Monday, March 08, 2010
The San Francisco Chronicle asked candidates for California governor to respond to Toyota's closure of the NUMMI auto plant in Fremont. It's hard to imagine a blow to the local economy that feels more devastating to the segment of the work force that remains in the industrial economy.
Democrat Jerry Brown simply didn't get a response in on time, at least according to the Chronicle. (I expect there will be recriminations and countercharges. The Chron is, after all, at root a Republican paper.)
I won't be surprised if the campaign goes like this: Meg Whitman will knock off Steve Poizner in the Republican primary. She's well funded (by her own Ebay millions) and has good advertising talent already hard at work filling the airwaves on her behalf. Brown supporters will counter attack that she is completely unqualified to be governor of California, except in her own estimation (true -- the woman didn't even vote until she decided she wanted a political job).
And Brown may very well lose an office that some Democrat should be able to walk into, given the demographics of the state and the registration advantage the party enjoys.
Brown's a wily old political bird and an accomplished political chameleon. Heck, last time he was governor, he campaigned against the Prop. 13 tax revolt, saw the measure pass, and proceeded to claim credit for it. But I fear his time has passed. That no other Democrat came close to being able to contest him for the nomination points up how completely feeble the Democratic bench is in this state. It's likely to be a long, painful campaign season.