Prop Zero
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Jerry Brown as Deanna Troi

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Jerry Brown as Deanna Troi

One of the more annoying things about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- as a political leader (not as a husband) -- was his sometimes magical thinking when it came to dealmaking. On more than one occasion, he claimed to have special powers to reach into the minds of Democrats and Republicans and get them to bridge ideological differences and make compromise.

Those days were supposed to be over, once we elected a wise, old, self-described realist in Jerry Brown. But it appears not. At a press conference this week, Brown indulged in some Schwarzeneggerian magical thinking, declaring that -- in absence of all available evidence -- he can reach a deal with Republicans who oppose his tax extensions because "I read their feelings."

The comment put one in mind not just of Schwarzenegger but of the Star Trek character, Deanna Troi, a half-human, half-Betazoid commander who was the USS Enterprise's empath/counselor, with an ability to read the emotions of others. This is not the Star Trek character you want to associate with. In several episodes, aliens seized control of her mind and spoke to the rest of the crew through her.

Which leaves the question: Who's taken hold of Jerry's mind?

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