Too busy to vote but not too busy to run, and from moonbeam to maintream…

Barring a highly unlikely upset in Tuesday’s California primary, the race for governor next fall will pit Republican Meg Whitman, a neophyte politician (and voter) and former E-Bay CEO against Democrat Jerry Brown, a politician for most of his life, to include two terms as governor back in the 70s when he was called “Governor Moonbeam” because of some of his seemingly strange ideas and weird behavior, to include sleeping on a mattress on the floor in a spartan apartment. He’s currently the state’s attorney general.

Brown is fun to listen to, at least as far as I’m concerned. Save for an appearance on some news discussion show a year or so ago, I’ve only seen Whitman in political commercials — basically she’s for everything that might appeal to anyone fed up with government and anyone who is at least somewhat socially tolerant (but not too tolerant), and I imagine she supports almost anything that might curry favor with the tea baggers, and so on. Basically, she wants to win.

I think her and her Republican opponent in the primary, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, are not far apart on the issues, maybe not apart at all, but she’s taller and he’s kind of geeky looking — she’ll win.

Brown was seen as kind of radical back in the 70s, but he had broad political appeal, maybe because the mood of the country at that time had turned a little left what with the just-ended Vietnam War that had shown just how pig-headed the establishment could be in its conduct of a futile war over a decade with no clear goal or at least no real intention to win (every intention to draft young men), but with the intention to continue to show we would fight communism.

(Wow that description was eerily close, save the draft, and communism, now replaced by terrorism, to the current Afghanistan War.)

But as the tax burdens grew and people were thus taxed out of their homes, along came Proposition 13 (not the current one, but some relation) to limit the raising of property taxes. Brown opposed it. But once the voters approved it, he embraced it. He was seen as a hypocrite, but actually I thought it showed how open-minded he was. He was willing to go along with the voters.

But Brown’s idea of the government saving money was, in part, to have the public realize that it had reached an “era of limits”. Even the so-called small government people didn’t like the sound of that.

Brown left politics for a time and then came back. He’s run for president few times, but was seen as a kind of fringe candidate. He served as mayor Oakland, and since the 70s he’s become a little more moderate to conservative to law and order and maybe a little more mainstream (but not ordinary).

I do recall now that I have heard him on his own radio talk show, and he conducts highly intelligent conversations on politics and issues of the day.

I’ll have to hear more from Whitman, but I am afraid she is more into sound bites and a highly controlled message and spouting the oft used line that because she comes from a business background she would run government more like a business. The only trouble is the government is not a business and cannot be run like one. People have tried. The current governor, Republican Arnold Swarzenegger, tried. Didn’t work. The state is essentially bankrupt. And the governor is not a CEO or even a king. He can’t just order things and they be done. Sorry folks, it’s all about politics (if we could only take the politics out of politics, but what fund would that be?).

Whitman may hold great promise. I don’t know. But she has a lot to learn about government and politics and issues. She has not voted much during her life. And as for those who do not keep up on the issues or are just too busy for it all, I would hope they would not vote. But I would prefer someone who is interested in it all to serve in public office.

Ironically, the other high-profile woman in the California primary is Republican and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who wants to get the chance to run against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Fiorina  is another one of those who have been too busy to vote. But come to think of it, both her and Whitman want California voters to take time out of their busy schedules to vote — for them.

Voting really does not take much effort these days. I know in California anyone can vote absentee and they send you everything in the mail and you send it back (or drop it off at your convenience). Of course one would hope you take time to follow the news. And don’t CEO’s follow the news?

Are they really interested in public service or is it just a kind of ego power trip?

Whitman, Poizner, and Fiorina are spending millions of dollars of their own money to get their respective jobs in what is the most expensive campaign in the state‘s history.

And I should add that Jerry Brown’s late father was former Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, a popular one in his time who nonetheless failed to realize people really would vote for a Grade B actor, Ronald Reagan.

The mood of the public changes quickly. Just ask Democrat Gray Davis, who was recalled seven years ago, garnering the dubious distinction of being only the second governor in U.S. history to be recalled (I did not vote for his recall, but I never did care for his hair do).

And the younger Brown, a Democrat, succeeded Republican Reagan, who had defeated his father (Reagan had decided to make his first bid for the presidency rather than run for another term as governor).

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ADD 1: Just wanted to mention here that California voters for some strange reason like to alternate the governorhship between Republicans and Democrats

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Yes, voters lose patience quickly, Just ask Barack Obama.

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