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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

A dear friend and fellow Berkeley alumnus who fled California e-mails: “Jerry Brown governor. Cal football terrible. This is the ’70s all over again.”

So it seems, though the current edition of Brown is wrinkled, bald and perhaps wiser than he was 36 years ago. Still, his devotion to causes ranging from “alternative energy” to a university education and various free services for illegal aliens seems to spring from the same kind of off-center thinking that earned him epithets ranging from visionary to Gov. Moonbeam, starting with his first term as governor in 1975.

Still, we have a bit of a soft spot for him because we think he did as good a job as possible as mayor of the fractious and factionalized City of Oakland (our home town) from 1999 through 2007.


On the other hand, one has to wonder if Golden State Republicans will get over their fascination with the super-rich who wake up one morning and think, “I’ve made lots of money, so I must be really smart enough to be governor (or senator or whatever)!”

Then the GOP gets a nominee like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman who think business acumen readily translates into political prowess. Whitman in particular set our teeth on edge because, more than any candidate in memory, she tried to buy her way into the chief executive’s office, dumping an estimated $140 million to $160 million of her own money into the campaign. She was able to buy the nomination, but not a majority of the votes.

In this sorry process, she demonstrated what it means to be a billionaire. If she had been keeping all her money in a coffee can at the back of her pantry – drawing no interest – she’d be left with only $840 million. In fact, great fortunes have a life of their own. Whitman’s bank account, like a crab regrowing a lost leg, probably regenerated itself overnight every time she wrote a check.


The Brown campaign gains our nomination for the How Quickly We Forget Award for its TV hit piece on Whitman that asked, “Shouldn’t character matter?”

Apparently Democrats cannot recall their defense of Bill Clinton as he was sullied the presidency with sexual exploitation of a subordinate, serial sexual harassment of other women (including possible rape) and perjury? This is the same Bill Clinton who demonstrated his high political morality by trying to seduce Kendrick Meek out of Florida’s Senate race.


Speaking of character: Let us condense for you President Obama’s press conference last Wednesday:

Reporter: Why do you suppose the GOP made such huge gains yesterday?

Obama:They did?

Reporter: Yes, Mr. President.

Obama: Well, in that case, those Republicans are going to have to compromise.

Reporter: But why did the Republicans roll up that big win?

Obama: Gosh, it was because the American people are impatient with the bad economy.

Reporter: Don’t you think the voters repudiated your policies?

Obama: Golly no! Some may have thought this is the agenda as opposed to a response to an emergency. But of course they’re wrong.

Reporter: You promised to change the way things were done in Washington, D.C., and to foster civility, but you signed legislation filled with earmarks, hired scads of lobbyists and then called your opponents “enemies.”

Obama: First off, I do believe there is hope for civility, if only those Republicans would be more civil and willing to compromise by doing what I want. Secondly, people would like my policies better if unemployment were 5 percent instead of around 10 percent?

Reporter: But how about your promises about earmarks and lobbyists?

Obama: Gee, I broke my promises with the best of intentions. It was an emergency, and I was in a hurry to save the nation – the world! I, in the rush to get things done, had to sign a bunch of bills that had earmarks in them.

Reporter: You pushed through the health-care bill, and the election showed the American people didn’t want it and don’t want it. Are you willing to compromise on that?

Obama: I think we’d be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years re-litigate arguments that we had over the last two years.

Reporter: Isn’t that a way of saying there’s no room for compromise?

Obama: There’s always room for the Republicans to compromise.


Nanny city: San Francisco supervisors voted last week to forbid fast food purveyors from including toys in meals they deem unhealthful. The reasoning: If parents won’t keep their kids from getting fat, we will.

Apparently the ordinance is a response to the fact that San Francisco has a higher proportion of stupid and irresponsible people than other municipalities, as witnessed by the city’s re-election of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Next door in the Silver State: Sen. Harry Reid garnered 361,655 votes to challenger Sharron Angle’s 320,996. Oddly, in Nevada’s three congressional races, Republican candidates aggregated 356,909 votes to the Democratic aggregate of 316,877.

A reader asks, “Are we supposed to conclude that voters wanted Republican congressmen and Harry Reid?”

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