JERRY BROWN: The Man on the White Horse by J. D. Lorenz
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JERRY BROWN: The Man on the White Horse

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This is the kind of promo an up-and-coming young politician needs like he needs psoriasis. Lorenz, who worked for Governor Jerry Brown in 1975 as head of the California Economic Development Department, depicts the guru of Sacramento as a cross between a McLuhanesque media huckster and the daring young man on the flying trapeze. The stab in the back is delivered with breezy mockery and lighthearted ill will. Like Brown, Lorenz seems unwilling to risk boredom, his own or the audience's. And, Lorenz keeps repeating (though we don't see it here) that the Governor can be a very sharp and funny guy--just so long as he doesn't feel defensive, uptight, or pressured. When he does, the state government becomes inoperative; programs--like Lorenz' job programs--never get off the ground. Even at the best of times, the Brown regime is chaotic and capricious, in part because the Governor can't delegate responsibility or make a decision. He prefers media ""buzz words,"" The Whole Earth Catalog, and the ""small-is-beautiful"" doctrines of E. F. Schumacher. But Lorenz is a serious fellow at heart and he will confess, in his joshing fashion, that the really disturbing part of Brown (Jimmy Carter too) is that the rhetoric doesn't match the reality: government agencies and corporations are getting bigger and more centralized. To boot, Brown lusts for power and his ""escapist"" politics are a mirror-image of the mid-1970s. Even allowing for sour grapes (Brown fired Lorenz), this is a persuasive and entertaining burlesque though the GÖtterdÄmmerung innuendos may be unduly alarmist.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin