Conservative Radio Host Tells California Gov. Jerry Brown He's Not Going To Kiss His Butt

As NewsBusters readers know all too well, Democratic elected officials across the fruited plain are used to softball interviews from their adoring media.

That’s not what California Governor Jerry Brown got Wednesday when conservative talk radio host Larry Elder told him, “You’re unhappy because I’m not kissing your butt. I’m not going to do it” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):

During their ten minute chat, Brown and Elder discussed overcrowding in California’s prisons, as well as the controversial bullet train.

When Elder pointed out that there’s no way this train will be run without state subsidies, Brown replied, “You don’t think the freeways are run with subsidies? The airports are run with subsidies. Come on. It costs money.”

“If you’re one of these anti-government guys who wants to dismantle the basic infrastructure of civilization,” Brown continued, “you and I have a disagreement.”

“Now who’s being rude and unfair?” responded Elder. “I never said anything about dismantling government.”

“Sure you are,” Brown objected.

“The people that voted for this bullet train if they had a chance to vote for it again would turn it down,” countered Elder.

“That’s what you think,” replied Brown. “I don’t agree with that.”

Then things seemed to take an ugly turn.

“Look, you invited me under the pretense of talking about one subject,” Brown argued.

“No, Governor,” Elder rebutted. “Your staff called us and you wanted to come on this show, and now you’re unhappy because I’m not kissing your butt. I’m not going to do it.”

What happened next is guaranteed to surprise you.

“I’m very happy,” Brown replied. “I think this is great because you’re getting a different point of view to your listening audience. That’s good. I like that. And you don’t have to agree with me, and I don’t have to agree with you.”


How refreshing to hear a politician – particularly on the left – get challenged by a host and rather than get angered by it, respond courteously while continuing the interview.

In fact, as it came to a conclusion, Brown said, “We’ll come on again and have this debate. If you want to talk about the bullet train, not today, but somewhere down the road in a few months, I’ll be glad to come on and give you – in fact, I could bring someone on that could give it to you better than I could.”

“I’d love to, Governor,” said Elder. “And I appreciate you coming on. Thanks a lot.”

“You are a vigorous debater,” Brown graciously added.

“You got it,” Elder acknowledged. “Appreciate it, Governor. Thank you.”

Now that’s how left and right should engage in this country: a vigorous debate with both sides shaking hands at the end and asking to do it again in the future.

Just imagine how much more informed the public would be.

Bravo, gentlemen! Bravo!

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.