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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The 100th senator

Gosh, golly gee whiz. Scott Brown got into his truck and drove to South Boston to have a few beers with a radio talk show host to fulfill his first campaign promise. Hope he didn't drive home buzzed.

Actually it seems his political handlers are the ones who are hung over after the upset that catapulted Brown into the national spotlight as the 100th member in seniority in the United States Senate. Right behind Al Franken.

You remember Al, the Saturday Night Live comic whose recount victory dragged on endlessly. It was in all the papers and on TV. He was the decisive 60th Democratic vote. Disappeared off the face of the political earth.

Which is exactly what will happen to the 41st senator if he continues to eat up his 15 minutes of fame in large chunks before he ever gets sworn into office.

Take for example the now famous Barbara Walters interview. A humbled Brown coyly sidesteps Walters' question about his interest in the 2012 presidential race, humbly noting:
I don't even have a business card. I haven't even been sworn in. And it is very humbling and flattering but my job is to do the best possible job I can, very quickly -- hopefully sooner rather than later -- to represent the people of Massachusetts."
Good answer but not great. Not for a man whose principal focus in 2012 is seeking election for a full six-year term. Ever hear of a Shermanesque statement? You can bet that handlers for Democrats who will be checking out their prospects to reclaim the seat have duly recorded the failure to deflate the trial balloon being tossed up by smitten Republicans.

Yeah, there may well be a few competent political handlers out there making a list of Brown's verbal gaffes since Election Night. And candidates capable of running a better race than Martha Coakley.

A large part of the problem is the lack of substance available between the victory and the swearing-in. This is likely to be the last time Brown has such an unobstructed forum to spell out who he has, what he believes in and what he plans to make his priorities. Even the star-struck Herald might listen.

By squandering the limelight, and by failing to squash political dangerous rumors, Brown becomes open to sentiments like this searing op-ed by the Globe's Scot (hey only one T? Get on the band wagon) Lehigh, who has a lot more readers than me.

But Brown actually has an opportunity to avoid the abyss that has claimed Franken. With the Obama political team reawakening, aiming to challenge Republicans to do more than say no, Brown could indeed be relevant.

Of course he runs the risk of being dead to his 40 Senate GOP colleagues and bursting the presidential balloon.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Patricia of Trakai said...

I was always told that a freshman/newbie senator was SUPPOSED to "lay low" and learn the ropes during his or her first few years. IIRC, that was made abundantly clear to Hillary Clinton when she first became a senator. I'm sure Al Franken was similarly advised to not act like a big-time TV star on the Hill.

February 03, 2010 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mass Liberal,

My name is Barbara O’ Brien and my blogging at The Mahablog, Crooks and Liars, AlterNet, and elsewhere on the progressive political and health blogophere has earned me the notoriety of being a panelist at the Yearly Kos Convention and a featured guest blogger at the Take Back America Conference in Washington, DC.

I just have a quick question about your site and couldn't find an email address so had to resort to this. Please email me back at barbaraobrien@maacenter.org when you can! Thanks.

Barbara

February 03, 2010 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I invite you and your readers to join the Facebook group "Ben Affleck Should Run for Senate in Massachusetts in 2012": http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=265543529914

February 03, 2010 3:31 PM  

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