It is going to take a long time to fully grasp that Californians overwhelmingly elected a man who, when he last served as governor, was widely ridiculed for his eccentricity and decisively rejected when he ran for the Senate after two terms as chief executive of the Golden State. Memories of his strangeness lingered such that ten years after he left office, California Democrats rejected his umpteenth bid for the White House in 1992. Even then, he seemed like old news.
But, 18 years later, memories have grown dim and public employee unions more powerful. “It could be argued that [Jerry] Brown owes labor big time,” writes Steven Harman in the Contra Costa Times,
. . . after they poured in $30 million through an independent expenditure effort that helped keep Republican Meg Whitman at bay during the summer. That enabled Brown to hold onto his resources until Labor Day, a critical move that positioned Brown for a fall campaign that ultimately prevailed.
Emphasis added. Wonder why that summer expenditure did not get as much play as Meg’s wealth. Nor the “Million More Voters” effort in the fall. Nor the fact that, unlike Meg’s Republicans, Brown’s Democrats didn’t need to pay for a Get Out the Vote effort because the labor unions were providing that free of charge.
Perhaps, in this case, Brown’s eccentricity will serve us well and he won’t see this support as requiring him to return the favor.
I remain skeptical, however, but will give the Democrat credit if he stands up to the interest groups who bankroll his party — and who seem most relieved by the election returns:
Mostly, labor is relieved they don’t have to face trying to negotiate employee contracts with Whitman, who had vowed to cut 40,000 state employees, said Garcia, whose local, SEIU 1000, led a Latino independent expenditure effort against Whitman.
And wasn’t it Brown’s understudy Gray Davis who hired 40,000 new workers shortly after the took office in 1999? Not long thereafter, the state, in sound fiscal shape under Governor Pete Wilson through the 1990s, started seeing red ink pouring through the streets of Sacramento.
And note what else Harman slips into the article, information about another independent expenditure effort against Whitman. Independent in Name Only. Seems this one too was backed by the unions.
Perhaps, Mr. Harman should look into all those union efforts and tally their costs. Might make an interesting article. Too bad it won’t come out before the election so voters could understand who was behind the efforts to undermine Meg. Seems it was the same folks who were behind the policies which undermined the Golden State’s fiscal health.