Jerry Brown may challenge Hillary for Dem nomination

Signs are accumulating that California Governor Jerry Brown, fresh off a 20-point re-election victory and with at least $20 million in unspent campaign funds available, may challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.  John Fund writes in NRO:

…when his political aides sent out an invitation for a $5,000 fundraiserin Sacramento next Monday, there was inevitable speculation: Jerry Brown may run for president for the fourth time.

If he challenges Hillary Clinton, Brown can claim solid credentials as a liberal leader. He has raised taxes on the rich, been an avid backer of climate-change regulation, and was one of the few Democrats in the country to win white males this past election. “He convinced California voters to support a water bond, a rainy day fund, a reduction in prison sentences, and more,” notes Joel Pollak of Breitbart News. “He is Elizabeth Warren with real executive experience and without the fake heritage.”

Among those openly pushing for a Brown candidacy is HBO’s Bill Maher, who is condemning ageism (Brown will be 78 years old in 2016).  Chuck Todd of NBC News is also predicting that Brown may run.

As John Fund noted last year:

If Brown runs, some observers will inevitably say he’s engaging in a grudge match against the Clintons. In 1992, Brown ran for president and almost derailed Bill Clinton’s nomination by winning in Maine, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, Vermont, and Connecticut. “There’s a lot of history between the Clintons and Jerry Brown, and it’s mostly bad,” recalls Phil Matier of CBS in San Francisco. “He ran against Bill Clinton and really went after him on ethics. He raised questions about Hillary working in the Arkansas law firms when Clinton was governor. Clinton and Brown were not friendly, and Brown embarrassed Clinton on national TV, though they made up a bit, as politicians do. But there’s no love lost between the Clintons and the Browns.” (snip)

One could also expect a populist campaign that would attack Hillary in the same way that Brown derided his own party’s congressional leadership in 1992: They were, he said, nothing more than a “Stop-and-Shop for the moneyed special interests.” 

A vigorous Brown campaign against Hillary would really soften her up, and force her to spend some of the money she will be raising and hoarding for the general election.

Might Brown actually win the nomination?  There’s no way to know in advance, but I doubt it.  Hillary has a lot more political chits to call in, and a vast fundraising capability that Brown could not match.  Richard Baehr is also skeptical:

Hillary has had a near 60 year goal of being first woman president.  Jerry Brown will be an annoyance, but that is about it. The party establishment is all in for her, since they know the Clintons will raise tons of money and have run two general election campaigns successfully already. Many Dems in Congress are not big Clinton fans, since Bill lost control of Congress in 1994 due to reaction to Hillary-care.   I think many people are tired of her, though she will get all the glass ceiling-breaking attention from the mainstream press, which does matter.

But if Brown did manage to secure the nomination, he would not be invincible.  His pet project to install a so-called “high speed” rail line between the Bay Area and Los Angeles is a first-class boondoggle, already estimated to cost more than double what voters were promised when they passed the initiative creating the project, and certain to skyrocket beyond that level, as all major public works projects in California do (see the Bay Bridge’s new Eastern span, now estimated to cost $12 billion with bond interest and suffering from corrosion and other problems).  The train will average something around 80 miles per hour, about what fast trains did a hundred years ago.  The project has given up on constructing high-speed rail within the metropolitan areas at either end of the line, citing expense, so the “high speed” trains will share tracks with freight trains and commuter rail.  By 2016 we can count on problems with the project to multiply.  They always do on massive public works construction projects in California.

Run, Jerry, run!

Signs are accumulating that California Governor Jerry Brown, fresh off a 20-point re-election victory and with at least $20 million in unspent campaign funds available, may challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.  John Fund writes in NRO:

…when his political aides sent out an invitation for a $5,000 fundraiserin Sacramento next Monday, there was inevitable speculation: Jerry Brown may run for president for the fourth time.

If he challenges Hillary Clinton, Brown can claim solid credentials as a liberal leader. He has raised taxes on the rich, been an avid backer of climate-change regulation, and was one of the few Democrats in the country to win white males this past election. “He convinced California voters to support a water bond, a rainy day fund, a reduction in prison sentences, and more,” notes Joel Pollak of Breitbart News. “He is Elizabeth Warren with real executive experience and without the fake heritage.”

Among those openly pushing for a Brown candidacy is HBO’s Bill Maher, who is condemning ageism (Brown will be 78 years old in 2016).  Chuck Todd of NBC News is also predicting that Brown may run.

As John Fund noted last year:

If Brown runs, some observers will inevitably say he’s engaging in a grudge match against the Clintons. In 1992, Brown ran for president and almost derailed Bill Clinton’s nomination by winning in Maine, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, Vermont, and Connecticut. “There’s a lot of history between the Clintons and Jerry Brown, and it’s mostly bad,” recalls Phil Matier of CBS in San Francisco. “He ran against Bill Clinton and really went after him on ethics. He raised questions about Hillary working in the Arkansas law firms when Clinton was governor. Clinton and Brown were not friendly, and Brown embarrassed Clinton on national TV, though they made up a bit, as politicians do. But there’s no love lost between the Clintons and the Browns.” (snip)

One could also expect a populist campaign that would attack Hillary in the same way that Brown derided his own party’s congressional leadership in 1992: They were, he said, nothing more than a “Stop-and-Shop for the moneyed special interests.” 

A vigorous Brown campaign against Hillary would really soften her up, and force her to spend some of the money she will be raising and hoarding for the general election.

Might Brown actually win the nomination?  There’s no way to know in advance, but I doubt it.  Hillary has a lot more political chits to call in, and a vast fundraising capability that Brown could not match.  Richard Baehr is also skeptical:

Hillary has had a near 60 year goal of being first woman president.  Jerry Brown will be an annoyance, but that is about it. The party establishment is all in for her, since they know the Clintons will raise tons of money and have run two general election campaigns successfully already. Many Dems in Congress are not big Clinton fans, since Bill lost control of Congress in 1994 due to reaction to Hillary-care.   I think many people are tired of her, though she will get all the glass ceiling-breaking attention from the mainstream press, which does matter.

But if Brown did manage to secure the nomination, he would not be invincible.  His pet project to install a so-called “high speed” rail line between the Bay Area and Los Angeles is a first-class boondoggle, already estimated to cost more than double what voters were promised when they passed the initiative creating the project, and certain to skyrocket beyond that level, as all major public works projects in California do (see the Bay Bridge’s new Eastern span, now estimated to cost $12 billion with bond interest and suffering from corrosion and other problems).  The train will average something around 80 miles per hour, about what fast trains did a hundred years ago.  The project has given up on constructing high-speed rail within the metropolitan areas at either end of the line, citing expense, so the “high speed” trains will share tracks with freight trains and commuter rail.  By 2016 we can count on problems with the project to multiply.  They always do on massive public works construction projects in California.

Run, Jerry, run!