The days of pausing between primary and general elections are over. The stakes for election these days are simply too high. Our problems are great and we need leaders up to the task. Jerry Brown, in but two days, proved to everyone that he is not up to the task.
Going Negative Because Brown Has No Plan.
Ultimately, voters prefer to vote for something over voting against something. The greatest of our leaders seek not just to get elected – but to get elected with a mandate for action. In order to achieve that mandate, a leader must provide a clear road map of where he or she wants to take the state or the country. To be sure, campaigns – especially between candidates of the same party – feature negative ads – especially down the wire. But if we learned anything from the Whitman/Poizner race, it is something we already knew: if the voters perceive your first action is to go negative – then you will drive up your own negatives as well – and they may never know what positive you have to offer.
Before we get to Jerry Brown, it is important to note that there can be little doubt that Meg Whitman has a plan. Months ago she published a stunning 48 page brochure on that plan. It is stunning because most politicians don’t want to go on record with such exactitude lest they open themselves up to criticism. Leadership, however, doesn’t pause for fear.
In that 48 pages, you can find Meg’s 3 point plan (1) to create jobs, (2) cut spending, (3) and fix education. Those are incredibly pressing problems and her focused plans tell me that she already knows the first lesson of a new government executive: don’t chase too many rabbits at once – lest you catch none of them – and so she plans to veto the hundreds and hundreds of yearly bills outside those 3 priorities.
How does she intend to achieve her top 3 priorities? She will achieve them with such common sense plans as (1) eliminating the $800 fee that new business start-ups are currently required to pay in California (p. 11), (2) providing a more favorable depreciation schedule to encourage farmers, manufacturers and other companies to invest in new equipment and technology (p. 12), (3) consolidating duplicative tax collection agencies (p. 28) and (4) eliminating California’s cap on charter schools (p. 32) among many other sound ideas in her 48 page plan.
What is Jerry Brown’s plan? He hasn’t proposed a plan despite knowing that he was going to run for this office for the better part of two years. After all, why rush into something like plan to tackle the problems facing a state that represents over 16% of the US economy, record unemployment and 30% of the nation’s welfare recipients?
What is Jerry to do without a plan? Go negative – and go negative he did right out of the general election box. The very first day after Whitman won her primary – Brown and his allies went negative with ads and rhetoric. The office of California Governor should expect more than that and so should our voters.
Going Jerry Because He Has Nothing to Say. It is no secret that Jerry Brown has hoof and mouth disease. After all, he got that moniker Governor Moonbeam the old-fashioned way – he earned it. Since then, if anything, he has become worse. On day 2 of the general election cycle, Jerry Brown compared Whitman to a Nazi propagandist. It was beyond an ugly remark and certainly beneath the office. It is in keeping, however, with Brown’s undisciplined, rambling comments that have become his speeches of late.
In the final analysis, Meg Whitman has put forth a comprehensive road to recovery worthy of a general election and the Governorship. Read it and get to know it. Jerry Brown, on the other hand, even after three decades in office, has proven in just 2 days, that he is not up to the job.