California Attorney General Jerry Brown faces a few headaches now that Roman Polanski's 1977 crimes have come back to haunt him and the state he once governed. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
One of the most common phrases in broadcast news this week was "Attorney General Jerry Brown says ...".
In a single week, Brown went after lead-filled toys, those he said scammed African-American churches out of millions of dollars, and to top it off, Wells Fargo, who he says misreprentated an investment opportunity, which cost California investors nearly a billion and a half dollars. In doing so, he made himself out to be a champion of parents, a watchdog for ethnic minorities, and, to round out the picture, a pit-bull who will take down the Wall Street fat cats preying on the little investor here at home.
Not bad for a single week. Each assault was preceded by a "heads-up" news release sent to media statewide. Each announcement played out in front of cameras for every Californian to see.
A good week for truth, justice and the American way? Perhaps. But a better week for the Jerry Brown publicity machine. We in the media have seen this countless times. A public official suddenly becomes a lot more visible. He or she calls the news conferences, proclaims new crackdowns, new achievements, or new involvement to solve our problems.
We can expect the Brown drumbeat to get even louder, as he embarks on his mission to once again claim the Governor's office. The only part missing from this equation is Brown's candidacy.
You see, he hasn't actually announced he's running.
It's clear from the suddenly high profile that he's running, but why won't he say so? If you ask Political Analyst Sherry Bebitch-Jeffe, she says "Why should he?"
She points out that when he announces, he'll be the only serious Democrat in the race. So why should he put himself up as a target for the GOP now? When be declares his intentions, Bebitch-Jeffe says "attacks by potential GOP opponents and the media ... on his age, his government experience and professional political longevity ... will ratchet up and be more highly visible."
She also points out his law-and-order messages being played out in the media (at no cost, I might add) will go a long way to erase his old image as Governor Moonbeam.
So Jerry may stay on the down-low. Sort of. Our guess is we'll see a lot of him the next few months, as a crusader for the little guy in California, as a fighter for justice, and as a protector of the people, but not as an aspiring gubernatorial candidate.
And certainly not that guy who personified California as the land of fruits and nuts.
He can play this game for awhile, all the while raising millions of dollars for a campaign he has yet to say really exists. But the money sure exists. He pulled in more than a million dollars at a single fundraiser in Bel-Air this week.
And he can keep that money in the bank for awhile. Come March, he'll have to file the papers if he wants to be California's next governor. Until then, look for Jerry. He'll be the guy behind the podium, announcing another great victory he's secured for Californians.
Of course, the victory he's really seeking happens in the next November election.