The Brown Betrayal That Wasn’t

February 26th, 2010 at 3:06 pm | 25 Comments |

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Why would anybody be surprised that Senator Scott Brown voted for the jobs bill? Scott Brown was never the conservative, tea party darling that some made him out to be.

More importantly, as the American Spectator’s Andre Cline points out, “critics of Brown’s vote haven’t been listening to what he’s been saying.”

FrumForum showed early on that Scott Brown would be this type of Republican. In an interview with the future Senator way back in November 2009, long before he was seen to be a viable candidate to beat Democrat Martha Coakley, Brown showed his independent stripes.

In a FrumForum interview titled “Scott Brown: He’s No Tea Partier”, Brown portended his jobs bill vote by saying:

I’ve always been an independent voter, and when I have to cross party lines, I do. I don’t usually care what my party says… I’m a Massachusetts Republican… I look at the issues and make a determination based on the facts…I’m the closest thing [Bay Staters] will get to a Reagan Democrat.

FrumForum contributor Byron Tau followed that up with another Scott Brown interview in December, where Brown told him that the GOP would be “short-sighted to have purity tests”.

After the election, in an article titled “Scott Brown’s Win a Lesson for Tea Partiers”, we predicted that it was only a matter of time before Brown’s positions drew the ire of certain conservative activists:

How long will it be before Tea Partiers turn against Sen. Scott Brown? This is a politician who, if not compelled by his own views, will be compelled by the nature of his state to express moderation if he wishes to be re-elected in just two and a half years.

Remember, you heard it here first at FrumForum.

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25 Comments so far ↓

  • PracticalGirl

    AS’ Andre Cline almost nailed it:

    “…critics of Brown’s vote haven’t been listening to what he’s been saying.”

    But he should have gone further. The Tea Partiers from around the country that flooded Brown’s campaign chest at a rate of a million bucks a day during the push only listened to their own confused notion about what representative governement means. Brown was happy to take the money, of course, but he knows that his constituents are those who live in MA. That’s exactly who he (appropriately) represented with this vote.

    Perhaps the Tea Partiers will learn how much they have to learn about politics with this one, but I doubt it.

  • DFL

    Scott Brown did not promise to be the Jesse Helms of the North. He would never have been elected last month had he even hinted that he was a doctrinaire conservative. For conservatives, hopefully he will vote similarly to Susan Collins who votes the way most conservatives wish about half the time. Scott Brown will be with conservatives half the time; Martha Coakley would always vote against our interests. That in mind, be happy that Brown is no Lincoln Chafee but an independent Brown New England Republican that has a fighting chance to be reelected in 2012.

  • Tim Mak

    @DFL and @PracticalGirl – Exactly! He always said he was a pragmatic conservative – those who said he was a tea party superstar were hearing what THEY wanted to hear.

  • balconesfault

    Will Brown being willing to break ranks and vote for cloture empower other Republicans to follow? If so, he could actually pave the way to real compromise on measures, rather than the “scrap everything you want, and use everything on our list, or we’ll filibuster” approach that’s been the face of the Republican Party. When Republicans still tried to filibuster the stimulus bill that the Democratic leadership bumped up to about 1/3 tax breaks … at the same time the Democratic rank and file was calling for a bigger bill with less tax breaks to be pushed through … it signalled that working with Republicans would be fruitless.

    If there is a real perception that Republicans won’t filibuster a bill that includes some of their target provisions … more bills might actually take Republican target provisions seriously.

    Brown is in an interesting position. If he follows the dictates of his party leadership, he will almost certainly go down to defeat in 2012. If he breaks with party leadership, he will allow Congress to look like it’s actually doing their job, and will allow Obama to be perceived as a successful President … and will almost inevitably via those two factors lead to his being re-elected as a member of the minority party.

    So what’s best for Scott? Not being a member of a majority Republican Senate caucus … or being a member of a minority Republican Senate caucus.

    I think this vote signalled his answer.

  • sinz54

    balconesfault: If he follows the dictates of his party leadership, he will almost certainly go down to defeat in 2012. If he breaks with party leadership, he will allow Congress to look like it’s actually doing their job, and will allow Obama to be perceived as a successful President
    Uh, no.

    The reason Mitt Romney aided the Brown campaign, is because he sees Brown as the “Republican Obama”–a new fresh face whom he can use as his running mate in 2012.

    Scott Brown has about a 40% chance of being the running mate of whoever the GOP nominee for President is in 2012.

  • teabag

    RINO

  • balconesfault

    The reason Mitt Romney aided the Brown campaign, is because he sees Brown as the “Republican Obama”–a new fresh face whom he can use as his running mate in 2012.

    Seriously? A Massachussets-Massachussets ticket at the head of the Republican Party?

    Do you really want the Southern social conservatives to form their own party?

    Scott Brown has about a 40% chance of being the running mate of whoever the GOP nominee for President is in 2012.

