impossible things before breakfast, then why not have dinner at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

      • Marek

        +infinity

    • Bobby Thomson

      Not to mention taking over a flaming bag of poop and achieving something more than disaster. Of course he would be a strong contender if he were 15 years younger. I don’t see how that’s even debatable.

      • joe from Lowell

        Yes, this is a very strange post.

        We’re all supposed to find it absurd that someone with Brown’s resume, but younger, would be considered a serious presidential candidate.

        I’m not exactly sure why.

        • joe from Lowell

          Oh, wait…he failed to sign some union bills.

          I believe that’s the fourth rail of American politics, of perhaps the seventh.

        • Daragh McDowell

          Indeed – and let’s not forget Brown ran the kind of union-supported, anti-DLC left-wing progressive campaign in 1992 that Erik’s writing suggests he would like to see more of.

        • Pat

          Brown just wants to get crap done before he dies. He knows that nobody can threaten his long term prospects, which is frequently why it is hard to accomplish really good things in California. Anything you push will offend some vested interest, which will then demonize you forever. Right now, Brown could care less.

          He’s working like hell to get some water projects done, for example, and heavily investing in light high speed rail. He’s pushed birth control for high school students, bringing down the teen pregnancy rate, and they totally embraced the ACA. Then there was that gaping, bleeding hole that was the California economy five years ago… Brown found “a solution.” Maybe not the best, but one that got the job done. Better than most governors.

          • DocAmazing

            Don’t be too impressed with those “water projects”. It’s more theft of water for Central Valley magafarms and swimming pools for L.A. If the Twin Tunnels project had anything at all to do with sustainability or conservation, it might be popular with leftists. As it is, not so much.

  • Trollhattan

    Love Jerry 2.0, and the way he dismantled Megs as she burned through nearly two-hundred mil on her way to getting mauled in the general was a thing of wonder. I’d even enjoy him challenging Chris Christie to a pull-up competetion, but a WH run is simply not in the cards. Na-ga-happen.

    Am simply hoping he goes for term IV, right here.

    • Megan

      I would love to keep him as governor here another four years. It seems likely to happen, and I am well pleased.

      • Trollhattan

        Always felt his decision would revolve around health, and that seems fine–eerily fine even (how do you do it, Jerry?). After Arnie’s years of misadventure, the Brown administration is scandal-free and a continued legislative Democratic supermajority leaves Republicans with nothing to do but try and sneak pistols onto airplanes, so things can get done. If that continues, he’ll run and basically only needs to file and go walk the dog until election day.

        Confess I’m more curious as to the maneuvering for Boxer’s and then Feinstein’s senate seats, as they’re likely as not on their last terms. Boxer’s isn’t up until 2016, though, with DiFi two years later.

        • Boxer’s isn’t up until 2016, though, with DiFi two years later.

          I’m a CA native so if I win the lottery tonight, I’ll move back there and primary DiFi in ’18.

  • somethingblue

    Wait, I thought what America needed was a good five-cent cigar.

    It’s so hard to keep up.

    • Sev

      Or nickel bag even.

  • witless chum

    He always reminds me of the fact that a jokey punk song from the early 80s is indistinguishable from half of conservative arguments.

  • Jestak

    “He has the courage of his convictions, which we haven’t seen in a very long while.”

    For someone to say that about Jerry Brown, the ultimate political chameleon, the master of reinventing himself, is amazing–it nearly blew out my irony meter.

    • Tucker

      A politician, maybe? Yes, he is very good at counting. I liked him as mayor of Oakland, especially given the recent run of incompetent to barely competent mayors we’ve had. Too bad the Country isn’t like a big city. He’d be very good in that case. As Governor, I have mixed feelings.

      • GoDeep

        What don’t you like abt him as Gov, Tucker?

    • politicalfootball

      “He has the courage of his convictions, which we haven’t seen in a very long while.”

      To be fair, one could read this quote differently. What is it, exactly, that we haven’t seen in a very long while?

  • pzerzan

    As a Californian, I have to say Jerry Brown has done a decent job as governor. He’s done a lot of things I disagree with (vetoing laws the make it easier for domestic workers and farm workers to unionize being at the top of the list) but, all in all, his administration has been good for the state-and a lot better than the last guy, but that’s not saying much.

    I’m beginning to think our press corps needs serious mental help when it comes to the 2016 Democratic Primary. If Brown had any interest in trying to win in 2016, we would have already seen the signs-random trips to Iowa, speeches on national issues. It’s pretty obvious Brown realizes this is the last job he’s going to have and wants to leave a good final note on his (very) complicated legacy. I get the 2008 Democratic Primary was a high point for a lot of political reporters. I doubt there will be an election like that any time soon. However, hoping there will be some epic primary challenge between Hillary Clinton and someone who represents an outsider-Elizabeth Warren, Jerry Brown, maybe next week it will somehow be Rob Ford-doesn’t give reporters an excuse to just make stuff up…

    • Jeffrey Beaumont

      Yes, I am reminded that in the realm of what is politically possible (as Scott reminds us here so often), Brown has been a decent governor. I’d be interested to hear if that is not the case, I live pretty far from Sacramento.

