Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Jerry Brown: wrong word, fair point

No one should ever refer to another person, even privately, as the political equivalent of a for-profit sex worker. For example, Supreme Court Justice Samuel F. Miller was wrong to label Sen. Reverdy Johnson a "political prostitute" in an 1866 letter -- which came to light decades later thanks to the diligence of obscure academics.

And an aide to California Attorney General Jerry Brown's gubernatorial campaign never should have called opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" during an inadvertently extended voice mail on Sept. 7 -- which came to light last week thanks to the miracle of Internet technology.

Now, can we talk?

However insulting and inappropriate their language, Brown and his confederates had a point with respect to the issue underlying this boiler-room outburst. The most urgent matter facing California is the parlous condition of state finances. Those finances cannot be repaired without trimming the pensions of state and local employees.

Yet Whitman, the Republican, has taken a more equivocal position on this issue than Brown, the Democrat. To be specific, she has called for an end to defined-benefit pensions for all new employees, except for those in state public safety. Brown, by contrast, has refused to rule out reform of law enforcement's pensions. And Whitman has been rewarded for this less-than-fully-responsible stance with the endorsement of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.

She also got the endorsement of the Los Angeles Police Protective League; it was this body's shift to Whitman that alarmed Brown, prompting him to call and leave his now-infamous message-plus. To be sure, the L.A. cops' pensions are a city matter beyond the next governor's purview. But Whitman has strategically stayed neutral on a pending city referendum that would cut L.A. police pensions. The story is fleshed out here, here and here.

The L.A. police union denies any connection, but given the totality of the circumstances, I can see how Brown might leap to the conclusion that Whitman had "cut a secret deal to protect the pensions."

Secret deal or no, Whitman’s position is not as courageous as Brown's. This may or may not mean that her virtue -- er, policy agenda -- is for sale. But it is kind of ironic, considering that a. Brown is the guy who instituted public-sector collective bargaining in the Golden State, and b. Whitman is running as the reformer who can clean up the mess collective bargaining created.

By Charles Lane  | October 11, 2010; 3:02 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Is Vince Gray worried about a Fenty write-in campaign?
Next: The real science on climate change, again

Comments

Given the totality of the circumstances? It's call lying. Brown was caught lying and the L.A. police union verifies this. Your attempt to insinuate something else failed big time.

Posted by: houstonian | October 11, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. No wonder Brown is still leading in the polls.

Whitman has too many contradictions, like every other TParty Candidate, to count. (Let's not begin with her deception in the illegal alien incident. Didn't help the others tried to capitalize off it, and it let her off the hook .. .or so she thought).

Posted by: SharonA2 | October 11, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The idea that Brown considers Whitman a sellout is very humorous, rather like the pot calling the kettle black. By not taking a stand: "... Brown, by contrast, has refused to rule out reform of law enforcement's pensions..." he has continued the great professional politician's (which he truly is)position which is I will say nothing and take no stand until elected I will promise everyone everything and then blame "obstructists" when I take no action or accomplish no real advances. At least Whitman is taking a stance, something sorely missing from today's long-term professional policticians. Of course if she is elected let's see if she really has the internal fortitude to act or if she will simply become another "professional politician" more concerned with getting re-elected than doing anything.

Posted by: staterighter | October 11, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

houstonian: How would you know whether whitman has cut a deal? You are in no position to know, so you can get off your high horse now. Are you naive enough to believe that she & her cop union buddies MUST be telling the truth, because they say so? Grow up. If it quacks like a backroom deal... I wouldn't be so quick to believe anything whitman says after she was caught lying about her illegal alien employee.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | October 11, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Lane is showing what an ill informed democrat shill he is.

Lane, the state government has no control over the Las Angeles pension fund. None, nadda.

Lane is just trying to cover up for Jerry Brown and Alan Grayson's continued attack against women.

Posted by: robtr | October 11, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm voting for Brown and I think he will win.

Whitman is too suspicious, and you just don't spend $140,000,000 of your own money unless you know you're going to get much and more than that back.

Don't trust her. I like him.


Posted by: lindalovejones | October 11, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

California will continue to have major problems unless they have the guts to cut spending especially in the state pensions. I do not know if Whitman would be the answer but I am sure that going with Governor Moonbean will continue to be a circus. If they vote Brown in as Governor, they deserve their fate.

Posted by: sales7 | October 11, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

No surprise here, conservative's last name is: HYPOCRITE.

Posted by: rappahanock | October 11, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

In the midterm elections watch cautiously illegal aliens violating federal voting laws. Be particularly observant of absentee balloting, as it’s not that complicated for foreigners to vote and alter the direction of voting numbers. The whole system of "Honor Voting" has been compromised in the last ten years and may have severe repercussions in close races in LA and in every other precinct across the country. President Obama is assessing the need for a giant overhaul of our infrastructure. If such is the case every contractor must screen their workers for illegal labor. This would be a perfect time to implement a federal policy of every job seeker vetted through the E-Verify computer databases. Updated and with a 99.6 success rate could expose illegal aliens and open the gates for qualified citizens and authentic green card holders.


