Tonight I went to a campaign gathering for Jerry Brown and I was impressed. Not only is he completely comfortable in his own skin, he makes me much more comfortable with him than I was 35 years ago when he was first elected governor.
He seems to eschew slogans and talk sense. The kind of things the Tea Party will never understand. On the one hand, he points out that one cannot decry the deficit and at the same time promise to eliminate $5 billion in capital gains taxes and $18 billion in taxes altogether, or maybe $17 billion more: he was talking fast and I was not taking notes.
On the other hand, he admits that unions will have to give back the somewhat ridiculous perks they have amassed. "How can they think they can retire when they are 50?" he asked. "I am 72 and I am still working."
When I walked up to shake hands afterward, Brown challenged me. "Are you Mickey Kaus's brother," he asked, referring to my brother who has taken his Kausfiles blog to Newsweek. "He said I 'barely' won the debate, how could he say that."
"What is the matter with him?" Brown continued with a smile on his face. "You tell him that he is not a rigorous thinker and that he is intellectually lazy. He must know that Whitman proposed nothing that will solve our problems, just more unneeded tax breaks for the rich." I invited him to comment on Kausfiles, but he demurred.
I said I could not defend Mickey on this, and I can't. Brown is right that Mick ignored this key point, which I suppose is rude to bring up in some of the company he keeps. Talk about a crocodile in the bathtub.
The rich have gotten richer and the poor poorer because the Republicans have proposed this nonsense and spineless "Democrats" have gone along.
Mickey can speak for himself. Pretty cool to reach a major gubernatorial candidate while in your pajamas IMHO.
I have to report that Brown was energetic and funny. He spoke of his tenure of Mayor of Oakland and how he had to navigate around the NIMBYs and preservationists who would stop all progress if they could. Brown relished the fact that as he exited his Downtown Oakland gym, some guy started yelling at him. "Usually, I mix it up with these people," Brown commented. "But he was quite large."
Brown was even undaunted when I challenged him on my big complaint: his nixing a Downtown Oakland ballpark for the A's. I asked him if he had ever felt the amazing vibrancy around Petco Park in San Diego, where the 35,000 people inside the ballpark are matched by what seems like another 35,000 outside in the streets and in the restaurants and bars. "It wouldn't happen here, he said. "Not enough money."
Then he admitted that he does not like spectator sports. "Too self indulgent for me, given my Jesuit background."
Honest, but wrong on this one. Too bad for him. He missed Pat the Bat's bomb this evening. Actually, I am pretty sure he doesn't know who Pat the Bat is, but no one is perfect
UPDATE: Mickey responds (scroll down)
Note: The quotes are approximate. I have to remember my phone has a digital recorder.