Is Brown Blowing It? Polls, Tapes & Hollywood


jerrysmugNow that Jerry Brown has swooped in and out of Hollywood to collect more than $1 million in a single night, it’s well past time for him to hire a cadre of actual professionals to manage and focus his scattershot uncampaign for governor.

The skinflint, pig-headed arrogance which so far has led him and chief of staff lovely wife Ann Gust to think they could steer his ambitions for a third term through the most uncertain political environment in recent years is starting to look stupid: Brown has awkwardly stumbled through the first real controversy of his nascent campaign at a time when Republican front-runner Meg Whitman has been steadily building strength. (Jerry Brown photo by Phil Konstantin)

Whatever you think of the methodology of the new November Rasmussen Poll that has Brown and Whitman tied (improbably, we think) at 41%, the megatrends of the survey (which had Brown leading in September 44%-35%) seem indisputable: Pushed aloft with more than $20 million in early spending, fueling a duck-and-hide strategy, eMeg right now is growing stronger, while Crusty seems determined to fritter away his dominant position by stubbornly maintaining the annoying conceit that he’s not really a candidate yet.

035-996The AG’s big haul in Bel-Air on Wednesday night at the $32-million home of Sandy Gallin, former agent for the likes of Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand and Michael Jackson, was “a huge success and a great launch for his effort down here,” according to organizer Andy Spahn, Steven Spielberg’s former political ramrod.

Spahn said the event raised more than $1 million from about 85 attendees who were invited by a host committee that included  JJ Abrams, Wallis Annenberg, Barry Diller, Larry Ellison, John Emerson, Diane von Furstenberg, David Geffen, Reed Hastings, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jena and Michael King, Katie McGrath, Peter Morton, Jan Chet Pipkin, Lynda and Stuart Resnick, Michele and Patrick Soon-Shiong, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, Curt Tamkin and Tom Unterman. Each of whom pledged to give or raise $50,000.


Calbuzz pressed Spahn for the most important detail — what was on the menu. But he  wouldn’t give it up, except to say that Wolfgang Puck catered the event and was there. (Since Andy wouldn’t say, Calbuzz will just assume Jerry’s Kids dined on roast duckling, spring lamb, veal, arugula, alfalfa sprouts and endive salad, washed down with Chateau Angelus St. Emilion Grand Cru 2005, eh?)

But hey, Jerry can raise all the damn money in the world and it won’t do him any good stuffed under the mattress in his Oakland loft. Brown’s contempt for political consultants is well known, demonstrated most recently with the release of a transcript of a taped interview with AP political writer Beth Fouhy back in April:

“I have been around for awhile. When my father ran for governor they didn’t have all these paid consultants, you had volunteers…now everybody has vendors to talk to them about your hair style and about their internet page and their this and that. The consultants take an enormous salary but they gotta do something…When you pay these guys twenty grand a month they have to produce something. The candidates often don’t understand because they haven’t been doing these things.”

matthauWell guess what, Mr. Cranky Pants Walter Matthau wannabe? This ain’t your father’s campaign for governor.

There isn’t a good political consultant in America, enormously paid or not, who would have allowed the flap over former spokesman Scott Gerber’s secret taping of reporters to mushroom from a one-day kerfuffle story into an 18-day tortuous ordeal the way you did, before it finally dawned on you that the thing would never end until you tossed it to somebody credible enough to conduct an independent investigation.

Our progressive friends over at Calitics may be just a tad hysterical in the face of the new Rasmussen numbers: “Enough of this dithering from Brown already,” the estimable Brian Leubitz cried out yesterday.

Which caused Brown adviser Steve Glazer to reply: “They should work harder for Jerry Brown. We need all segments of the Democratic Party to pull together if we’re going to win this race against a deep-pocketed Republican.”carradine

Cool and breezy,  Grasshopper.  But Leubitz nailed it when he wrote of Brown:  If he wants to run for governor, great, fantastic, let’s do it. But Brown needs to realize that he just can’t skate through without bothering to announce that he’s running.


