by Jason Williams, Mon Nov 22, 2010 at 05:48:51 PM EST
William Bradley serves up an expansive campaign diary style recap of Jerry Brown's win against Whitman in California.
...the story as told in the cut-back conventional media is on the under-cooked side.
Which is not surprising, since virtually all the state and national press early on anointed Whitman as an unstoppable high-tech juggernaut of a campaign run by the best consultants in the business. Up against poor old Jerry Brown and his ragtag little band. When in reality, it was Ali-Foreman '74 all along, with what I called Brown's Zen rope-a-dope approach unfolding as anticipated.
Jerry Brown ended his campaign and began his gubernatorial transition in the place where he regenerated as a political figure: Oakland. If you want to understand the stunning Brown comeback, you'll understand the significance of Oakland as its nexus.
... In all, a fitting symbol of regeneration both for a city and for a politician...
One race I couldn't help myself from following. In ways, the archetypal battle between the corporate-backed superfunded candidate who wanted to "run California like a business," and the quirkly, admitedly flawed underdog, speaking often about "rebirth" and "renewal" in a decidedly hokey fashion.
No doubt my impression is oversimplied, but I'm certain the conventional wisdom circulating about the race misses the mark much further.
CA Democratic Party fundraiser Wade Randlett, for example:
Brown beat back the national conservative wave with a message that "I will be a frugal governor who will make hard decisions, who won't tax people without their approval," Randlett said. "It was a moderate, centrist message" that exit polls show played especially well with Latinos and women voters in California.
Party conditioning at it's glaring worst. Any Democrat who won in 2010 obviously ran center, with a moderate message.
But Brown only tracked center on two points: promising "no new taxes (without public approval)" and endorsing pension reforms, vaguely stating he would like "other concessions" from unions as well. Outside of that, Brown ran more often as a progressive. More from Bradley:
"I want the people of California to know we will have times that are tough, maybe a year more," Brown cautioned his excited supporters in his victory speech. Then he gave the uplift. "I take as my challenge a common purpose based on a vision of what California can be. I see California leading in renewable energy, public education and an openness to every person."
Brown beat back the "national conservative wave" by saving his money until the end, running smart -- The Twins! -- and -- whether he truly will be as Governor or not -- walking and talking like a progressive, without apology. No doubt he did appeal to moderates in contrast with Whitman's reach for the Tea Party on issues like immigration and social services, but to say this was the deciding factor in Brown's successful campaign largely ignores the majority of what was presented to California voters on the ballot.
Brown didn't win the middle by speaking to them only as a moderate. He won them by default while campaigning foremost for his base, careful not to throw them to the wolves in search of centrist appeal.
There's a lesson in there somewhere, I'm sure...