Meg Whitman's ads in the governor's race have been so misleading that it's sort of refreshing to see one that hits its mark. This ad says Jerry Brown has no plan for California. And the truth of it is: Jerry Brown has no plan for California.
Now, of course, Jerry Brown has released proposals on green jobs and pensions. And he says he has plans he'll reveal after the election. (Let me be the first to invite him to unveil that plan publicly after the election -- I'll put on an event for him anywhere in the state, even if it's the plan of a jobless former attorney general). And there's a woman-in-a-glass-house-throwing-stones quality about Whitman making the accusation, given that her own plan is mostly (but not entirely) a fig leaf.
But the heart of the attack couldn't be more true (no matter what the Brown campaign says in its pushback). Brown, in his first governorship, really didn't have a plan. He was publicly and repeatedly proud of that fact. "What we need is a flexible plan for an everchanging world," was one of his favorite things to say in those days. Brown thought political plans were essentially meaningless props. When you look at Meg Whitman's plan, you'd have to admit: maybe Brown has a point.
These are not normal times. You know the unemployment and budget figures. A gubernatorial candidate really should have a real, detailed plan for fixing the state's budget and political systems. (Whitman should get one too while she's at it).
Yes, a real plan, with unpleasant proposals, might make it hard to win the election. But winning this election without one is no prize. Calfiornia is so dysfunctional that there's no point in being governor unless you have a mandate from voters for tough action.