California: Home of Even More Strange Politicians

Posted by at 8:40PM
This is Jerry Brown's official portrait as Governor.

This is Jerry Brown's official portrait as Governor of California in the late 70s.

A few days ago, I wrote about California’s increasingly-wacky set of prospective politicians and their recent newsworthy shenanigans. But there’s more: running alongside Meg “Campaign-literature-is-real-literature” Whitman in the race for California governor are Steve Poizner and Jerry Brown, both of whom warrant more than just a passing mention.

Just two days after Whitman’s newsworthy stunt, Republican Poizner (who also happens to be a Stanford Business alum) faced heavy criticism at a book signing for his new book, “Mount Pleasant: My Journey from Creating a Billion-Dollar Company to Teaching at a Struggling Public High School,” which details his year as a teacher at a public school in San Jose. Students and teachers are upset at some of Poizner’s descriptions of the school and its students, particularly the following passage:

From an intellectual standpoint, I absolutely knew not to expect Silicon Valley-caliber ambition and smarts from East San Jose school kids.

Poizner obviously timed his book release to help boost his chances at winning the Republican primary, in which he is currently languishing behind Whitman by nearly 50 percentage points. And while it doesn’t seem like the most intelligent move to insult the constituents whom you are trying to get to elect you, Poizner probably wasn’t going to win this–as he called it in his book–“ghetto” area, which has a Cook PVI of +16.

Whoever wins the Republican nomination will likely go against the Democratic gubernatorial front-runner, former California governor Jerry Brown. Brown is, as the New York Times says, “non-traditional”–evidenced by his official gubernatorial portrait (above), his nickname of “Governor Moonbeam,” and his list of former paramours, including Linda Ronstadt. His interesting style has carried over to the age of social media: two months ago, Brown posted “25 Random Things About Me” on his Facebook, which puts him in an elite group of Facebook chain posters along with every middle school girl in the country. However, in random fact number 8, Brown notes that “he dislikes shopping,” which distinguishes him from every middle school girl in the country.

PoliticsDaily gives a very telling description of Brown:

This [run for governor] is a new guise for Brown, a quirky gadfly who last appeared on the national political stage in 1992 as a quixotic candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Brown’s candidacy was propelled by his long-held conviction that politics — and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton — had been corrupted by excessive contributions, which Brown proposed to limit to $100.

Brown–whose father, Pat Brown, also served as governor of California (the Browns book-ended the governorship of some guy named Ronald Reagan)–ran for President of the US three times to no avail. And perhaps most tellingly, Brown was noted for being unwilling to drive any car but his own Plymouth.

What does this all mean? Well, for one thing, November’s election is going to be interesting. And no matter who wins, they might be even stranger than the current former bodybuilder/action movie star with a heavy Austrian accent who is in office now.



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