The Incredible Shrinking Governor

What is your opinion of the governor?

That question is surprisingly hard for Californians to answer, at least when the subject is Jerry Brown.

One-third of adults in a new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California said they didn't know enough to venture an opinion when asked about Brown's job performance.

Think about it.

Even though Brown's struggles with the budget have been the dominant story in California, and even though the budget profoundly affects anyone who goes to school or drives the crumbling roads, a significant plurality of Californians don't know enough to venture an opinion.

The question is why.

Part of the answer is that many people are busy with their own lives and struggles, and don't follow the news.

But part of the answer may be Brown's decision to spend most of his time in Sacramento, saying very little.

He's made only short and very occasional forays around the state to talk about what he's up to. And so many of us aren't even bothering to think about Brown.

This may be smart political strategy. Public attention may not help the governor, particularly when his proposals -- cutting spending, raising taxes -- aren't naturally that popular.

But one of the few powers that a California governor has in our system of government is the power to command attention.

Brown's not using that power very much.

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