Friday, July 16, 2010

Scott Brown

For what it's worth, here's my take on the junior senator from Massachusetts. It is based on articles I've read about him and on statements and speeches he has made.

First of all, Brown is more of an opportunist than a dyed-in-the-wool right wing ideologue. He supported several progressive bills while a state senator here, including the Massachusetts version of health care reform -- a measure very similar to the national healthcare bill passed recently but opposed by Brown. Listening to him talk, he sounds moderate at first, but passes out all the usual TPR buzzwords like "overreaching" (for the Fed. Gov't) and "individual initiative" and "burden of taxes" (on "small" business). No original thinking here. He owes his election to the lumpen-conservatives -- mostly the TeaScreamers -- who's highest level of political awareness seems to be: "throw out everyone who's 'in' [no matter how good] and elect anyone who's 'out' [no matter how bad]." This, combined with a very poor campaign by Martha Coakley got him elected.

Brown is young and, from his speeches, pretty shallow politically. He describes defending unpopular people in court as "lawyering [them] up," and has repeated every silly Republican attack against Obama's health care plan. On the other hand, he knows that he is from a fairly progressive, traditionally Democratic state, so he can't be perceived as a total stooge of Mitch McConnell and still win re-election. His bosses in the PTR know this also. Thus, he could become one of a tiny handful of "old style" reasonable Republicans like Ed Brooke and Jacob Javits who crank out the usual lines about taxes and individual responsibility, yet who are not anxious to sell the entire country to Big Business.

It would be nice to see Brown, Snowe and Collins -- the three Republicans who voted for both the Stimulus package and the new Wall Street reregulation -- form the nucleus of this kind of Republican caucus -- a group which puts the country ahead of partisan gain.

We shall see.

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