With Kamala Harris in the news, I’ve been interested in her old boyfriend Willie Brown, former speaker of the California Assembly and mayor of San Francisco. He never went to Washington, so he’s little known outside of California, but he was a tremendously gifted and successful politician in California. In recent decades, Northern California has dominated California politics, despite Southern California’s larger population. Some of this is the general talent advantage NorCal has over SoCal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the gap is specifically due to Brown’s abilities
The Man From K Street comments:
Brown doesn’t make it publicly understood like former NY governor Patterson, but it’s been well-known in Bay Area elite circles since the 1970s that he is completely blind. Not “legally blind” but you know, sightless. The cover story for the public is that it is due to “retinitis pigmentosa” and therefore very slowly degenerative, but that’s as accurate as when Michael Jackson said his ever-whitening skin was because of “vitiligo”.
It would be interesting to find out how much of Brown’s political savvy has come from compensation making his sense of hearing more acute–interpretation of pauses, discerning tiny inflections of doubt or bravado etc.
That’s pretty amazing.
I guess it’s a little bit like dyslexia, which all four youngest Rockefeller brothers (including VP Nelson Rockefeller and banker David Rockefeller), grandsons of John D., suffered from because their dad, J.D. Jr., sent them to a progressive school modeled on the views of John Dewey. They were more successful than their highly literate oldest brother who got a classical education.
But being blind is way worse.