    Well, considering where the bar is for Republican VP candidate, perhaps. But I’d be willing to take that bet – a VP run where he’d have to surrender his Senate seat after only 2 years would have a very high probability of being a political dead end for Brown.

  • mike farmer

    I’ve heard this several times now, but I haven’t seen any prominent conservatives who were surprised or enraged.

    Can you show me the evidece of conservative/tea party outrage? This seems to be a strawman.

    Most of the conservative commentary I heard during the Brown election confirmed that he’s a moderate. I know everyone loves delicious irony, but when it’s phony it loses its flavor.

  • DavidWelker

    I personally think we could use more politicians like Scott Brown. I think the timing of his election was unfortunate to some degree, as we would already have health care reform but for his election. Still, we could use more Republicans like him. He clearly thinks for himself to an unusual degree for a Republican, the majority of whom tend to follow the party line slavishly.

  • BoolaBoola

    The thing about Brown is, he didn’t stake out ANY positions. He ran as a total unknown. The nearest he came was saying he hated the debt, and wanted tax-cuts, and didn’t have any ideas about cutting spending. A nonsense-position.

    Massachussetts elected a total cipher. A blank spot.

  • DavidWelker

    BoolaBoola,

    Really? Have you reviewed his voting record and the record of his debates in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate where he has served for 12 years? I don’t think he is exactly an unknown.

  • BoolaBoola

    That’s the point! You’d have to review his record to learn what he has voted for, and even then there’s no guarantee he still supports his past positions. Whenever anyone ASKED him what his positions were for, he replied with evasions and gobbledegook.

    He even tried to avoid daking a position on abortion!

  • franco 2

    I agree with Mike Farmer. STRAWMAN

    Where Mr. Mak or as Barry O would say, Timmy, is the citation of EVIDENCE. What prominent “tea partier” or Tea party sympathizer has claimed they expected Brown to be a staunch conservative on all issues? I mean, if the tea party folks were such RABID social conservative, they HAD to know Brown was pro-choice for one thing, right? Yet they sent him money.

    Whatever these writer’s education on abstract political matters, they fall short on logic and practical abilities to asses the political landscape.

    Or else they are deliberately misleading. I’m not sure which.

    The thing about Tea parties that FF writers fail to acknowledge is that it is too amorphous a movement to characterize by taking small samples and using those samples to define the group. There is no central leader who can denounce fringe elements and like the lazy mainstream media, they are annoyed they can’t go to a central clearinghouse at the “Tea Party” to sum up what they all stand for, so they use it to project and smear.

    Take Tim Mak to a football game and he can interview fans and would be able to garner all kinds of weird quotes and then ascribe those sentiments to all the fans of that team.

    Take Timmy to a Rock concert and if he sees some group smoke crack the rockbands fans are “crackheads”.

    For all the bashing of radio hosts that happens here, there is no admission on Timmy’s part that the major conservative hosts have not attacked, and have actually defended Scott Brown from the few rabid tea partiers who wanted Brown to be a conservative firebrand. But Timmy, David or any of these bloggers don’t listen to talk radio, they literally are ignorant of the subjects they discuss. They make things up out of whole cloth.

    They have a narrative and they work from that instead of reality. Tea Party people are stooopid. They are fringe and extreme and not reasonable. Therefore they must not be aware that Scott brown isn’t exactly Barry Goldwater. They are misguided, you’ll see. Watch him vote with the Democrats on various issues – he’s no tea partier!

    Instead of admitting they are/were wrong about tea parties, they are claiming the protesters are dupes and ignorant of practical politics.

    No, it is YOU Tim Mak who is ignorant.

    Or else a liar.

  • franco 2

    Tim Mak // Feb 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    @DFL and @PracticalGirl – Exactly! He always said he was a pragmatic conservative – those who said he was a tea party superstar were hearing what THEY wanted to hear.

    Haha! The joke is on you, Tim. What YOU wanted to hear was that tea party folks would not support a moderate-even in an azure Blue State. Now you rely on few random malcontents (“those who said he was a tea party superstar”.. citation please…Who?.. anyone of note? ) and make shit up to not look like a fool.

    FAIL

  • balconesfault

    What YOU wanted to hear was that tea party folks would not support a moderate-even in an azure Blue State.

    Well, what we have yet to see is how many more times Brown will end up not marching in line with the Republican obstruction movement … and if enough times, whether this triggers a primary challenge funded by the Club for Growth.

  • franco 2

    I was talking to a young man who made unsubstantiated claims. He’s not talking about Club for Growth or primary challenges, he’s making references to unnamed sources . Made up. But instead of reading or responding to comments (not that they are that many to slog through), he’s likely off posting more inane unsupported drivel.

    This site is a disgrace.

  • franco 2

    Look. A lot of tea party folks worked for, contributed to, and voted for Scott Brown. Tim Mak is trying to advance the idea that they were ignorant of Scott Brown’s overall politics, which would allow Mak to continue to mis characterize tea partiers as intransigent fringers.

