Governor-elect Jerry Brown declares victory two months ago at the Fox Theater in Oakland. He is introduced by his wife, Anne Gust Brown. NWN has learned that she will serve as chief of staff to Governor Brown.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. It’s the fate of Jerry Brown, the 34th and 39th governor of California, to succeed Republican movie stars as governor. Of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a much bigger movie star than Ronald Reagan ever dreamed of being. (And Reagan is a much bigger Republican than Schwarzenegger ever intended to be, as angry right-wingers have been pointing out for years.)
Schwarzenegger wasn’t simply the biggest action movie star in the world prior to winning his first landslide election as governor of California in 2003, he was, more specifically, the biggest science fiction movie star in the world.
Indeed, there is something decidedly sci-fi about him becoming governor of California. (Cue raucous comments.) And there’s always been something more than a little sci-fi about Jerry Brown.
He is, after all, “Governor Moonbeam,” the moniker attached to him decades ago by irascible Chicago columnist Mike Royko for his then far-out ideas like communications satellites, energy conservation, alternative energy, etc. Royko later declared the term null and void, saying Brown was very grounded in his futurism, but the term was forever attached to Brown, who has made it something of a badge of honor in making it clear he’s not another hack politician.
Brown today crosses the street from his new loft apartment — he and new First Lady Anne Gust Brown are keeping their Oakland house for weekends — for his inauguration in the venerable Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. …
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK.
It’s a big week in presidential politics and California politics, though the latter gets off to a much faster start than the former.
In California politics, former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown is inaugurated for a record third term as governor today, following his shattering victory over the biggest spending non-presidential campaign in American history two months ago.
NWN has learned that, in a unique first in history, First Lady Anne Gust Brown will also serve as chief of staff to Governor Brown.
In presidential politics, President Barack Obama returns late today from his Hawaiian family vacation. He won’t be back to work in the White House until Tuesday afternoon.
The White House has not yet provided the president’s block schedule for the week. Obama extended his vacation after getting a late start on it due to late-breaking developments in Congress, including ratification of the big U.S.-Russia nuclear arms reduction treaty and repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays and lesbians in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Congressional Republicans signaled on Sunday chat shows that they will oppose most of what Obama proposes this year, which coincides with the start of the Republican presidential race. They also said they would try to roll back the new health care reform bill and investigate the Obama Administration, with new House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa of San Diego in the forefront on the latter.
Issa, a car alarm magnate, provided the funding needed to qualify the 2003 California recall measure. A record number of Californians signed the petition, which led ultimately to the landslide election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as California’s governor.
Schwarzenegger, re-elected in another landslide in 2006, leaves office this morning when Jerry Brown is inaugurated at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.
Brown, of course, won a record-tying third term as governor two months ago in a 54% to 41% landslide over billionaire Meg Whitman, who ran the biggest-spending non-presidential campaign in American history.
While Brown essentially directs his own campaigns these days, his chief manager, in this campaign as in his landslide 2006 election as California’s attorney general, was his wife, Anne Gust Brown, who I first got to know in the early 1990s.
She will now make history of her own by serving not only as first lady of California but as chief of staff to Governor Brown.
I’ll have full coverage of the Brown Inaugural and follow-on activities throughout the week, as well as Schwarzenegger’s moves.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Hawaii with First Lady Michelle Obama and their family.
He has no scheduled public events.
Obama will receive his daily intelligence and economic briefings at the private residence in which he is staying for this Christmas vacation. The time in Hawaii is two hours earlier than the time in California. The Obamas are staying on Kailua Bay about 12 miles from Honolulu.
Obama will fly back to Washington late today on Air Force One.
Obama is also monitoring geopolitical crises in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and the Korean peninsula, as well as the Wikileaks crisis.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor-elect Jerry Brown is in Sacramento today.
The 34th governor of California is sworn in as the state’s 39th governor in an austere ceremony beginning at 11 AM in Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.
He will drop by various events, and host an Inaugural Reception beginning at 4 PM at the California Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.
In his final address as governor of California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses his tenure in office and thanks Californians for the greatest honor of his life.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Los Angeles and Sacramento today.
At 11 AM, Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver will attend the Inaugural Ceremony of Schwarzenegger’s successor, Governor Jerry Brown, in the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.
… THE CALIFORNIA AS FIRST “FAILED STATE” DEBATE: SCHWARZENEGGER, DAVIS, WHITMAN, AND JERRY BROWN. … From my March 2nd column.
Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate in fall 2008, prior to the global economic meltdown, with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included. You can listen to my video webchat last year with Schwarzenegger here. It covers most of the major issues and also reveals his cameo in the latest Terminator movie.
** MAD MEN FOR CHRISTMAS. … From my December 23rd column.
** 2010: A JERRY BROWN ODYSSEY. “Everyone thought we were the Bad News Bears up against the New York Yankees. But we pulled it out.”
– Anne Gust Brown, referring to her husband’s campaign against billionaire Meg Whitman, in her introduction of Governor-elect Jerry Brown’s victory speech. Brown won in a landslide.
In the long and winding road that is Jerry Brown’s life, there has been no shortage of odysseys. But with 2010 drawing to a close, and Brown confronting one of the greatest crises of governance seen in a modern state, it’s worth looking at this particular one.
A year ago at the holiday parties of the smart political set, Brown was seen as the most likely next governor of California. He’d cleared the field for the Democratic nomination and his Republican rivals, though loaded with money, didn’t seem all that formidable.
But early this year, the conventional wisdom changed. Billionaire Meg Whitman, making good on her promise to spend more than any other individual in the history of American politics, was inundating the airwaves. The media, mostly stiffed by Whitman herself, was hyping her megabucks consultants and staff, and every one of their tech-heavy moves, as an awesome political machine.
Moving hard to the right, as expected, to win the Republican nomination, Whitman nonetheless moved into a statistical dead heat with Brown, who had led her by nearly 30 points in the fall of 2009.
Most of the media and political community in California, always overly impressed by very big money, alternated between screaming in alarm at the rise of Whitman and exulting in her looming victory. … From my December 20th feature.
** JERRY BROWN ON CRISES PAST AND PRESENT. As Jerry Brown prepares to become California’s oldest governor more than three decades after he became its youngest in the modern era, keeping his own counsel, many search for clues to his thinking. As usual, the past is prologue, especially when it comes to thoughts of the future for this determinedly futurist politician. … From my December 10th essay.
** THE BEATLES’ RUBBER SOUL: 45TH ANNIVERSARY OF ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL ALBUMS. … From my December 4th essay.
** OBAMA, ARNOLD, JERRY, AND THE BIG GREEN DREAM. … From my November 30th feature.
** IF IT’S NOT ONE THING, IT’S ANOTHER: OBAMA’S BURGEONING GEOPOLITICAL CRISES. … From my November 26th column.
** JERRY BROWN AND THE CALIFORNIA EXCEPTION. … From my November 22nd feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $92 per barrel.
This is up about $58 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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