Brown Needs to Set Record Straight on Maddow

April 6th, 2010 at 8:30 am | 31 Comments |

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I kept an open mind when Scott Brown was elected senator in Massachusetts where I reside, though I confess I didn’t vote for him. Nonetheless, I encouraged my Democratic friends to put their cynicism aside. “He may surprise us,” I insisted, because the truth is his campaign promise to be an independent thinker appealed to something deeper in me than partisan leanings. I have a profound belief in the necessity for a functioning two-party system. Politics aside, as an American, I worry about the GOP’s scorched earth strategy. So, like Olympia Snowe, I welcomed Scott Brown to the United States Senate, imagining that this moderate Republican would help break the stalemate. His vote for the jobs bill seemed like validation and frankly, it was easy to live with his vote against healthcare since we in Massachusetts already have it, thanks to Romney’s program for which Brown voted.

I am having a harder time, however, understanding a recent action, which confounds me.  The new senator sent a fundraising e-mail to GOP donors claiming the Democratic machine is trying to recruit television pundit Rachel Maddow to challenge him in the next election. Maddow’s response? “I was just surprised because it’s a factual assertion that they’re making that is just not based in reality.” To set him straight, she tried repeatedly to reach him by telephone but the senator returned none of her calls, which I readily believe, because he also returned none of mine. In the Boston Globe, senior strategist Eric Fehrnstrom denied that Maddow tried to contact Brown and continues to assert that Maddow is being recruited.

What to make of this?  After the election, Brown’s daughter revealed that her father’s famous truck was actually purchased to transport her horse to equestrian events. I rationalized this misrepresentation as a political tactic, perhaps even a symbol for a populist heart. But what spin do I put on Brown vs. Maddow? And why does a line from Joseph Conrad keep playing in my head?  ”You know I hate, detest, and can’t bear a lie,” Conrad wrote, “not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me.”

Recent Posts by Marcia Smilack



31 Comments so far ↓

  • Carney

    If this site is about reforming the Republican Party and conservatism in order to be more politically successful, why is it posting a piece from someone who refused to vote even for a Republican like Scott Brown, a hugely popular candidate who did everything the GOP is constantly hectored and browbeaten to do – be “pro choice” and “pro gay”, de-emphasize “divisive” issues, be sunny and “inclusive”, refrain from tough “negative” attacks on Obama, the Democratic Party, or his opponent, etc etc? If even Brown is too far to your right, in what way can you possibly claim to be a Republican or conservative, and thus someone we should trust for advice to further our goals and interests?

    I particularly love the smug self-congratulation about her generosity of spirit in permitting her friends to keep an “open mind” about Brown.

    Her concern about “lies” might be better spent in examining the candidate she voted for, Coakley, who knowingly kept an innocent man in jail to further her political career.

  • MMK

    I think it’s a great blog – why should pols get away with lies – well written and worth sending to others

  • Dana King

    I’m new to the site. If this is the kind of commentary I can expect, I’ll become a regular.

    I do take issue with one comment:
    “His vote for the jobs bill seemed like validation and frankly, it was easy to live with his vote against healthcare since we in Massachusetts already have it, thanks to Romney’s program for which Brown voted.”

    Does this mean you have a health care system similar to what was recently signed into law and like it, but since you got yours, the hell with everyone else?

  • msmilack

    Dana King,
    Thanks for the compliment; in answer to your question, no, that isn’t what I meant; of course, it’s not all right that everyone doesn’t have it. I just found it ironic that Brown supported an equivalent bill in his home state but switched belief systems to run for the Senate. Like Romney’s stance, so Brown’s seems hypocritical to me.
    MSmilack

  • Carney

    msmilack, you ignore the issue of federalism. Romney’s point was that the MA health plan may have been right for MA, but did not necessarily fit other states, and that states should be allowed to experiment with different reform ideas rather than have a single national system. Hence even presuming identical features there is no contradiction between supporting RomneyCare in MA and opposing Obamacare nationwide.

  • msmilack

    Carney,
    When you read the healthcare bill, you discover that, as it is written, each state can shape it however it wants to fit its own needs. It will ultimately be just like Romney’s bill in that sense, state by state.

    But you know what? The great thing about a democracy is that we are free to disagree; in any event, I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
    MS

  • rbottoms

    GOP politician uses bald faced lie to raise cash, even after being told that no such attempt to recruit Rachel Maddow exists.

