Would 'one term' pledge get Jerry Brown past Meg Whitman in California?
Political analysts are split over whether Jerry Brown would gain anything over Meg Whitman by promising to stay in office as California governor for just one term.
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California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) is already spending less – way less – on campaigning than former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R). What if he promised only to stay in office for a single term? That's the strategy a leading political writer in California has suggested as a way for Mr. Brown to produce the fireworks he needs to shoot ahead of Ms. Whitman in their race – now neck and neck with just six weeks to go.
“Handled right – perhaps sprung before a large TV audience during a campaign debate – it could alter the Democrat’s widespread image as a career political opportunist,” writes George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times. “Brown could cast himself as a committed native son determined to reroute the state back onto the right track. And he would have credibility as an aging pol looking to burnish his legacy for the history books and join his father [former governor] Pat Brown, as one of California’s political greats. In addition, for anyone concerned about his age – 72 – it would guarantee that he’d step down at 76.”
Is Mr. Skelton's idea spot-on or spaced-out?
“If handled correctly, a one-term pledge could change the dynamics of the contest,” adds Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “Skelton makes some strong arguments, not least Brown’s age," he says. "Does California really want a two-term Brown turning 80 in office?”
Skelton’s column mentions other top candidates who considered the idea and then backed off – including Sen. John McCain and former President Ronald Reagan. The first was reported in the book “Game Change” by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, and the other, says Skelton, was related directly to him by the late Mike Deaver, Reagan’s one-time image guru.