Commentary: Jerry Brown's second chance

California voters decided Tuesday that a recycled governor is better than an inexperienced billionaire for the state's top office. Attorney General Jerry Brown now will get the chance to produce a sequel to his governorship of three decades ago.

But the problems will be much more difficult than the first time around for Brown. Now he will have to do battle with a Legislature controlled by his own party if he truly wants to make a difference, especially in getting the state's finances under control.

It was a fuzzy campaign strategy for Brown. He avoided making bold pledges or sweeping prescriptions for reform. He mostly offered sound bites -- "live within our means" and "no taxes without voter approval."

Brown correctly sensed that after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, voters were weary of an outsider with no electoral experience. He hammered former eBay CEO Meg Whitman as a neophyte, while presenting himself as a seasoned leader.

Given the vast amount of money Whitman spent and the Republican wave that swept the country, Brown's strategy was successful. But this race was more about Whitman losing than Brown winning.

But now he must govern. Millions of Californians, including those who voted for Brown, are left with nagging questions about his priorities and administrative style.

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