    Other surprises of the day: Earth continues to spin on it’s axis, ice found in Antarctica, and water found to be wet.

  • LauraNo

    I think what’s gone wrong is people have confused conservatism with republicanism. They are not the same thing. A conservative could arguably be in favor of health care reform and a new energy policy but a republican can’t be these days. I take it that this site in concerned with conservatism, not republicanism except where the goals actually coincide.

  • CentristNYer

    Carney // Apr 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    “If this site is about reforming the Republican Party and conservatism in order to be more politically successful, why is it posting a piece from someone who refused to vote even for a Republican like Scott Brown…?”

    I agree. We should stick our heads up our rumps a little further and tune out all opposing viewpoints that don’t neatly conform with our own. Brown had no deficiencies whatsoever as a candidate and if the author couldn’t see him for the gift that he was, then clearly she’s useless to conservatives and will never vote with us. We should ignore her kind and continue to nominate more Michelle Bachmanns and Jim Demints and Joe Wilsons, all of whom have made us so proud to call ourselves Republicans.

  • TerryF98

    Scott Brown = Fraud

  • balconesfault

    The most disturbing thing about the incident right now is that Brown should have dealt with this weeks ago and said “We were wrong. Sorry.”

    That’s it. Sometimes we all screw up – we jump the gun with something we’d heard, we don’t adequately verify information, we even mishear something or get info from someone who misheard.

    First time Maddow took this public, Brown should have simply come out and declared “oh – ok – we heard wrong. Sorry.”

    The problem in all this is that many of the problems the Republicans face right now is because for 8 years the leader of the Republican Party was a man who has always steadfastly refused to admit to any mistake. A little retrospection and self-examination by one George W Bush years ago would have saved himself, the nation, and the party some serious damage.

  • Carney

    balconesfault, what mistake has Obama admitted to? And I don’t mean that he hasn’t repeated his propaganda loudly and often enough.

  • Carney

    CentristNYer, again I issue the challenge you have ignored twice already. On what issue in serious left-right contention do you take the right’s side? And don’t conveniently re-define some left position as “conservative” – use the common currently accepted definitions please.

  • CentristNYer

    Carney // Apr 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    “On what issue in serious left-right contention do you take the right’s side? And don’t conveniently re-define some left position as “conservative””

    This is why it’s impossible to answer your question. You have a fixed, rigid notion of what a conservative should think and it really doesn’t matter in the slightest what anyone else defines as conservative.

    I’ve already told you in other threads that, for instance, I find it a crackpot notion that conservatives should be against allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces or oppose their right to enter into marital contracts. For years conservatives opposed affirmative action saying that employment should be about one’s abilities, not their skin color, and I supported that notion. Today the GOP says that military service is not about your abilities, it’s about whom choose to love.

    I didn’t change my beliefs, the party did. And that’s shameful.

  • Dana King

    Ms. Milack,

    Thank you for the reply. We are in total agreement.

  • BoolaBoola

    Brown is just a weirdo. He ran on nothing–no position except he was against debt and wanted to cut taxes and had no ideas for cutting spending which is a nonsense position. He even tried to run in the middle on abortion. No positions, no ideas, nothing except Not Kennedy.

  • BoolaBoola

    He always struck me as unhinged. He never seemed to meet people’s eye when he talked to them.

  • msmilack

    balconesfault
    I agree with you.

  • xcrewdrepubs

    I hope the likes of Carney get together and flock to the GOP. And then it’ll be easier for the Pied Piper Palin to play her flute and lead the vermin of the conservatives’ party to extinction.

    Pity the true fiscal conservatives, their solid arguments (on affirmative action for instance as CentristNYer points out) are getting drowned by the inconsistencies (hypocrisy?) of the religious zealots and right-wingnuts. It just seems nowadays, you can not call out a GOP politician’s actions without being called silly contradictory names (ever heard of Islamofascist commie..what?!!!). Like here we get Carney castigating the smug author of this post for what looks like – to me at least – a straight-forward but mundane introspection – “what spin do I put on Brown vs. Maddow?”.

    so Carney, I submit to your humble yet genuine and purist conservative’s retort to that question..

  • franco 2

    ”You know I hate, detest, and can’t bear a lie,” Conrad wrote, “not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me.”

    Conrad would be especially appalled by Obama, methinks.

  • balconesfault

    Conrad would be especially appalled by Obama, methinks.

    Really? What are the lies?

