It Takes Cojones for Brown… To Question Others’ Cojones

Jerry Brown Caveman

There's also something annoying about hearing Jerry Brown, of all people, question the cojones (Spanish for "balls") of legislators.

One could just as easily question his cojones as those of legislators.

In a round of interviews the governor -- going all caveman-macho -- argued that state lawmakers, and Republican lawmakers in particular, are too scared to take on their own party in the name of the greater good.

Republicans won't raise taxes, no matter what, and Democrats are voting too much as a bloc, Brown told the LA Times.

"It’s getting to be lock step … [and] nobody up here has the courage or cojones to do anything about it."

The idea that lawmakers lack courage isn't a new one. But it's not an observation Brown should be making.

This is a governor who ran a hyper-cautious campaign against Meg Whitman during which he failed to seek any sort of mandate for the systemic change California needs.

In office, he built his push for a balanced budget around less-than-brave cuts to the easiest pieces of the budget to cut (higher education and human services).

His tax plan didn't exactly ooze courage; it was built around extending temporary tax increases of his predecessor, which effectively would have kicked the budget can down the road.

And when it came time to pass a budget, Brown and Democrats got out of the fix by assuming $4 billion in new funds that are unlikely to materialize.

That sort of gimmick is a standard feature of 21st century California budgeting and isn't worth getting angry about, but it doesn't exactly merit a new afterword for the next edition of Profiles in Courage.

In his interviews this week, Brown talked about the broken political system.That's progress, since Brown has previously maintained that the system isn't broken.

But he's still yet to put forward the focused and, yes, courageous effort that the state needs to redesign its broken budget and governance system from top to bottom.

In the meantime, Brown should avoid taking shots at the courage of legislators, who have been no better, and no worse, than the governor.

They, like Brown, are hamstrung by a broken system. And they, like Brown, have yet to show the cojones to remake that system.

Photoshopped illustration by Olsen Ebright

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