We were just settling down for a long winter’s nap when our old friend Mark Barabak, obviously with too much time on his hands — hasn’t this guy ever heard of holiday shopping? — filed a story suggesting that Gov. Jerry Brown is being urged to run for president for the fourth time.
“I think Jerry is precisely what America needs,” Rose Ann DeMoro, the leader of a national nurses union and a strong political ally of Brown, told Barabak. “He has the courage of his convictions, which we haven’t seen in a very long while.”
You heard it here first: Jerry Brown will not run for president in 2016 because 1) he’s older than the ballpoint pen, 2) his best friends and allies will tell him he’d have to be crazy to do it and 3) he’s not an idiot.
Having said that Brown will not run, we have to offer this advisory: When he reads this, he will likely say or do something to suggest that he’s seriously thinking about it. That’s because Brown will be irritated that Calbuzz has presumed to predict what he will or will not do.
But it’ll be a head fake — just like the one he gave Willie Brown recently when, as Da Mayor reported, he asked Willie what he thought about the idea (in order to get the former Speaker to do an item in his column); the erstwhile Speaker now flogging Brown’s chances for president, of course, is the very same alleged insider who declaimed from the rooftops that Dianne Feinstein would run for governor in 2010. You could look it up.
Of course, he’s thought about it: Jerry Brown won’t be a candidate for president, no matter how strongly he’s urged to run by the likes of Ralph Nader, the loathsome, narcissistic “independent” whose 2000 campaign siphoned enough votes in key places to allow George Bush to defeat Al Gore.
It’s not that Gandalf hasn’t thought about it. He’s been wondering about it since his election to governor in 2010. He does not want to become irrelevant. He wants to matter.
Recall his answer when he was asked about running for president during a 2010 debate with Meg Whitman:
Asked how voters could be sure he wouldn’t run for president again like he did the last time he was elected governor, Brown replied: “Age. Hell, if I was younger you know I’d be running again. But I’d say at 74, whatever it’s going to be in a couple of years, I’m ready. One more thing, I now have a wife. And you know, I come home at night. I don’t try to close down the bars of Sacramento like I used to do when I was governor of California.”
In 2014, Brown doesn’t have a political operation to speak of (except for his wife Anne Gust Brown), he doesn’t have a national financial network of presidential scale and although he’d like to be president, he’s also become a realist. And at 75, he knows he’s too damn old to run a grueling fourth national campaign. (He’s not even darkening his eyebrows anymore!)
Yes, debating Hillary Clinton could be fun and engaging Big Bill again might be invigorating. But to what purpose? He can get a slot speaking at the Democratic National Convention just because he’s governor of the largest state, if he wants one. But to run for president he’d have to have a schedule, and advance, and kiss butts in Iowa and New Hampshire, and, did we mention, have a schedule.
Moreover, he’s having a blast being governor (and, btw, he’s done a damn good job) and he’s intent on surpassing his father, the late Pat Brown, to become known as California’s greatest governor. Unlike his earlier years, he doesn’t have a pack of adoring people around him urging him to take the plunge.
The Jerry Brown who ran three times for president was an idealist. Today, Jerry Brown is a realist.
Bottom line: So enjoy, Mark Z, Carla and Joe, Politico, The Fix and whoever. Toss Jerry’s name into your stories. Find people who will tout his candidacy. Ain’t gonna happen.