May 7, 2011

Jerry Brown - in 1976, a Governor and a Presidential hopeful.

While the 1976 Democratic Convention was underway, and the nomination of Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was a fait accompli for the top slot. Presidential hopeful California Governor Jerry Brown was out of the running, even for consideration to the vice-Presidential slot, CBS Radio's long-running (and badly missed) political talk show Capitol Cloakroom devoted it's July 17th program to a panel interview with Brown discussing, among other things, what he saw the issues were in the 1976 Presidential race.

Jerry Brown: “I have a sense that there’s more to this problem than reorganization of the Federal Government, and I think there’s more to the problem of just trust in our institutions. I think Mr. Carter is very right when he says we’ve got to restore trust and that’s a major problem, but the question is; why is there all this distrust? And I think it’s because our philosophy, our premises and the way we do business is becoming further and further removed from the reality of America as go down the road to the end of this century. We are an economy heavily dependent on arms sales, on waste and obsolescence and increasing consumption of things we don’t need. And in a way that puts tremendous pressure on the carrying capacity of our air and of our water and our land. And unless we face up to those ecological constraints, then we’re in for a very rude awakening. Some people think the environment is a cosmetic issue. Whether the lawn is green or the sky is blue. I consider it a matter of biological survival.”

Not a combative interview, but certainly one where no punches were pulled. And Brown gave as good as he got. It's interesting to draw comparisons to the Jerry Brown of today and the Jerry Brown of 35 years ago during his first stint as Governor of California. How much has changed and how much has remained the same. Although, to be fair, the California of 1976 was the California before Prop. 13 and the questions of survival now are a bit different. For one thing, our infrastructure hadn't collapsed - it's interesting to notice how Brown talks about the condition of New York streets and buildings, decrying the conditions of a city that had gone through a bankruptcy months earlier. Thirty-five years later, California is now in that boat.

The times, they do change.

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