Lou Cannon profiles his old nemesis Jerry Brown, the once-and-maybe-future governor of California, at Politics Daily and comes away with a peaceful, easy feeling. Writes Cannon:
"Adaptation is the essence of evolution," he said, in discussing his shifting stances on issues over the years.
But Brown has a sense of the distance he has traveled, an understanding of California political history and a somewhat apocalyptic view of the national economy. "We're not quite the Weimar Republic, but it's close," Brown told me. Even so, he seems different from the man who left the governorship 27 years ago. Jerry Brown has been places, seen poverty and done things. He has been a hands-on mayor. He believes in Earl Warren-style bipartisanship and after all these years seems capable of practicing what he's preaching. Win or lose, he's no longer Governor Moonbeam.
I'm not sure Cannon can say with metaphysical certainty what, precisely, Brown "believes." I am fairly sure, however, that Brown is no longer Moonbeam -- assuming he ever was. But I'd be willing to bet that Brown will be governor again, because too many professional Republicans and nostalgic voters believe he is no different from the Plymouth-driving, Ronstadt-dating caricature who governed the Golden State in the late 1970s. They think Brown hasn't changed. He has. Just not necessarily for the better.