Rick Perry vs. Jerry Brown: Why Brown should run for president

In recent days, there have been varied calls for California Gov. Jerry Brown to run for president in 2016.

From the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday: “If he weren’t the nation’s oldest governor, a ripe 75, Jerry Brown would automatically be counted among serious Democratic candidates for president in 2016.”

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And yesterday: “Let’s not romanticize Jerry Brown’s three tries for the presidency, even as he leaves the door open for a fourth.” And from the website FrontPage Magazine (whose motto reads: “Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out”): “Listing serious Democratic candidates for 2016 without listing Jerry Brown is like drinking Kool Aid without first lacing it with potassium cyanide.”

Brown is a live one. He is now and always has been. In the best of all possible American worlds, there would be no relatives of others, no aunties or cousins or nephews or wives as in medieval Russia on deck in 2016.

It is a default on collective responsibility. In our time, presumable of hope, the best leaders of the most enterprising and productive states should naturally fall into consideration for the lead post. In our time, those places in the lead would be Texas and California. They are the great states in America rising. They are to 2016 and forward what New York and Virginia were to 1776. Yet the somehow-preferred candidate is the governor of New Jersey, land of rusty bridges, dangerous cities and burned-out, post-industrial landscapes, which has just had its rating cut by Moody’s. It's because he reminds some of James Gandolfini’s character Tony Soprano — and that is supposed to be a good thing.

The presidency is a management job, and we would do best to bring governors to the Oval Office. And the state of their states — in health, wealth, economy, innovation and crime — should be the barometer of governors who want to be top boss.

Texas and California have two great governors, Rick Perry and Jerry Brown. The one appears to be the equal and opposite counterforce of the other. This Western yin and yang brings competition and rising enterprise. And that is what we should see if America were run like a big corporation in which we demanded the best and most representative to be sent to top leadership.

Worth repeating from my blog piece here on Aug. 13:

“I asked an astute Californian about Brown’s prospects for national office. He said he will be too old in 2016. But Brown, Zen man of contemporary politics, is in a sense timeless. At 75 he is much the individual he was at 30. And he will likely still be into his '80s.

“New York [and New Jersey] has one foot stuck in the old worlds: Poland, Russia, Ireland, Italy. It is unbearably linked to its pasts. But true Californians, like true Texans, have made a greater journey, across the desert and across time to a new age and a new world. The west is America’s future, marked by the big states of Texas and California. Our destiny will be formed there and across the Pacific in the centuries ahead, as it was formed in Boston and New York and across the Atlantic in centuries past. Governor Moonbeam could be the gatekeeper.”

But so might Rick Perry.