2016 talk turns to California Gov. Jerry Brown

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,California,2016 Elections,Campaigns,Analysis,Jerry Brown

He’s in his third term as governor of California — is a lock to win a fourth — and is winning glowing media reviews for reining in the state’s budget mess, so it’s natural that allies of Jerry Brown are starting to talk up a possible 2016 presidential bid.

While Brown has publicly expressed little interest, some friends suggest that he could be the solution to gridlocked Washington, a Mr. Fix-It who at 75 still has the energy he displayed when first elected governor in 1975.

Progressives especially like Brown, who notably changed former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cigar tent into a yoga studio.

Even the “New Republic” is bragging on Brown’s political successes, and encouraging President Obama to look to California as the model for his second term. “Not too long ago, California was in calamitous shape—if the unresolvable budget battles and furloughing of hundreds of thousands of workers weren’t depressing enough, there was also the decrepit condition of the school system. But over the last few years, California has experienced a remarkable turnaround. Unemployment is down, and the state’s bond rating is up. The budget, to everyone’s amazement, is in surplus,” cheered the magazine.

Some associates, however, tell Secrets that Brown is nearly done with politics, that he ran for statewide office only to end the budget crisis.

Others say he’s too old. He would be 78 by Election Day 2016. Ronald Reagan was the oldest elected president at 69 and age was a consideration in Sen. John McCain’s 2008 bid when he was 72. A likely Democratic foe, Hillary Clinton, will be 68 in 2016.

Political consultant Alan Madison said that no matter what Brown decides to do, he will be viewed as a winner. “He can exit the stage at a time and place of his choosing. And he exits on top with his reputation intact,” said Madison.