Perhaps incoming California Governor Jerry Brown’s most effective ad in his successful fall campaign against Meg Whitman was the one where he used side-by-side clips of his Republican opponent saying the same things as the Republican incumbent.
People chose Brown because they wanted a change in Sacramento and believed Brown would be the least like outgoing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yet, as he prepares to take office tomorrow, there are few signs that he will do things much differently than Charlie Crist’s leading California cheerleader.
The once and future Democratic governor is keeping many of the ostensible Republican’s people in place:
But the real news may be that as much as things are changing here, much will stay the same. It is not simply that this is Mr. Brown’s third term as governor, but that he will be confronting the same budget issues that have vexed California political leaders for more than a decade. . . .
Despite the change in parties, few expect wholesale policy changes, since both men have fashioned themselves pragmatists. Arguably the most important cabinet position, the director of finance, is a holdover from the Schwarzenegger administration.
Now, this may well be a good thing, given that instead of focusing on personnel, Brown has been focusing on the budget. That budget may show a commitment to responsible Administration. But, we won’t know until we see it.
That said, personnel, as Reagnites well know, is policy. And the type of people Brown taps will help set the tenor of his term. That the state faces billion-dollar deficits (with no one really knowing the exact amount) and that Brown is keeping on the director of finance is not a good sign.
Well, while he did tie Whitman to Schwarenegger, he never said that he would be any different. But, he did imply it. . . Or did he?