    Per your comment on what mistakes has Obama admitted to – well, he hasn’t had that much time to make many … but back during the campaign after proclaiming that Jerusalem would be undivided, he admitted that he was wrong and even as President wouldn’t have the authority to enforce that.

    Certainly after the Gates mistake, Obama immediately admitted that he chose his words poorly, he addressed the issue immediately, and he got parties together for a talk to address the issues.

    So what are the things that you believe Obama should be admitting he’s wrong about – except, perhaps in your opinion, everything?

  • franco 2

    Lies During Second Year

    I am immediately instituting PayGo “Pay as you go”
    Said during a speech immediately after the Trillion Dollar “Shovel Ready” bill.

    I got the Message from Massachusetts
    Daily Bail
    Lies During First Year

    Health Care deals will be covered on C-span
    Obama Lies

    Recovery Act will save or create jobs
    ABC News

    Unemployment rate will be 8.5% without stimulus.
    Obama Lies

    I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care plan
    Specator.Org

    We have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and refinance their mortgages.
    Obama Lies

    I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage.
    NPR

    Guantanamo bay to be closed within a year
    Council on Foreign Relations.

    Won’t Raise taxes on those making less than 250,000 per year.
    Businessweek: Obama Agnostic on taxes
    List of Tax Promise Violations
    2008 Campaign Lies

    I’ll get rid of earmarks
    Source: Any bill passed during presidency

    When a bill lands on my Desk, The American people will have 5 days to review it before I sign it.
    Campaign Speech

    Have troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2009
    News Video

    Senors Making less than 50,000 will not have to pay taxes
    YouTube

    Would not vote for any bill supporting troop funding without a firm withdrawal commitment from the Bush Administration.
    He has done nothing but continue the Bush admins strategy and to explain how the “surges total failure” has now become his greatest achievement.

    Present Votes Are Common In Illinois
    NPR

    I Won Michigan
    Huffington Post

    I won Nevada
    The Nation

    I don’t Have Lobbyists
    US News

    My Campaign Had Nothing To Do With The 1984 Ad
    Crooks and Liars

    I Have Always Been Against Iraq
    Washington Post

    My Wife Didn’t Mean What She Said About Pride In Country
    CNN

    Barack was never an ACORN trainer and never worked for ACORN in any other capacity.
    Obama Campaign Video

    I Barely Know Rezko
    Sun Times

    My Church Is Like Any Other Christian Church
    ABC News

  • balconesfault

    I am immediately instituting PayGo “Pay as you go”
    Said during a speech immediately after the Trillion Dollar “Shovel Ready” bill.

    I don’t see the lie. Obama proposed the stimulus that he felt the economy needed immediately to prevent a recession. What has he done since then that violates pay go?

    I got the Message from Massachusetts

    The message he got was to sit down with Republicans publicly and discuss their proposals. And he called for components to be added into the reconciliation bill.

    Health Care deals will be covered on C-span

    That was a campaign statement, and it showed naivte in my mind, since there was no way all parties involved would have an open and honest dialogue in front of the cameras. That said, Obama has also said that he considers it a mistake to not have insisted on more openness throughout the proceedings.
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31990.html

    Recovery Act will save or create jobs

    It has, thanks

    Unemployment rate will be 8.5% without stimulus.

    A mistake, not a lie. It more likely would have been around 12-13% without the stimulus.

    I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care plan

    That was said in 2003. Do you believe everything possible today that you did 7 years ago?

    We have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and refinance their mortgages.

    He has http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/

    I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage.

    He most demonstrably has not. This is getting stupid – exactly how ill informed are you? A major cricitism of Obama from the left has been that he hasn’t actively promoted same-sex marriage.

    Guantanamo bay to be closed within a year

    If you want to call that a lie, fine. He ran into a brick wall, but he did everything that a person who wanted to do that – but who also believes in the democratic process – could do.

    I suppose that everytime a quarterback claims they’ll win the next game, and then they lose, you call him out for lying? As I said – this list is just stupid.

    I’ll get rid of earmarks

    Find me the exact quote where he says this – and not some truncated quote where he is saying that he will get rid of specific earmarks, but rather all earmarks in general. At best, that quote is really like lefties claiming that Limbaugh promised to move to Costa Rica. Truncated and false.

    Would not vote for any bill supporting troop funding without a firm withdrawal commitment from the Bush Administration.

