Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy,
I know you don’t watch much TV, but what do you think of the anti-Jerry Brown ad by the California Chamber of Commerce?
–Inquisitive in Inverness

Dear Inquisitive,
Sam Rayburn and I often have lunch together, and when someone mentions the chamber of commerce – any chamber of commerce – I think of him.

That’s because he hated the chambers of commerce with a passion unparalleled. He felt they trampled the rights of just about everybody except their top dues-paying members, and that they didn’t advocate for business people so much as for large corporations that maintained a stranglehold on government. They intervened in elections on behalf of the trusts and when the smoke cleared, the world was worse off than before.

The hypocrisy of the state Chamber of Commerce in presenting itself as the champion of business is clear, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a Chamber-backed TV ad aimed at a Democratic candidate for governor should reek of hypocrisy, too. The Chamber said the ad is intended to “educate California voters on jobs, the economy taxes and spending.”  Actually, the ad in its entirety is an attack on Brown.

Saying this ad is not an attack ad is like saying Steve Poizner really pushed that car down off the cliff all by himself in that weird TV ad he’s running these days. Speaking of Poizner, I was half hoping this being the Easter season that someone might resurrect the apparently dead Poizner campaign. But Monday morning, I looked down in the political tomb, and there it was – lying there like a puddle of tapioca pudding. It’s only two months until Election Day, and Steve Poizner is still running perhaps the worst-ever $15 million campaign in human history, still down in the polls and talking about issues nobody cares about.

But I digress. Now, where was I? Oh yes, attacking Jerry Brown.

Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with hypocrisy or trampling the rights of anybody or attacking Brown – after all, I was an Assembly speaker. But I’ve always believed you should stab people in the front rather than the back. That way, everybody sees the blood and lessons are learned – and remembered.

And Brown is a deserving target. He bobs and weaves better than Cassius Clay, he tap dances better than Gene Kelly, he shifts sideways better than Ray Nitschke, he emerges from the shadows better than the Great Santini. He, well, you get the idea…

So going after Brown is fair game. But going after Brown by saying you’re engaged in a lofty campaign to educate voters is less than stellar. And this doesn’t cut it: Purporting to represent everyday Californians while you are boosting the campaign of a billionaire cash cow who has spent $59 million on her own campaign and has shown scant interest in public service until now.

Now it’s easy for me to take shots at the Chamber. They can’t kill me. They can’t run somebody against me – although they backed my foes when I was alive. They can’t make fun of me. I suppose they can excoriate  Capitol Weekly for running my column – but everybody already does that.

All is not negative, though.


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