Dear Big Daddy,
It seems like Jerry Brown has already been named our next governor. The election is, like, three years away. What gives?
Dear Moonbeam Madness,
Ah, lil' Jerry Brown. I remember years ago, visiting the governor's office and tousling the adorable tyke's head–back when he had hair. And I'm not talking about when Pat was governor. What's that? You say Jerry's 69 years old now? Man oh man, time got away from me. There's nothing like being dead to make you feel old.
California has changed a lot since Jerry vacated the Horseshoe in 1983. But in many ways, he fits modern California pretty well. He's a good liberal with occasional unpredictable stands that make him seem more centrist. Heck, he ran for president on a flat-tax platform. I'm sure Jerry would say I'm misunderestimating the details, but wasn't that essentially Dubya's platform, minus the Jerry Bruckheimer foreign policy (ya know, lots of 'splosions)?
Now, three years is a long time in politics. It was less than three years ago that Arnie was looking like a doomed one-termer after his not-so-special election. We're one YouTube video of Gavin or Antonio saving a drowning puppy away from having a race again.
Still, there are plenty of other reasons Jerry seems to be acquiring a Hillary-esque aura of inevitability. For one thing, retro is in. I hear all the hip kids these days are wearing Izod shirts and sporting ironic legwarmers, so a third round of Jerry Brown might just be the ultimate fashion accessory. Though I gotta point out one thing to the kids: I was around in the 1980s, and a hot topics of conversation at the time is how folks in the future were going to ridicule the fashions of that time. Do your job, people of the future.
Besides that, it's been a good year for guys who got unflattering nicknames in bygone political eras. Witness Al Gore. "Ozone Man" may be Hillary's strongest competition, and he hasn't even agreed to run.
Then there's the familiarity factor. Ever since term limits came into play, voters have developed a deep and abiding love of retreads. Sometimes I think our electorate is like a married man who won't take a mistress because he's too lazy to remember a second name.
Here's a hint: find a mistress with the same first name as your wife. It'll make things much easier for you, and much harder for everyone else to figure out. Also, there's a good litmus test in there if you're undecided about whether or not to marry your girlfriend. If her name is, say, Allison or Elizabeth, go for it. If it's Hermina or Phillippa, that could really limit your options down the line.
OK, I got a little off subject there. But we all know mistresses are a key part of this story. Sometimes it's what you don't have that gives you an edge.
How has this race shaped up so far? To take an image from my Texas high-school-football days, there are plays where it looks like the running back is just hanging out in the backfield, lollygagging around like he doesn't really want to run. Then his teammates throw a couple key blocks and he squirts through for a big gain. That running back just might be Brown–and his teammates have names like Mirthala and Ruby (see above).
And speaking of not having things, Jerry's monastic lifestyle might also play well with scandal-weary voters. Never mind that he collected something like $8 million in campaign slush on his way to becoming AG–or that it might behoove him to double that if he really wants to become governor. All he has to do is put a billboard showing the apartment he lived in the last time he was our chief executive. You know, the one with a mattress on the floor, and nothing much else there. Showing off a bachelor pad befitting a slacker with six figures in student loans might not be too helpful in landing most jobs, but these days it might make the voters swoon.