JERRY BROWN: The Philosopher Prince by Robert Pack

JERRY BROWN: The Philosopher Prince

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The governor of California believes in lowered expectations, ""creative inaction,"" Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful theories, and the Astronaut Ethic--including the colonization of outer space. Here he is praised, interpreted, analyzed, and sneered at by 150 folks who've known him from San Francisco's St. Ignatius High School to the 1976 campaign trail. Mostly praised though, for while Pack sets down the skeptical or adverse comments of unbelievers, this still manages to read like an authorized biography of the more reverential sort. And Pack makes it clear that while Brown's advisers are divided, he at least thinks that Jerry is going to make Jimmy Carter a one-term president in 1980. Brown's biggest attraction seems to be his difference from standard-issue politicians. ""He's not a linear thinker,"" says one aide; in fact he dabbles in so many things that his staff sometimes has to nudge him to get on with the job: ""I mean, you know, govern for Christ sake. You're supposed to be governor."" On the other hand, Brown, most everyone agrees, has a highly developed sense of media politics; he manipulates the press and TV people shrewdly, and some at least resent him for it. Comparisons when they're made are invariably to the vigorous and youthful JFK, though most of the time Brown is billed as sui generis, ""neither liberal nor conservative"" but an embodiment of ""the questing spirit of California."" Though the multiple-view is not without interest, Orville Schell's (p. 290) and J. D. Lorenz' (p. 223) versions are more to the point.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1978
Publisher: Stein & Day