Suddenly a question that's always been asked about Jerry Brown is back in the forefront: What planet is he living on?
This time, he's decided that publicly insulting former President Bill Clinton would be a good idea in a year when Democrats are dispirited and need some rousing from such party stalwarts as...Bill Clinton.
It all started with a Meg Whitman ad unveiled last week that features a sound bite from a 1992 debate between Clinton and Brown, who were battling it out in the brutal final stretch of the race for the Democratic nomination. In the clip, Clinton, citing CNN, says Brown raised taxes as governor of California and turned a surplus into a deficit. Time's Mark Halperin calls it the best ad of any candidate anywhere in the country this cycle.
It turns out not to be true (this isn't the kind of thing that matters to Mark Halperin.) As the Times reported over the weekend, According to Department of Finance data available in 1992, total state taxes when Brown took office were $7.03 per every $100 in income. He left office in January 1983, so his last budget covered the 1982-83 fiscal year. Taxes then were $6.83 per every $100 in income.
This doesn't get at another point Clinton makes in the clip, that the tax reduction is related to the passage of the (in)famous property tax cap Proposition 13, which Brown opposed in the first place.
Regardless, this morning Brown came out with this impromptu craziness:
Meg Whitman. She stops at nothing. She's even got Clinton lying about me. That's right. No, did you see that? Where he said I raised taxes. It's a lie. So, the New York Times...uhh...The LA Times said that. But they'll say anything and that's why we have to have our own truth squad to get the word out. Ok? I mean Clinton's a nice guy but who ever said he always told the truth? You remember, right? There's that whole story there about did he or didn't he. Ok, I did... I did not have taxes with this state.
So let's be clear about that. Thank you very much.
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Guess what Jerry Brown? Democrats like Bill Clinton. A lot. And they don't like the media and GOP narrative that he's a serial liar. And they think the whole Lewinsky thing was a well-orchestrated conspiracy to take down his presidency and crush his agenda.
And here's another thing: Democrats aren't that excited about voting this year. And you know what's not going to get them excited about your candidacy? Insulting Bill Clinton.
And guess who's not going to come campaign for you to rally the troops? Bill Clinton. And guess who else isn't? All his friends? And who are his friends? That would be pretty much the entire Democratic Party.
Good work, Jerry Brown.