The rhetoric, he said, is "generally deficient and uninspiring."
Nevertheless, as the Mars rover Curiosity finished its first test drive on the Red Planet, Brown proclaimed today "Space Day" in California.
He read a line from his text: "The challenge and the promise of outer space unites all of humanity in a shared sense of curiosity, hope and wonderment."
It was not the first "Space Day" Brown has declared. He reminded the crowd in Pasadena that he had done so when he was governor before in 1977. That year, Brown hosted an event on the eve of the space shuttle Enterprise's first free flight.
"We talked a lot about space and the future," Brown said. "Of course, I talked a little bit too much about space, and they began to think I might be a little spacey. And that's where I got this moniker called 'Governor Moonbeam.' "
It was Brown's unorthodox appointments -- as much as his interest in a state satellite program -- that inspired Chicago columnist Mike Royko to give him the nickname. Brown, who has embraced the name, suggested there might have been other reasons to call him that, too.
"There's a lot of other ingredients into my Moonbeamship," he said, "only one of which was my interest in space."
PHOTO CREDIT: California Gov. Jerry Brown, center, tours NASA's Mars Curiosity rover mission In-Situ Instrument Laboratory room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. From left is Dr. Charles Elachi, director of JPL, Gov. Brown and Richard Cook, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Deputy Project Manager. (Associated Press Photo/Damian Dovarganes, Pool)