      • Although it was politically possible to sign those union bills.

        • Which he would have signed if he was really serious about a WH run.

          • joe from Lowell

            This could use some elaboration.

        • L2P

          You probably see enough of my posts to know im rabidly pro-union.

          However, I can’t fault Brown for his moves here. He’s not anti-union. He’s trying to keep an uber majority together by stopping overreach. If the democratic majority is seen as too liberal,there will be a massive backlash. I know our Californians, and that’s how we are. Tatllmcostbthe democrats the ability to pass progressive budgets, with taxes and stuff. He’s balancing THAT against pro-union bills.

          His considerations are very different than the typical free trade democrat who doesn’t give a crap. If Obama traded pro-union legislation for tax increases, welfare, and investment in infrastructure (instead of nothing) we wouldn’t have a big problem with Obama from a labor standpoint. We can disagree with brown’s political,judgement here, but that his goal. And frankly I think he’s right.

          • GoDeep

            Yeah, L2P, over reach has been one of my big fears w/ the Cali super majority. I think he’s done a good job of containing the legislature’s most liberal impulses. I do think that, on balance, CA’s public unions had a bit too much power on legislative forces so I think he’s been a good counterweight to their influence.

            When I think abt the future tho I get depressed. I think Gavin Newsome is plain horrible & while there are many things I like abt Antonio Villaraigosa, there are some things I don’t. I would definitely pick him over Newsome but I’d like to think there was a real white knight out there. Kamala Harris is a bit to my left on some issues frankly, but she might be better than those other 2 guys.

            • sparks

              Gavin Newsom makes me retch and I’d dearly love to have Kamala Harris (who is not really to my left on anything I care about) be on the ballot.

              • sharculese

                True fact, I have tremendous amounts of difficulty remembering the difference between Gavins Newsome and Rossdale.

    • Richard Hershberger

      “I get the 2008 Democratic Primary was a high point for a lot of political reporters.”

      Well, bad ones. Which, in fairness to you, is the vast majority. But I fondly remember reading Nate Silver calmly explaining around February or March exactly how Obama had the nomination in the bag and that it was all over but for the blithering.

      • pzerzan

        I would agree Obama had basically clinched the number of delegates in March. However, I get why the press loved covering it-a black man versus a woman for the nomination for President of one of our major parties. Someone who epitomized the idea of an insider versus someone who no one heard of until the summer of 2004. There were a lot of interesting narratives there. So I get why it was big.

        However, in the end, both candidates were largely the same on the issues and the direction of the Democratic Party (and I say this as someone who worked on the Obama campaign). Personality does make a difference but not as big as most reporters make it out to be. Now, the press wants to repeat the 2008 Primary by finding someone who will play the role of Obama against Clinton again. And, once again, there isn’t any signs that the people they’ve anointed to be the anti-Clinton (Warren, Brown) really are all that interested. Instead of talking about how a President Clinton or Brown or Warren would be most influenced by if the Democrats control the House or how many Democrats are in the Senate, they focus on different personalities and their styles and all that junk. Like I said, I’m beginning to think many of them might need help…

  • EH

    I can’t see this story as anything but a stalking horse for positioning Hillary. They certainly aren’t floating any more-centrist names, just more liberal.

    • Is Brown actually more liberal than Hillary?

      • Trollhattan

        Jerry is a centrist who’s still the product of his Jesuit schooling. Only the Overton Window’s shift off of the house and into the parking lot can make him appear to be a DFH in a suit. Having the line-item veto, he keeps his bill-slashing pencil sharp (not intended as a metaphor).

        Since Hillary has such limited time in legislative office, I won’t try to compare them on their records. Suspect they’re both pragmatists.

      • Leo Sayer

        Brown’s not nearly as liberal as his “Moonbeam” persona would indicate. He’s always been a technocratic centrist who has skeptical about spending money. He’s stabilized the state budget, and he wasn’t afraid to raise taxes to do it, but he sure isn’t in any hurry to replace all of the funding that was cut during the multi-year crisis. His best trait is his complete commitment to public service and his seeming incorruptibility; his worst is his federal court defying defense of our horrifying state prison system.

        • GoDeep

          Not having grown up in California I was skeptical abt the “Moonbeam” tag, but I’ve been more than pleasantly surprised since he’s been elected. Having lived there thru the Gray Davis & Arnie years I was skeptical that anyone could fix that budget (of which only abt 15-20% is discretionary) & right that ship but he did. And I really respect his fiscal discipline.

          My only criticisms of Brown is his defense of the state prison system & his vetoing of the domestic workers bill. I know this will go over like a lead balloon here but I think the public sector unions in Cali are just too strong. So I like the fact that he seems to have kept them somewhat at arm’s length. All in all he gets an A from me & I’m a tuff grader. Other than Obama I don’t think there’s a serving pol I like more. Yeah, I really wish he was 15yrs younger so he could take on another Clinton!

