Meg: Jerry’s damned if he does or doesn’t

The Associated Press reports that state Attorney General Jerry Brown, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is demanding that a federal judge allow executions to resume in California now that new lethal injection regulations have been put in place.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman quickly issued a statement saying that, “Even on matters of life and death, Jerry Brown is willing to play politics. Brown’s newfound support for the death penalty after three decades of opposing it is as preposterous as his newfound appreciation for fiscal conservatism. None of this squares with Jerry Brown’s record and must have his supporters scratching their heads.”

But although Brown does indeed have a long history of opposition to the death penalty, he did vow while running for Attorney General in 2006 that he would uphold California law regardless of his personal beliefs; his current argument to the federal judge seems to honor that vow.

In fact, Whitman herself blasted Brown and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today – while talking to the San Jose Mercury News’ editorial board – for not adequately upholding the law of the land regarding Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage; they said they believe the ban to be unconstitutional and have declined to defend it in court. “I don’t think you can have elected officials deciding what’s constitutional and what’s not,” Whitman said this morning.

So, hours later, news breaks that Brown is putting the law of the land (the death penalty) above his own beliefs – and Whitman blasts him for that, too. Is she trying to have it both ways? That is, wouldn’t she also be criticizing him if he didn’t demand that executions resume?

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Jive Jerry could not place his “personal beliefs” above the law and still be attorney general.

  • Elwood

    It’s called politics, Josh.

    A topic on which you are supposed to be an expert.

    But Jerry’s got a “D” after his name so whatever he does is OK!


  • Merton Hanks

    Elwood – are Meg’s actions here OK with you? It’s just another example of her trying to have it both ways on something – illegal immigration? Seemed like an entirely different candidate before June 9th, I wonder what happened the day before?

    Meg just told the Sacramento Bee ed board re: pensions that “We have got to renegotiate these benefits. And I will negotiate in good faith with all the different unions.” When just, 5 shameless days earlier, she told the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association that all public safety employee pensions are off the table. So which option is true? It can’t be both. She’s either lying to the people of California, or lying to cops and firefighters.

  • Elwood

    Yo, Mert:

    You got any links to these assertions of yours?

    Things taken out of context can have a whole different meaning. Not that I don’t trust you. Just sayin’, you know.

  • Merton Hanks

    No problem, Elwood – I should have included them in post 3.

    Meg on 9/15, saying public safety employee pensions are off the table:


    Meg on 9/20, telling the Bee that she’ll negotiate with “all the different unions” (she even mentions the prison guards specifically) – end of 4th paragraph:


  • Common Tater

    I don’t particularly mind if Jerry Brown is damned both ways. Now if we could find a way to have his big mouth “dammed” from telling lies…

  • John W

    Bunch of nonsense. Pathetic. Neither candidate is dealing with much substance. Yesterday’s “What I would do if I were governor” piece by a conservative columnist in another paper across the Bay said far more about the real issues than both candidates combined. Even talked about the untouchable subject of Prop. 13. Of course, the writer doesn’t need to get votes.

  • Elwood

    Re: #5

    A lot of people don’t consider prison guards public safety employees.

    Therefore, no inconsistency.

    Dig harder, Mert.

  • Merton Hanks

    Sorry Elwood – she told the Bee, regardless of the fact that she mentioned guards, she will “work with ALL the different unions” to renegotiate pensions and benefits. She told cops and firefighters 5 days earlier that she wouldn’t touch their pensions. She is lying to one of those groups.

  • Elwood

    Fine points of political parsing, Mert!

    Can you share with us your opinion of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?