Interesting, no? I ran across that at Wikipedia as I was looking up some things this morning. I wasn't checking up on his new campaign for governor. I was trying to remember what had happened in the 1992 Democratic primaries. We'd been talking about Bill and Hillary Clinton. (Would we be better off now if Hillary were President?) And I remembered that back in 1992, early on in the primary season when there were a lot of candidates, my shorthand reason for rejecting Bill Clinton was: He's a Republican. Then I was trying to remember who I voted for in the Wisconsin primary, which I knew was late, after many of those candidates had dropped out. Who was the last man standing in the 1992 Democratic primaries challenging Bill Clinton? It was Jerry Brown. Did you remember that?
As the press now focused on the primaries in New York and Wisconsin, which were both to be held on the same day, Brown, who had taken the lead in polls in both states, made a serious gaffe: he announced to an audience of various leaders of New York City's Jewish community that, if nominated, he would consider the Reverend Jesse Jackson as a vice-presidential candidate. Jackson, who had made a pair of anti-Semitic comments about Jews in general and New York City's Jews in particular while running for president in 1984, was still a widely hated figure in that community and Brown's polling numbers suffered. On April 7, he lost narrowly to Bill Clinton in Wisconsin (37–34), and dramatically in New York (41–26).Here's a New York Times report, from just before the primary:
Mr. Clinton yesterday appeared to be straddling the divisions between the two groups [blacks and Jews], at once putting an advertisement on black radio stations touting his civil rights record and accusing Mr. Brown of pandering to blacks by saying he would choose the Rev. Jesse Jackson as his running mate.Ha ha. I could have run an ad on that and made him look like a bigot. He just said it and got it quoted as if he were refraining from using it. Hilarious. I cannot remember if, in the end, I voted for Clinton or Brown. Probably Brown. What an amazing career that man has had. Astounding that after all these years, he's worked his way back to the California governorship.
"I think that we should not play politics with the Vice Presidency, even though it can be a vote-getter," Mr. Clinton said....
At a meeting with a Jewish group on Thursday, Mr. Brown was repeatedly asked how he could expect to win the Jewish vote after embracing Mr. Jackson, who referred to New York City as "Hymietown" in the 1984 Presidential campaign.
For his part, Mr. Brown has tried to appeal to appeal to black and Jewish voters alike with a television advertisement that criticizes Mr. Clinton for playing golf at an all-white country club. Yesterday, Mr. Clinton attacked Mr. Brown for the commercial, which he said distorted his record on civil rights.
"Let me tell you something," Mr. Clinton said. "A few years ago Jerry Brown said the real solution to racial problems was for the white boys to teach black boys how to read and for black boys to teach white boys how to fight. Now, I could have run an ad on that and made him look like a bigot."
And, for an unusual guy, an unusual official portrait, by Don Barchardy.