I like New Jersey governor Chris Christie. I think he would make a formidable candidate for national office. I oppose many of the high profile positions California Governor Jerry Brown has taken (see high speed rail and Prop 30) – but I don’t buy Christie’s characterization of Brown as a “re-tread.”

That was the term Christie used in a speech in revving up the California delegation at the Republican Convention. Yes, Brown is back for a second act as governor many decades after his first go-around. But, I was around during his first act, too, so perhaps I’m taking the jab a bit personally. Being around for a long time doesn’t mean you’re stale.

Brown has changed over the years – not always for the better in my opinion. However, the nationally ambitious governor of the 1970s who believed in an “era of limits” is not exactly the same governor of the 2010s.  “Re-tread” may score some political points with the audience to whom the speech was given, but as an old-timer myself “re-tread” feels like there is nothing new to give. I don’t think that describes Brown or necessarily others who have been in the arena for a long time and have the scars to prove it.

Not that I haven’t been tagged as a non-original thinker in the past. Catch this from the LA Weekly a decade ago when I was advising former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan in his run for governor:

Riordan should also can his “policy advisor” Joel Fox.  An affable enough fellow, Fox is nevertheless a political dinosaur.  An anti-tax fundamentalist, Fox is one of the godfathers of Prop. 13 and hasn’t had an original political idea since protesting the Stamp Act.

Talk about your re-treads — not decades, but centuries back!

Those nifty sentences were written by Marc Cooper, now of USC’s journalism school. To bring this piece full circle, Cooper has contributed an interview with Jerry Brown in the California Issue of Pacific Standard Magazine, which is released today. Cooper still holds his same position on the need for new taxes that is evident in the questions he asks Brown.

The magazine discusses many California issues, including a feature on the Think Long Committee, an article on “Professor” Schwarzenegger, and the Brown interview. You can find the magazine here. www.psmag.com