Democrats Strong Message, Wrong Messenger

Jerry Brown issues a powerful appeal for a voter uprising against politics-as-usual. But that old Governor Moonbeam image keeps getting in the way.

Only one presidential candidate would dare to stump for votes at a convention of crystal-worshipping New Agers in Los Angeles. Prowling the stage with a hand mike like a stand-up crooner, Jerry Brown trumpets his current theme about the hopeless corruption of the political system, then offers his audience more specialized wares. He cites Buckminster Fuller's appeal for a fundamental "design change" of society. To loud applause from the assembled acolytes of acupuncture, psychoshamanism and touch therapy, he declares that any vast health-care reform "should also recognize alternative healing modalities." The custom-tailored sermon, delivered with rat-a-tat intensity, goes over so effectively...