In fact, Brown, 74, just may have sewed up his 2014 reelection Tuesday. The incumbent will be much less likely now to draw a strong challenger if he, as expected, seeks the second term of his second gubernatorial stint.
That's assuming he doesn't blow it on some liberal binge or more bullet train-type decisions.
Brown has a new opportunity to attack a previously ignored to-do list that starts with tax reform, spreading the revenue base and making the structure more stable. Prop. 30, unfortunately, heads in the opposite direction by soaking the rich, who aren't consistently reliable producers of big revenue.
The must list also includes education reform, a slimmed-down water bond and business regulatory relief.
"I realize I'm coming from a generation that sang 'Kumbaya' and is naive and Pollyannaish," says veteran political lawyer Steve Merksamer, who was Republican Gov. George Deukmejian's chief of staff. "But what the governor needs to do is provide leadership.
"Get everyone together and try to begin the process of less demonizing each other and more working together, even if holding their noses around people they don't like."
And, referring to Brown's hippie-style wooden picnic table that replaced mahogany and leather in the Cabinet room, Merksamer says: "Get rid of the benches. Get back comfortable chairs so they can do some serious discussion with serious people."
But today the governor deserves congratulations.
He understands more than most politicians, however, that power is cyclical and victory often fleeting.