Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Jerry Brown has never considered consistency a virtue during his nearly half-century in California politics.

During his first governorship, he constantly bobbed and weaved – most notably shifting from adamant opponent of Proposition 13 to calling himself a “born-again tax cutter.”

Later, Brown told high school students that “for those small minds that slavishly adhere to foolish consistency, their irrelevance is their best reward” and described his “canoe theory” of politics, saying, “If you paddle a little bit on the left side, then you paddle a little bit on the right side, you keep going right down the middle.”

Eventually, Brown’s shifty tendencies were his political undoing as California voters rejected his U.S. Senate bid in 1982. But three decades later, they are on display again in his ever-changing responses to pressure from federal courts to reduce severe prison overcrowding.

For months, Brown had claimed that he had done enough to reduce overcrowding and complying with judges’ demands would require releasing nearly 10,000 dangerous felons to prey upon the public.

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