Low income Senior Citizens in many emergency rooms must sit for hours, while foreign parents with four to six kids are waiting for treatment. As there is no disclosure of this painful amount of money, as no administration has had the backbone to tell the absolute truth. In Border States many hospitals have been forced to close, as the federal government never reimburses the hospital to the full amount. That for decades each president and his incoherent representatives have never found nerve to release any true accounting of the unimaginable costs in this propagating problem. Senator Boxer, Reid will doom this country to unimaginable overpopulation, with further expenditures whereas 15 million legal workers cannot find a job. What you decide in November, will either be the success of the Tea Party who will not entertain any type of Amnesty whatsoever and demand that Washington secure the open border.

We could pay for the Afghanistan war for a year, with the just the federal cash spent to support the illegal alien welfare. The Tea Party, a mixture of moderate Conservatives, Independents will neither genuflect nor bend to the will of either the GOP elites or the Liberal Democrats progressives.

Posted by: infinity555 | October 11, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

In the midterm elections watch cautiously illegal aliens violating federal voting laws. Be particularly observant of absentee balloting, as it’s not that complicated for foreigners to vote and alter the direction of voting numbers. The whole system of "Honor Voting" has been compromised in the last ten years and may have severe repercussions in close races in LA and in every other precinct across the country. President Obama is assessing the need for a giant overhaul of our infrastructure. If such is the case every contractor must screen their workers for illegal labor. This would be a perfect time to implement a federal policy of every job seeker vetted through the E-Verify computer databases. Updated and with a 99.6 success rate could expose illegal aliens and open the gates for qualified citizens and authentic green card holders.


Low income Senior Citizens in many emergency rooms must sit for hours, while foreign parents with four to six kids are waiting for treatment. As there is no disclosure of this painful amount of money, as no administration has had the backbone to tell the absolute truth. In Border States many hospitals have been forced to close, as the federal government never reimburses the hospital to the full amount. That for decades each president and his incoherent representatives have never found nerve to release any true accounting of the unimaginable costs in this propagating problem. Senator Boxer, Reid will doom this country to unimaginable overpopulation, with further expenditures whereas 15 million legal workers cannot find a job. What you decide in November, will either be the success of the Tea Party who will not entertain any type of Amnesty whatsoever and demand that Washington secure the open border.

We could pay for the Afghanistan war for a year, with the just the federal cash spent to support the illegal alien welfare. The Tea Party, a mixture of moderate Conservatives, Independents will neither genuflect nor bend to the will of either the GOP elites or the Liberal Democrats progressives.

Posted by: infinity555 | October 11, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

INCUMBENTS OUT ON NOVEMBER 2—OF EITHER POLITICAL PARTY

US Senator Barbara Boxer in the first session of Congress will--FORCE--upon us a massive Amnesty, for the12 to 20 million illegal aliens and President Obama will sign it into law. Democrats additionally want to enact the President Bush’s Totalization treaty for Mexican illegal workers, so they can access our Social Security benefits. This means SSI for old disabled American will be at risk as well as retirement pensions for every citizen and legal resident. Sen. Reid, Boxer voted in the affirmative on illegal aliens being able to participate in our Social Security system (May 2006). GOOGLE or YAHOO -- Social Security illegal aliens; Hospital costs for illegal aliens is zooming upwards with hardly any payout from the federal government to cover costs.

GOOGLE--dialysis-Illegal aliens; GOOGLE--illegal alien costs. GOOGLE—Amnesty and view the fact from that the Heritage Foundation that an Amnesty covering all illegal immigrants would have a cost estimated at $2.6 trillion dollars. This is incorrigible with the existence of a $13 trillion dollar treasury deficit. Just apply your own keywords to Google or any other search engine, adding the word—Illegal aliens and you will be absolutely dumbfounded? The costs to pay for this an Amnesty will be the taxpayer’s burden, as it’s always been. Every amnesty that follows will bring millions more poverty stricken people and their children, which will smother our education system. Just look at prime examples in Border States, were classrooms are crammed to the fullest with illegal alien children, affecting negatively the schooling of citizen children.

Jerry Brown is a poor model of the future of America, as he too would make our suffering border states even worse. He has always been a tax and spend elected official and pro-amnesty advocate.

Posted by: infinity555 | October 11, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr Lane,
Ok so you chose to waste ink to explain why Whitman deserved this salacious attack.

Now out with it.....

Let your dear readers hear you say that the entire Democratic party are #%$^$ since support of defined benefit plans is central to their platform.

If California voters chose Brown they deserve what they get!

Posted by: ELF2 | October 12, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

No surprise here, liberal's last name is: HYPOCRITE.

Posted by: gentsugen | October 12, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

to all,

Jerry Brown has about the same chance to be governor of CA in 2011 as BHO has to be POTUS in Feb 2013 =====> NONE, NADA, ZILCH.

"people of normal intelligence" see right through both of those PHONIES & GAG at what they see.

the dems/LIBS/"progressives" are FINISHED as a major political party, as "the grand coalition" (that was the power in Washington from FDR-JFK-LBJ & perhaps even to Sam Nunn/JIMMY CARTER?) is shattered beyone repair. - the frank truth is that obama/pelosi/frank/reid/schumer & numerous others of that CORRUPT & NAUSEA-producing kind are UNacceptable to any decent person.

sincerely, Retired MP46

Posted by: retiredMP46 | October 13, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company