| At the (CYD Caucus) CDP poolside shindig last night, the big news was that I missed the tamales on the buffet. I was enraged! I was more enraged by the fact that Jerry Brown took the last one.
Ok, Ok, I kid. The real big news was the converstaion between Brown and CDP Chair John Burton. As Brown and Burton were engaged in small talk, Calitics reader lindasutton came up and brought up the question of single payer.
Brown responded by saying it was never going to happen. That it wasn't going to happen at the federal level, and that he wasn't sure about it at the state level. Burton then interjected saying that it would, and should, happen. After Brown hemmed and hawed for a while, saying that it wouldn't happen, Burton responded with this remark: "I thought you were supposed to reach beyond the stars."
I'm not quite sure what Brown's response was, as it was a bit mumbled. I think it was something to the effect of it's not going to happen. A remarkable evening, all in all.
UPDATE by Robert: I too was standing there, tamale-less, watching this fascinating exchange between two of the leading California politicians of the 1960s and 1970s. It was an interesting contrast in basic political approaches. Burton emphasizes progressive principles - his older brother Phil created the Medi-Cal program in the early 1960s and he believes that single-payer is the right solution to the health care crisis. Brown emphasizes a pragmatic approach, one that will never embrace a progressive solution on its merits unless it is already popular with voters.
Interestingly, Brown's statement on single-payer - "it'll never happen" - is the same position President Barack Obama has. The difference of course is that Obama was able to create a campaign based on a clear message of hope and change that was able to generate high levels of enthusiasm among progressives to help him win. Brown, on the other hand, hasn't yet offered any larger vision for progressives to embrace, so his dismissal of single-payer is going to be more of an obstacle.
Marcy Winograd, who is again challenging Jane Harman for the Democratic nomination in CA-36, suggested an interesting approach to this: progressives should tell Brown if/when he wins that "we celebrate your victory and look forward to you singing the single-payer bill."