Why I like Scott Brown

Scott Brown doesn’t seem to be your typical politician. Well, let’s face it, he’s a Republican running for Senator in Massachusetts, and might actually win. That’s bizarre enough. But he gave an interview with Real Clear Politics and said something that most politicians probably wish they could say or actually do say at times, but I never believe them. Maybe I’m naive, but I actually do believe Mr Brown here.

I don’t want to be beholden to anybody. I don’t owe anybody anything. Martha Coakley is in lock-step with all the special interests, she’s part of the Democratic machine in Massachusetts. And she’ll be the same way in Washington.

One of the things that’s made me an effective legislator in a highly and heavily-controlled Democrat area is to look at each bill on its own merits. I’ve never been anybody whose vote can be taken for granted. People need to earn my vote. If it’s a good piece of legislation that is a Democrat piece and is good for my state, and it makes sense for the people of the United States, then it’s possible I’ll support it. But for anyone to think that I’m going to be in lock-step with anybody, I think they’re mistaken.

This is what we need in Washington. It’s easy to say no when the other party is in power. But as Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln proved, it’s not so easy when your party is in power. It’s not so easy when you’re being pressured to toe the line on something that’s just a bad idea in general and has flaws galore in it, but the President in your party really really wants it. The Democrats aren’t doing it now, and the Republicans didn’t do it from 2001-2006. It’s why we hate both parties. So will Scott Brown be one to buck the trend?

Now obviously, he’s from Massachusetts. Obviously, he’s going to have positions I don’t like. Obviously he’s not going to vote the way I want him to all of the time. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be the type of moderate that we all hate. Voting against the party doesn’t mean you have to do it Snowe or Graham style, where you go for a sense of bipartisanship to make yourself look better to the “moderates”. When you do that, you’re basically saying you’re unprincipled, and are merely calculating how to vote to preserve the correct image. Instead, we need people in Washington who’ll buck their party when the party has a bad idea.

Assuming Brown wins (and it’s looking more and more likely), he has absolutely no incentive to be beholden to any ideology, any party leaders. He’s from Massachusetts, it’s not like he’ll be in the Senate for long. Likely he’ll be tossed out in 2012, and there’s nothing the RNC can do to stop it. So what Brown said is absolutely correct; what does he owe them? He’ll caucus with them, vote no on health care, but what else? And, since he’ll likely be thrown out in 2012, what does he owe the voters? I know that sounds bad, but I’m referring to image here. He doesn’t need to pretend to be anything to be reelected.

The only way to get reelected in 2012 is the same thing that may be catapulting himself to the Senate in the first place: act with complete integrity.

Everything about Brown’s campaign so far has been positive, honest, and forthright. He hasn’t run from views that may be unpopular, nor has he married himself completely to the conservative cause. Hence we get this silly confusion among the left, calling him a Tea Party Republican in one breath and a liberal Republican the next. Instead, he speaks his mind, and says he wants to do what’s best. He’s a Republican, yes, but an independent Republican. For once, people can look past the label, past the partisanship, and choose based on the person himself. And they like him, even the Democrats. And so people flock to him. Huge crowds of people, it looks like.

It’s the only explanation for why he’s in the lead. We trust him. We believe he’ll do what he thinks is right for the country. He doesn’t seem like a politician. It’s a perfect contrast with his opponent, who is as fake and nasty and beholden to political interests as they come (see Dan Riehl for an excellent take on Martha Coakley). And if there’s one thing that people are absolutely fed up with, it’s the politicians. Obama was able to pretend he was different, and so he won handily. Bob McDonnel said he was different, and he won a landslide. We don’t want people that will agree with us all the time; we know that’s impossible. Instead, we want people we can trust.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I trust Scott Brown to do what is best. And because of that, I can forgive the times I disagree with him.


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