Now is not the time for California voters to indulge in political amateur hour for billionaires. Maybe Meg Whitman, the Republican standard-bearer for governor, can afford to spend more than $120 million of her own money to “buy” a shot at the state’s top office, but California, in its current crisis, can ill afford Whitman. She proudly brings to the table a stunning lack of government experience. So utterly indifferent to the world of politics, Whitman couldn’t even bother to vote. We remain mystified how Whitman’s résumé prepares her for the daunting challenges ahead. By contrast, Democratic warhorse Jerry Brown, now reincarnating himself for the umpteenth time, served as governor during the 1970s and as mayor of Oakland in the 1990s and now serves as the state’s Attorney General.
Brown, we assume, will know where many of the bodies are buried. He certainly knows how things get done. Smart, crusty, and outspoken, Brown has the experience, acumen, and relatively advanced age we’re hoping will endow him with the spirit of urgency and independence needed to enact meaningful reform. Given that Democrats so totally dominate both houses, we’re convinced that a Republican governor — no matter how sincere or talented — would be totally ineffective. Look what happened to Arnold Schwarzenegger, unrivaled when it comes to marquee star-power. And Meg Whitman is no Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sadly, as it turned out for the people of California, neither was Arnold Schwarzenegger. For the state’s sake, we’re hoping that maybe Jerry Brown will just be Jerry Brown.