California's Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown made a quick stop in Cambridge yesterday, giving Harvard a taste of both his political and his academic personalities. Brown, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination, moved from a denunciation of Barry Goldwater and an analysis of Democratic politics to a discussion of the state's role in a federal system of government--all in the space of a short afternoon.
Speaking early in the day to a gathering of the Young Democrats, Brown labelled some of Senator Goldwater's proposals as "bordering on the ridiculous" and said "it worries me that this man might become President." He did not think, however, that either Goldwater or Nelson Rockefeller would win the Republican nomination, but that Pennsylvania's Governor William Scranton had a "good chance."
Later in the afternoon, Brown spoke to a receptive audience of about 250 in Littauer Auditorium. He made some "urgent" proposals for bringing America's federalism up to date. He called especially for the formation of a Council of Governors, similar to the Economic Council of Advisers to the President, which would advise the national government "before policy is made, not after."
A state governor, Brown said, is "the people's advocate" in a way that Congressmen are not, for he is constantly in touch with all the problems a state must face. Yet a governor cannot, Brown added, have a direct effect on the formation of national policy, but can only speak through intermediaries.
Brown said that a much closer relationship between the national and state governments is needed. "There is a limit to what even a prosperous and growing state like California can undertake by itself." The national government, Brown said, must undertake programs to alleviate national problems--poverty, unemployment, racial discrimination--which no state has the resources to solve. "California could wipe out its personal income tax altogether," he said, "and it would have less than one-third of the impact of a small cut in federal taxes."
Brown also urged the creation of more inter-state programs, like TVA, to deal with problems above the state level.