Former S.F. Mayor: Obama Will Face 'Pushback' from Supporters

     At age 73 and just over four years of being out of politics, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown has a unique perspective on both the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama presidential candidacies.


      Brown, a self-proclaimed liberal, had some notable critiques of the way both Obama and Clinton are handling their campaigns and the problems that could be presented down the road. Brown appeared at the Howard University Bookstore in Washington, D.C. on February 13 to promote his new book, “Basic Brown.”


     Brown was asked by a member of the audience what he thought Obama should due to resolve the “income inequality” issue in the United States. Brown told the audience once Obama started to “quantify” his favorite buzzwords – inspiration and hope – into solutions for issues like individual income, he could face resistance from his own supporters.


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     “I anticipated that what may happen to him is when he commences to quantify how inspiration and hope is going to translate into good public policy, my guess is there will probably be some pushback from some of his supporters, because he’s going to have to step on lots of people’s toes.”


     Some of that “pushback” could come from Obama’s proposed tax policy.


     According to the February 3 Barron’s, if elected, Obama would increase the dividend and capital gains tax from 15 percent to between 24 percent and 25 percent – a nearly 67 percent increase. He would also increase the top marginal rate for ordinary income from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, a rate last seen during the Clinton presidency.


     Brown blamed Hillary Clinton’s fall from frontrunner status on running her campaign in “coronation mode” instead of “competitive mode.”


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     “Hillary Clinton was moving around the country in coronation mode, not in competitive mode,” Brown said. “She was looking for the coronation of her candidacy – the first woman. I mean, it was historic and it is historic – first woman, first African-American. I never thought in my lifetime I would see something other than white boys at that level. Well, low and behold, we’ve got a woman and we’ve got an African-American. She was literally the frontrunner. She has ceased to be the frontrunner, at least as of last night she has ceased to be the frontrunner, even by the most optimistic of Clinton supporters.”


     Brown noted that many black leaders, including Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Oakland, Calif. Mayor Ron Dellums, have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, although their constituents aren’t following suit and are voting for Obama instead.


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     “Well, let me tell you, in the world of politics – that happens many times,” Brown said. “Your constituency is sometimes moved by factors unrelated to the reality of your day-to-day management of your operation.”


     Brown explained each one of those black politicians had their own reasons for supporting Hillary over Obama. He said Rangel, who also chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has a New York constituency and regardless if Clinton wins or loses – his time in office will be profoundly impacted by Clinton.


     “I would doubt there would be very many elected officials in the state of New York who would find it appropriate to endorse against their U.S. senator,” Brown said.


     He said he guessed Lewis’ endorsement stemmed from the civil rights movement ties had to the Clinton, since both were products of the South. Brown said it was likely Dellums “benefited handsomely” from housing and urban development spending by Clinton presidency. And, he pointed out Waters’ husband was made the ambassador to The Bahamas by former President Bill Clinton – suggesting there’s a debt of gratitude owed to the Clintons by Waters.


     “That’s politics,” Brown said. “That’s the relationship, nothing to do with Mr. Obama whatsoever.”