Dear Big Daddy,
What did you think about the governor saying Republicans don’t have any cojones?
–Wondering in Gualala
I liked it.
Not only because it’s true, but because he nailed the emotional linkage between anti-tax Republicans and religious fanatics. That’s intriguing because drawing a connection between GOP zealots and church zealots hasn’t been done before – and it took a former seminarian to do it.
There is irony here, though: When Jerry was governor the first time around, he was the last guy you’d be looking at in a full-blown search for cojones. That young guy on the make wasn’t risking anything. He paddled on the left and paddled on the right; the cojones were back on the beach.
But that was then and now is now, and who is there among us who will say, “I haven’t changed?”
Now he is a crusty geezer who’s fed up with legislators – especially Republicans – and his own cojones seem to be growing rather than shriveling.
“If you’re 15 minutes late to church, you could burn in hell. That’s how Republicans are about taxes,” he told a local Los Angeles paper. “There’s a fanaticism. They are deeply stuck in a no-tax identity that is almost now, on the national level, a religion … ’No taxes’ is a central dogma in the new Republican church. You can’t deviate,” he said. “They won’t burn you at the stake, but they’ll recall you … nobody up here has the courage or cojones to do anything about it,” he said.
Now, those are damn fine quotes, my friend. This governor gives good quote.
You don’t often get a governor using words like “cojones” and “dogma” and “burn you at the stake” and “fanaticism” in a few brief sentences, and one who is happy to offend any number of groups. Being offensive is a good skill in politics, and knowing how and when to offend people can get you elected and keep you in office.
I developed being offensive to a fine art, and it always served me well. True, I never got elected governor, but I was a pistol as speaker – when I offended everybody including the governor – and when I ran those institutional investors I was master of the universe.
Jerry’s lines were the best since his dad, Pat Brown, was touring a flood area and said, “This is the worst disaster in California since I was elected governor.” Pat and I didn’t see eye-to-eye, of course, and I didn’t bring up that quote to embarrass him; I’m past that now. And right now I’ll say straight up that he was right – it was the worst disaster since he was elected.
Of course, his son is right, too, about the cojones. Any California lawmaker who would bow to the wishes of an out-of-state mountebank like Grover Norquist should be deeply ashamed. But Republicans did exactly that, in effect transferring their authority to Norquist, who knows as much about California as I do about 24-Hour Fitness. Nobody seems to be ashamed, however, and that makes me blush.
And I don’t blush easily.