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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Brown and blue

Inconsistency, thy name is Scotto.

That's the picture that emerges from the Boston Globe's lengthy look at the first two years of junior senator Scott Brown's tenure on Capitol Hill. Elected as what he claimed was a fresh voice, the profile suggests the Washington hell hole has worn him out.

Regular readers will no doubt be unsurprised that I don't think the Globe's picture is complete. And once again it's a failure to really look at the former basketball player's insider moves before signing on to the Dodd-Frank law that Brown touts has a hallmark of his bipartisanship.

The Globe glides over the deal Brown brokered for his vote, one that watered down the Volcker Rule, saying it would hurt companies like Mass Mutual and Liberty Mutual. A vote that has made Brown the apple of the financial services industry campaign finance eye, particularly against that industry's most-hated and feared candidate, Elizabeth Warren.

Overall, the image of Brown is that of an erratic freshman, looking to curry favor for the make or break campaign that he faces today. Brown is for things before he is against them, sliding from one side or another with political expedience being the top priority. A one-time aide to Edward Kennedy and Harry Reid offers the perspective on whose favors Brown is currying:
... [I]t makes sense in the context of internal Senate politics, where Republicans seeking to blaze a centrist path must carefully choose when they part ways with McConnell and other GOP leaders and when they toe the line.
β€œTo his credit, I have to say he has done a pretty good job of threading the needle,’’ said James P. Manley, a former top aide to Reid and to Kennedy.
Omitting the financial services two-step notwithstanding, the Globe's piece is worth your time if you want to try and get a better handle on a candidate who prefers communicating through national TV interviews and paid ads rather than meeting with constituents and the media.

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