Obvious Guy to Fix Calif.: Guy Who Broke It?

Despite one ruinous turn as governor, Jerry Brown is front-runner
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2009 5:16 AM CDT
California Attorney General Jerry Brown.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – California is a financial mess, hamstrung by some late-1970s leftovers: some ill-considered “low-impact liberalism” and a ballot measure that makes raising taxes nearly impossible. Both came during the governorship of Democrat Jerry Brown, he of the motto “Maybe by avoiding doing things you accomplish quite a lot”—and the leading candidate to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger in next year’s election.

Brown’s being so circumspect about his plans for the governorship that he hasn’t even made his candidacy official and, though he says reform is essential, his answer when pressed is, “I don’t know yet.” The state’s 71-year-old attorney general is immensely popular, despite the mess he helped create and, to Joe Mathews in the American Prospect, the absurdity that he’d be the guy tasked with fixing it. But as Brown himself has noted, “A little vagueness goes a long way in this business.”