Gov. Brown’s second-time-around-as-governor has built on a philosophy of keeping things small, simple and cheap. Don’t spend. Save surpluses. Resist efforts to reform the broken governing system, or make big investments in California’s future after decades of disinvestment.

This philosophy – call it Brownism — has succeeded too well. The state budget is fixed, and the media are lauding Brown’s progress inside and outside the state. The reality on the ground is different. Our schools and universities, despite doing a little bit better in funding, still can’t provide enough instruction for enough people. Affordable housing is impossible to find. Infrastructure is in disrepair.

Now, Brownism appears to have another victim: Brown himself.

The governor has had two big exceptions to his philosophy of the small and cheap. The big and expensive high-speed rail project, and his Delta water tunnels plans. But both are stuck – with their opponents using Brownism against him.

The L.A. Times columnist George Skelton offered perhaps the best example of attacking Brown with Brownism in a recent column about legislative efforts to frustrate high-speed rail and the tunnels. Skelton wrote:

If legislators did summon the courage to pass these measures and Brown vetoed them, it would highlight his hypocrisy. Here’s a governor who voters grade highly for fiscal prudence on most budget matters. But he’s spending wildly — many say recklessly — on a squirrelly high-speed rail system.

This is the governor, remember, who insisted on seeking the voters’ approval for a huge tax increase….But he seems afraid of asking voters’ permission to build the state’s most-expensive-ever water project, even if it undoubtedly would jack up their water bills.

Brownism is a huge problem for a state that is way behind in doing big and necessary things. It’s also a huge problem for the governor who has at least a couple big things he wants to do.

We’re long overdue for one of those Jerry Brown pivots. It’s time for Brown to renounce Brownism—and start making an unapologetic case for investments in California’s future.