    This site has generally supported Arlen Specter, warning that the conservative Toomey would cause a Democrat to be elected in PA And arlen Specter is a Republican — er, scratch that he IS a Democrat now…

    Now we hear NOTHING on that race at FF, because the facts are inconvenient to Frummers, rhymes with Mummers.

    It isn’t conservative Republicans who are unable to see nuance and distinctions. It’s Frummers, who can’t manage to distinguish a Massachusetts race(Ted Kennedy’s seat at that) from the Pennsylvania that elected Rick Santorum not so long ago.

  • connor25

    I knew the first minute he voted for that bill, the RINO alerts would go off in the minds of conservatives similar to when Joseph Cao voted for the House Bill. These types of conservatives don’t get what works in Alabama or a Southern State doesn’t work for a Northeastern state.

    mike farmer, I’ve browsed some conservatives websites where they were already bitching about Scott voting for the Jobs Bill when it happened.

  • sinz54

    BoolaBoola: The thing about Brown is, he didn’t stake out ANY positions.
    Yes he did.

    Brown promised to be the 41st vote against ObamaCare.

    Brown also promised to work for a tougher line against terrorism than Obama has pursued.

    And what turned off the social conservatives the most was that he said he was pro-choice, though he wanted to pursue ways to reduce the need for abortion.

    And that was good enough for me. I like that platform. So I voted for him.

  • sinz54

    connor25: I knew the first minute he voted for that bill, the RINO alerts would go off in the minds of conservatives similar to when Joseph Cao voted for the House Bill.
    No, it started earlier than that.

    Throughout Brown’s campaign for the Senate, RedState.com refused to support him or work for his election. Because RedState.com has a policy of only supporting pro-life candidates.

    When Brown voted for the jobs bill, RedState.com took a rather non-committal attitude: It’s a small bill and as everybody recognizes, a Republican from Massachusetts isn’t going to agree on everything with a Republican from Texas or Alabama.

    It’s his pro-choice stance on abortion they can’t accept.

  • GOProud

    You just gotta love the farLeft trolls advising with fake sincerity who Romney should pick for a veep… after months of promoting the false claim that Palin would be #1 on the ticket.

    Why don’t you guys stick to predicting how the tea leaves in the bottom of Obama’s tea cup will cluster –you have about equal credibility on that as judging where the GOP is headed.

  • rbottoms

    you have about equal credibility on that as judging where the GOP is headed.

    Demographically, towards the dustbin of history.

    Gay Republicans? Yes, there are hordes of them.

    And as usual, elected blacks, still zero.

    The most intransigent, crazy (Michelle Bachmann), and tin earned jerks (Trent Franks: Abortion Is Worse for Blacks Than Slavery Was) are the face of the party.

    You can’t call off the teabagger hounds without the snarling pack turning on you, and elected members of your party are lunatic enough on their own to force swing voters to think twice. Flirting with the militia in the 90′s hung Tim McVeigh around your necks, I take it you’re not interested in learning from history. Between stunts like Sen. Bunning halting the unemployment and Cobra benefits of already desperate working class people, and teabagger terrorists (Joe Stack IRS attack: All-American rage?) willing to pull 9/11 style attacks on the citizenry the Far Right will bring the GOP down.

    Of course not satisfied with courting the fringe, mainstream anti-Latino attacks on the subject of immigration will help keep young Hispanics from ever pulling the R-lever.

    Long term direction of the GOP, down and out.

  • mike farmer

    “mike farmer, I’ve browsed some conservatives websites where they were already bitching about Scott voting for the Jobs Bill when it happened.”

    I’m sure you have, but they must not be important sites or you would have named them — the point is that Tim’s portrayal is wildly exaggerated in order to make the tea partiers and conservatives look like ignorant dupes– there was no big surprise or rage against Brown among conservatives or tea party spokespeople. Most conservatives yawned — although I’m sure they don’t want Brown to really surprise them and vote on something big like healthcare reform. I’m sure every prominent conservative who understands politics, and every tea party member who knew Brown, expected votes like this — Brown won’t get re-elected if he doesn’t act bipartisan on some issues.

  • connor25

    Actually mike farmer, I was on those sites and realized I’m not the type of conservatives they are. It’s been on every site I’ve been on. I feel I don’t need to name them.

    I don’t go on RedState sinz not after what I heard about them.

    You are correct on some points rbottoms, the GOP isn’t willing to call out the far right crazies. Demographically, it’s not looking good I agree with you on that. But the shrieking base never really care about expanding the party, they just say “Court us only and screw every other voting group”. Everytime I tried talking about reaching out to other groups, they think it means becoming a Democrat.

  • mike farmer

    Yeah, connor, gotcha, the conservatives and tea parties freaked out all over the country.

    It’s funny that every conservative I heard talk about Brown’s vote said the same thing — they expected it. I’m not sure why it’s so important to always put the tea partiers in a bad light — what motivates this?