P.S. We don’t have access to the Rasmussen survey questions, the crosstabs or crucial information about the poll that would give us confidence to take it seriously. Some friends who’ve seen some crosstabs tell us it models the expected November electorate 44% Democrat and 38% Republican, which is a bit of a tilt toward the Republicans, but not too bad. But we don’t know who the client was (if any), what ballot titles were read to respondents, how the sample was drawn, what the geographic or demographic distributions were, etc., etc., etcFor our guidelines on taking polls seriously, click here.

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There are 8 comments for this post

  1. avatar centered says:

    Rassmussen is a paid agent of the GOP. When’s the last (or even the first) time he worked for a Dem or progressive cause. Wouldn’t surprise me if his client was Fox News aka Roger Ailes. Good news thought, maybe it will get Mr. Moonbeam off his ass and onto the ticket.

  2. avatar Ave7 says:

    Memo to Dems: Can we all just take a chill pill?

    It’s one year until election day. Preparing for a campaign against a gazillionaire, Brown should be raising money, and he is doing that quite well. He is the sitting Attorney General, so he should be doing that, and he is. He should be doing some campaign appearances here and there, and he is — but let’s be honest, Californians aren’t ready for rallies, bus tours, 15 point recovery plans, attack ads and precinct walking for the general election.

    The worst thing that Brown could do now would be to spend money — on ads, consultants, toilet paper or anything else. He has no primary and he’ll need every penny for the general.

    As for Whitman, she does have a primary (against another gaziollionaire) and needs to be spending all this money. But let’s not pretend that her rise in the polls in the primary predicts any effect on the general election. (It might not even predict an effect on her primary.) She’s actually following the Checchi-Trajectory quite nicely.

    Anxious Democrats need to get over the fact that, with no Democratic primary, for the next six months all of the campaign activities, the headlines, the debate coverage, the insider buzz, the polling progress, etc. are going to be about Whitman and Poizner, not Jerry Brown.

    Brown suits up in June, 2010. Until then, please realize that Californians don’t want Jerry Brown in their face every day. If you don’t believe me, go outside the 95814 zip code, knock on 20 doors, and ask the people how they’re feeling about Whitman’s surge, Poizner’s pandering to conservatives, Campbell’s tax proposal, and Brown’s low-key campaign.

    Just don’t be disappointed if the door hits your nose.

  3. avatar chronboy says:

    Interesting to note that most of the talking heads (present company excluded, of course) calling for Jerry to start hiring political consultants are consultants themselves.

  4. avatar Ironsides says:

    My first job in politics was in 1963 working for Monagan and Veneman (may they R.I.P.) and have been continuously involved in California politics since Big Daddy Unruh locked up the Assembly until they passed a budget.

    Having worked directly and indirectly for numerous candidates I, respectively, must disagree with Ave7’s conclusion that Brown doesn’t need a team of consultants.

    There is a myriad of things that can and should be done NOW such as polling, focus groups; researching, drafting, debating internally position papers; working on Brown’s verbal skills and honing them for the press; reconciling his changed positions on crime/law enforcement etc. etc. etc.

    I could go on and on but the point is clear…he needs to formally announce in January and reveal his front line management team at that time.

    Aaaa,men; aaamen, amen, amen!

    PS: Hopefully, this time, he won’t be sleeping on the floor; riding around in an aged blue Plymouth with Gray Davis at the wheel and Jacque Barzarjacque (sp.) as his spritual advisor.

  5. avatar dtlajaime says:

    LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL HAS ASKED AG Jerry Brown to step in with advice on Compassionate Care Act regulation. They desire AG Official statement on the Calif Laws regarding how medical marijuana is to be distributed to those patients who have Doctors consults perscribing use of medical cannabis. The city attny and district attorney have not helped clarify the issues.

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