    If you notice, Obama has repeatedly expressed his committment to the Iraq withdrawal schedule laid out in the status of forces agreement.

    Well, I’m sure you didn’t notice. Because your new sources probably don’t tell you that.

    Present Votes Are Common In Illinois

    And…?

    I Won Michigan

    Wow – really digging deep here. Obama said “Well David we’ve won Michigan and Georgia and Illinois and Missouri”. That’s called a mistake. But if you want to call that a lie, go with it. Its triviality emphasizes the triviality of your complaint.

    Although a few months later, he did win Michigan. Handily, I might add.

    I won Nevada

    Who won the 2000 Presidential Election? The guy with more popular votes … or the guy with more electoral college votes?

    Because Obama had more delegates from Nevada. That’s called winning.

    I don’t Have Lobbyists

    Give me a real quote.

    My Campaign Had Nothing To Do With The 1984 Ad

    And what do you know … it didn’t.

    I Have Always Been Against Iraq

    And…?

    My Wife Didn’t Mean What She Said About Pride In Country

    Where does this quote come from?

    Barack was never an ACORN trainer and never worked for ACORN in any other capacity

    “Obama represented ACORN in a voter registration case, but he was not a staff attorney. Obama worked for the civil rights firm Miner, Barnhill and Galland. He represented ACORN along with other plaintiffs in a case against the governor of Illinois, demanding that the state better enforce a new federal law known as “motor voter,” which allowed people to register to vote when they got their driver’s license. ” That’s a lie?

    I Barely Know Rezko

    And?

    My Church Is Like Any Other Christian Church

    And?

  • CentristNYer

    Good work, balc. You’re far more patient with this guy than I could ever be. The fact that he had to reach back to 2008 to pull out supposed quotes about campaign and strategy tells you everything. He’s got nuttin’, but, because he lives in an echo chamber of Rush/Beck/Levin, he’s too high on his Obama hatred to see that.

  • JHJ

    I like how Marcia Smilack and David Frum, coming from separate camps are thoughtful, invigorating and not pedantic. This is democracy at it’s best.

  • Kevin B

    Has this stunt helped Maddow’s ratings?

  • balconesfault

    Has this stunt helped Maddow’s ratings?

    Actually, Maddow herself declared that discussing Brown probably hurts her ratings more than helps, since it’s not why people tune in.

    She apparently just doesn’t like being used as a fundraising tool on false pretenses.

  • Carney

    CentristNYer, what past Republican president supported allowing open homosexuals to serve in the military? When was it a mainstream position in the Republican Party or conservative movement to embrace the gay-rights agenda?

    The answer is: never.

    I challenged you to name ONE issue in which you take a more right than left tack, on anything. And you come up with gays in the military?

    Do you even realize how extreme-left you sound? How out of touch?

    I realize when issue I take are more left (energy policy) or right (race relations) than the conservative mainstream. But on balance it can be said that I am a conservative.

    You are not conservative on ANY ISSUE. You relentlessly take the left wing stance, on any matter in serious contention between left and right.

    Therefore, your claim to centrism is false, as so many are, adopted for the sake of convenience and easier infiltration and undermining of conservative groups.

  • msmilack

    To everyone (and Carney in particular),
    I like the idea of people of differing opinions writing in. I don’t think a person has to be a conservative to have a valid opinion about any subject, even about conservatives: I like the dialogue and exchange of ideas and find the value of this forum in the dialectic. For what it’s worth . . .

  • forkboy1965

    I’m confused Ms. Smilak… you state “…it was easy to live with his vote against healthcare since we in Massachusetts already have it, thanks to Romney’s program for which Brown voted.” Why would you live easily with this obvious double-standard?

    If universal healthcare was good enough for Romney and Brown in MA, why is it not good enough for us all? It smacks of hypocrisy.

  • msmilack

    forkboy1965
    The answer has to do with how I wrote it rather than how I really feel. At the time, I was more interested in squeezing in the fact that Romney created the program he later voted against just as Brown did the same, both acts seeming highly hypocritical to me. My short-term goal was to squeeze in that fact about both of them and I did so in what I thought would sound sarcastic. From your question, I see that it didn’t work; I can see why you would draw that conclusion from my sarcastic remark which, on paper versus in person, apparently does not sound sarcastic. I assure you, I never meant to convey that I feel it is okay if I have healthcare and no one else does. I’ve learned an important writing lesson from your question, so I thank you for asking it.