Why the Governor Should Run for Boxer’s Seat


Boxer-retireTo the surprise of no one, septuagenarian U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer confirmed Thursday (in a cheesy video) that she will not seek re-election in two years, offering California Democrats a terrific opportunity to send their best possible successor to Washington: Jerry Brown.

Sure, Governor Gandalf at 76 is even older than the retiring Babs, but his good genes (remember Aunt Connie?) plus good exercise and diet habits, would make the age issue a non-starter for him.

More importantly, his singular political skills, encyclopedic policy knowledge and commitment to the overarching importance of addressing climate change in a serious way put him bald head and shoulders above the potential field of careerist mediocrities otherwise lusting for Boxer’s seat.

Instead of just four more years of Jerry Brown, California might get another 10 or more.

While Boxer has served as a fierce advocate for women, the environment and progressive causes, Brown has actually governed – a skill that could be put to good use in Washington when the Democrats, after 2016, will most likely control the White House and have retaken the Senate.

gavinkamalaAs for Prince Gavin and Queen Kamala, here’s how the deal could go down: Two years into his term, Brown hands off the keys to the horseshoe to 47-year old Lieutenant Governor Newsom (who would get the benefit of two years of on-the-job training before seeking the post on his own) while 50-year old Attorney General Harris would be the odds-on favorite to replace (by then) 85-year-old Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Everybody’s a winner!

As for the rest of the lean and hungry crowd — ex-L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, billionaire enviro Tom Steyer, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Treasurer John Chiang, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, and any other ambitious types– would just have to stand down if Jerry goes for Senate. Key reason: they’d get creamed.

jerrygandalfIn the interest of full disclosure: Calbuzz has no, what you might call, Actual Facts, let alone Real Evidence, suggesting that Brown would even contemplate such a move.

However, key sources close to our imagination suggest he shouldn’t dismiss the possibility out of hand, for at least three reasons:

1) Having just been re-elected, he’d have a free ride to go for Senate in 2016;

2) Borrr-dom. Brown already straightened out the mess in Sacramento, as the new/old sheriff in town and, at this point, can handle his duties there with one hand affixed to his lumbar sacrum;

3) Having accomplished the Freudian karmic task of surpassing his late father, Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, for longevity as governor, he can now set about avenging the one and only political loss of his life, his defeat to Pete Wilson in the 1982 Senate race.

There are, to be sure, certain uncertainties with the bold Calbuzz plan.

BBonboxOthers in history who have tried tricky Governor-Senate tradeoff moves have wished they hadn’t – hello Bill Knowland! And Harris would be taking the biggest political chance in betting on Difi to exit the Capitol Hill premises four years hence, when Herself might decide she wants to break Cornelius Cole’s record as the oldest Senator in the history of the nation.

But if Brown decides to go, she wouldn’t have much choice.

Bottom line: Let’s be blunt: after 34 years in Congress, Boxer will probably be best remembered for a $600 toilet seat. Clearly, we credit her for being a passionate, consistent and voluble voice for women’s issues and the environment. And whenever a spokesperson for a progressive cause was needed, the diminutive Boxer could be counted to stand on her literal little soapbox and make an articulate case.

But she will not – despite the accomplishments she claims – be remembered like Alan Cranston as an accomplished lawmaker, any more than Pete Wilson or John Tunney.

Brown would be a different kind of advocate – controversial by dint of his argumentative skills, iconoclastic personality and over-weaning overweening intellect. What kind of grade he’d get on “plays well with others” is less certain.

But it would surely be worth the price of admission. Run Jerry Run!

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There are 10 comments for this post

  1. avatar Chris Reed says:

    “Over-weaning”? Y’all are accusing Jerry Brown of some perverse stuff.

    Weaning is “the process of gradually introducing a mammal infant to what will be its adult diet and withdrawing the supply of its mother’s milk. The process takes place only in mammals, as only mammals produce milk.”

    So over-weaning by a 76-year-old? Wow.

  2. avatar Chris Reed says:

    Boy, that was painful to read. What a dolt I was. Glad you declined the bet.

  3. avatar Opatrny says:

    Babs, Jer and I hate being called septuagenarians. It sounds so antediluvian, which of course it is. But on the subject, no way Brown runs for the Senate; it’s too slow and boring him. He’s not a statesman, but rather a shit disturber. Kamala has Senate demeanor; she likes speaking even if her message is often obscure. And as a quinquagenarian she could serve several terms.

  4. avatar ReilleyFam says:

    Age a “non-starter”????

    Maybe to the CA geriatric liberal cartel, but to the average voter & those of us who think this generation of leaders has outstayed it’s time & relevance, it’s very much a big deal.

    It also would look very dishonest by JB. He speaks of his legacy and commitment to CA then bails for DC without finishing?

    What if he lost? What would that do to his legacy?

  5. avatar Dan Morain says:

    Dan Morain @DanielMorain · 20h 20 hours ago
    “No,” @JerryBrownGov said a minute ago when I asked whether he will run for the U.S. Senate. That’s one down.

  6. avatar sqrjn says:

    Wait, so if Gandalph doesn’t run (and I hope he does anything to keep Newsome or Harris or god forbid “Ghost Gun” De Leon out of the chair) does that mean Calbuzz will endorse Leon Panetta a la


  7. avatar Bob Egelko says:

    Before we get too far into handicapping, could we ask where they stand on some, um, issues that might face a senator? Like wars, water, Mideast policy, torture, taxes, police, filibusters?

  8. avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

    As I keep on saying Governor Brown should run for President and with the credentials he has in fiscal responsibility he could eat up Hillary. I’d even volunteer to co-chair Republicans for Jerry Brown if I had to to get Brown running for P.

    As to what’s wrong with Madame Clinton, I want you to focus on two points. When the time came to make that 3:00 a.m. call to save America’s ambassador about to be killed in Benghazi she flubbed it. President O never got her call for life!

    When the time came to show leadership on how to lift America out of her economic morass she told the world what Elizabeth Warren has been saying, that is corporations do not create jobs. This ideology over common sense knowing that tens of millions of Americans work at jobs created by corporations.

    And after all this, Hillary wants to be our president. No! No! Never!

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