          • “I think the public sector unions in Cali are just too strong”

            #slatepitch

            • trollhattan

              Michelle Rhee’s grift factory has an answer for those mighty, mighty unions.

              http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/12/michelle-rhee-pushing-california-ballot-measure-to-change-teacher-laws.html

              CHP and prison guards have overly generous pension deals, the rest of the state employees, not. Municipalities cut their own deals, which has nothing to do with Jerry or the State.

              • GoDeep

                Thanks for the link, Trollhattan. Is there a good reason why seniority–instead of performance–should be the primary factor in layoffs???

                • #slatepitch

                • trollhattan

                  1. Fixing a problem that does not exist.
                  2. It’s a camel’s nose under the tent to bust unions.
                  3. Once #2 occurs, it’s an entre to privatize K-12 education.
                  As a parent, I say, “No thank you Michelle, now head on down to Texas where they’ll lurve you.”

                • sparks

                  Now, exactly who will be in charge of deciding precisely what “performance” means and how it will be measured, hmmm?

                  If you wanted to slam the ‘roided prison guards (the two I knew personally were, though that doesn’t necessarily mean the majority were/are) and their pensions, I might listen and sympathize. Even then I wouldn’t agree, though. With this teacher performance nonsense, all I can say is Leave. This country needs some states which can serve as a counterbalance to the all might and no rights states in our union, and I hate to see the likes of you here in CA. With 49 other choices, there must be a state more agreeable with your stances. Try there.

            • GoDeep

              Before you sneer look at the bankruptcy filing in Vallejo, Erik, and take a look at how much of the city budget went to police & firefighter salary, benes, & pensions. Since my own father was a cop & got screwed out of half his pension by GOP legislative skullduggery I’m very sensitive to these issues, but I don’t think you can look at Vallejo’s situation & come to any other conclusion than that the public sector unions there held too much sway.

              But the real nail in Vallejo’s coffin was the city’s labor costs. Under the current labor agreement, the average police officer walking the beat in Vallejo will be paid $122,000 this year before overtime, according to city documents. An average sergeant will make $151,000; a captain, $231,000. The average firefighter, meanwhile, will bring in $130,000 before overtime.

              That’s just the salaries, though. The final budget-crusher was the city’s pension plan. Thanks to retroactive benefit enhancements approved by the city council in 2000, police officers and firefighters can now retire at age 50 and receive an annual pension equal to 90% of their final pay (assuming 30 years on the job), an amount that gets increased every year to help keep pace with inflation. The old plan had given the workers a pension equal to 60% of their final pay at age 50…

              So what’s the lesson here? I’m certainly not suggesting that state and local workers be deprived of the pensions they were promised when they started their careers. That was part of the deal they signed up for and it should be honored. The police and firefighters of Vallejo, for example, were told they’d get a pension equal to 60% of their pay at age 50, and so they should.

              • I don’t come to that conclusion at all and I see many possible conclusions. You can blame the public sector unions, but perhaps rather than your #slatepitch comments, you should instead investigate how such pensions came to pass and what the larger labor and economic issues existed that allowed such agreements to be made.

                But bucking “conventional wisdom” is I’m sure more appealing to you.

                • GoDeep

                  But that’s how I came to these conclusions. I lived there, I studied the issues and I spoke to informed people in Vallejo. The public sector unions in CA have more power by far than any state I’ve lived in, including IL.

                  I’m not saying we need to de-fang them a la Scott Walker or stare them down a la Rahm Emanuel I’m just saying they have a bit too much power, you know, given the high salaries of cops & firefighters. The main thing is that public sector unions can throw a lot of $$$, organization & voters into CA elections which is in general good, its just not an unadulterated good.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                but did you read the last sentence of that article?

                every labor agreement is signed by *two* parties, both of whom have, as they say, ‘agency’. I don’t see that the union deserves the majority of the responsibility – the case could easily be made the city leaders should have known they were riding a real estate boom and shouldn’t have made long term deals based on that

                • GoDeep

                  Trust me, Jim, no pol who ever signs one of these deals will ever get my vote. The reason I like Jerry Brown is b/cs he’s pushes back against extremes like this.

                • Mike Jimenez

                  I like that you consider increasing the employee contribution to their pensions from 11% to 12% of pensionable salary a laudable push back. If only other anti-labor democrats were so reasonable.

  • UserGoogol

    For pure trivia’s sake, I like the idea of a presidential candidate who has presidential runs forty years apart. Jerry Brown is probably a more credible candidate than Harold Stassen was at his age, anyway.

    • wjts

      What’s Norman Thomas up to these days?

    • TribalistMeathead

      Just makes me wonder what might have happened if Mondale had beaten Norm Coleman for Paul Wellstone’s seat in 2002.

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