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Two, Two, Mints in One

Jan
30
2004

Deep down in The Chronicle story about San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s self-inflicted pay cut (he feels your pain), there’s an interesting exchange between the new mayor and political lifer Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.
It’s the nutshell of the debate about the purpose of government that pretty much sums up the forces that got Newsom and Arnold Schwarzenegger elected, the stuff that could sustain President George Bush. This is not a liberal versus conservative argument in the classic sense. But it is the difference between an old style of governing versus a newer, less congenial style the relies on responsibility and action more than symbolism. That’s why opponents have a hard time putting Schwarzenegger and Newsom in little neat boxes. They’re not wed to party; they’re businessmen. They want to get the job done. That’s how they see the world.
Jerry Brown, the Transcendental Jesuit, is a politician, born into and reared in one of the most political households in the country. He has little use for talk about efficiency and improvement and “best practices” when it comes to government. But smartly, Brown doesn’t go for the silly Liberal attack though, he zones in on the practical matters.
From The Chron:
“Government is not about efficiency,” Brown said at a business breakfast in Oakland. “Government is about making the leadership of government look good. If we look bad, we’re out of office. I hate to tell you.”
Newsom respectfully disagreed with the elder politico.
“I think one of the big problems with politicians today is the abdication of responsibility and the lack of leadership, and leadership to me, at the end of the day, is about results,” Newsom said. “People want someone who can get things done.”

And while we’re here, please note once again the fine, fine media strategy that the Newsom folks continue to execute. Out of the gate, they squeezed the Left. Now, he’s squeezing the right by making ‘em feel, well “guilty,” is too strong a word, how about “responsible”? Tuesday, the mayor tells his hardcore downtown supporters that he’s gonna raise their taxes. Thursday, he takes a pay cut.
Coincidence? I don’t think so and neither, I’ll bet, does Newsom’s new press guy, Pete Ragone. A master. At work. Efficient. And looking good.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 9:46 AM | Permalink

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