Responding to Guardiano on Brown

January 20th, 2010 at 10:59 pm David Frum | 2 Comments |

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In case you missed it, see John Guardiano’s piece on Scott Brown in the American Spectator blog, here.

One point in reply, since the piece mentions my thoughts on Brown.

First Guardiano:

Political context, of course, matters, as most savvy conservatives well recognize. They recognize that, in order to remain politically viable, a politician sometimes must trim his sails and make accommodations with political reality.

They recognize that a Republican running in deep red Texas has a certain freedom of expression and political commitment that a Republican running in deep blue Massachusetts does not. Thus, savvy conservatives are not inclined to lambaste a Republican in Massachusetts for being a “RINO” simply because he smartly bows to the political imperatives of his state or district.

1. Obviously some truth here. Also true that Brown was much more adept than, say, Arlen Specter at sending multiple messages to multiple audiences. He signaled conservatives that he was with them … and persuaded a Massachusetts electorate that he followed in the footsteps of Elliott Richardson. Not easy!

2. Of course it’ s not only Northeastern Republicans who must adjust their stated views to placate their constituents. What about this poor guy?

HUNTSVILLE, AL -  “I believe the Bible is true,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne said here Wednesday. “Every word of it.”

Byrne’s testimony came as he tried to clarify an earlier statement seized on by his opponents for the GOP nomination.

Byrne had been quoted in the Mobile Press-Register in November as saying, “I believe there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not.”

That quote has followed him, including to his appearance at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store in New Hope, where Byrne came to announce his first big endorsement this year, from the Alabama Retail Association.

When notice of the press conference was posted on al.com Wednesday morning, several posters said things similar to this:

“Just got a call from a person at my Church letting me know about this,” said uafan1198. “My family will not be shopping at Ragland Piggly Wiggly stores anymore or anything else they own…. I don’t shop at places that think it is OK to stand next to people who don’t believe the Bible is all true.”

Byrne said at Piggly Wiggly that he had been misquoted.

3. Aren’t there affirmative reasons – beyond mere constituent-pleasing – for taking some of the positions associated with what Brown called “Massachusetts Republicanism”? Environmental protection – prolife policies that seek to persuade rather than criminalize – the search for some kind of compromise on gay rights: I have to believe that John thinks these ideas would have merit in Texas too.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Cforchange

    David, how do you reconcile your angst for Dede?

  • franco 2

    Concluding paragraph from Wendy kaminer of the Atlantic:

    “But if Martha Coakley lost the Senate race by being herself–very cautious, unimaginative, and essentially untested, Scott Brown won by pretending to be who he isn’t–an affable, moderate independent. In fact, he’s a reliable, conservative Republican on national security, economic, and social issues. He opposes the Obama administration’s agenda consistently and contemptuously, (excepting his support for the war in Afghanistan). He favors torture (in the form of water-boarding) and opposes due process for terror suspects; he opposes taxing banks to recoup bail-out money. He’s derisive of gay couples who have children and staunchly opposed to gay marriage as well as a broad range of reproductive rights; (he was enthusiastically supported by Massachusetts pro-lifers confident that he’d be a “pro-life vote in the Senate”). The race to retain his seat in 2012 should be interesting, especially if Democratic women don’t make the same mistake twice.”

    I’ve been saying that no matter what, Democrats will attack moderate Republicans (in this case the woman is claiming Brown is misrepresenting himself). It doesn’t really matter how far Republicans try to distance themselves from Limbaugh, Palin. etc.

    Didja hear McCain is using Palin to help him in AZ? Palin owes him a favor I guess, but it won’t help her, it will hurt her. It probably won’t help McCain either.