Every once in a while, during a political campaign, a politician says or does something which changes the trajectory of the race — or prevents it from turning in his favor. And no matter what he says or does after that, he can’t gain any traction. You could say a “macaca” is holding him back.
Jerry Brown may have just done that:
The former governor is fuming at an ad that what Mark Halperin calls “the best TV spot by any campaign all cycle” where Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman merely shows footage from Bill Clinton taking Brown to task during a debate in the 1992 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Now, despite Republiccans’ best efforts, the former Democratic president remains popular in the Golden State. So, it was a smart move for Meg to publicize this exchange. As Halperin puts it:
Brown’s dissing of Bill Clinton is probably not going to sit too well with the many California voters with whom the former president is still majorly popular. And it surely makes the prospect that Clinton would campaign for Brown — not a sure thing before — even less likely.
And the outburst captured on the video is sure to reinforce the meme that Brown is a gaffe-prone hothead, since he has made more such mistakes than first-time candidate Whitman, a fact much noted by the media and of concern to some leading Democrats.
Brown’s recent outburst (in what looks like a sparsely-attended gathering) will only compound the damage of the ad. Even Rick Sanchez featured the story on CNN. Given that most of those who still watch that network tend to vote Democratic, this could cause some moderate (and otherwise Clinton-loving) Democrats to sit this one out.
Moe Lane says the ad “put Brown over the edge into – and I do not make this statement lightly – incoherency.” Not a quality we want in a leader. Ed Morrissey reminds us just how much damage this does to Brown’s campaign:
This demonstrates Brown’s airheaded approach to campaigning, his tendency to shoot off his mouth without thinking, and inability to think strategically. Even if Brown wasn’t an old retread from the 1970s, Californians should wonder why they would put their state in the hands of a candidate who can’t even get his opponents straight.
UPDATE: Yahoo! may be featuring the story of Brown’s apology prominently on its home page to help the embattled former Governor, but it can only hurt the Democrat, reminding people of his loose tongue and of his differences with a popular Democrat who, even before he won the White House, beat Brown on his home turf (winning the California Democratic primary in 1992).