For all his criticism of candidate Bill Clinton during the presidential race last year, Jerry Brown has been remarkably quiet about his fellow Democrat’s short tenure in the White House.
Brown, the former California governor who edged out former Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas in the Maine caucuses more than a year ago, has continued to ply his trade as political outsider since the election season ended.
He’s about to publish the first installment in the We The People book series, he’s about to crank up a new cable show in California, and he’s been hot on the lecture circuit, pushing the anti-establishment theme in coffeehouses and legislatures that kept him nipping at Clinton’s heels up to the national convention.
But Brown, whose media draw has been eclipsed by that of Ross Perot as the leader of left-out legions, passed up an opportunity Monday to take on the administration outright.
“I think the honeymoon has a few more months,” Brown said during a telephone interview as he prepared to address a rally in Auburn. “I’m not going to give him a report card just yet.”
That, however, doesn’t mean he’s ready to sign on as a Clintonite, and he hasn’t talked with the president since the convention last summer.
“It’s just a political difference,” he said. “He’s an upholder of the status quo.”
Like Perot, Brown is busy extending his candidacy to a national movement, and We The People hopes to open local headquarters near you soon. And while Perot has captured the rapt attention of Congress and the media, Brown said his own agenda is on the rise.
“He’s got a few billion to support his voice,” he said of Perot. “It’s like the tortoise and the hare — we’ll catch up.”
As usual, however, his verbal attacks on the establishment were at anything but a turtle’s pace. During the course of a 15-minute interview, the former governor attacked the proposed North American Free Trade Act as the “rejected legacy of Reagan and Bush,” argued the need for term limits, and railed against the current efforts at campaign finance reform.
“It’s still unbalanced because balance is never yielded,” said Brown, who just a couple years ago raised millions for California candidates before his political conversion.