Why I like Scott Brown

January 16, 2010

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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40 in 2010: WV-01

January 4, 2010

There’s a lot of talk about the realignment shift, wherein conservative southern Democrats turn Republican while liberal northeast Republicans turn Democrats. Well, the liberal northeast Republicans have turned, but the southern Democrats are still hesitating. So will Nancy Pelosi be the one to finally be the catalyst to get a southern revolution? Who knows. But sometimes you feel there’s a perfect storm brewing, and if it doesn’t happen now, it never will. That’s probably not the case for all districts, but it just might be the case in West Virginia.

West Virginia 01
Location: The northern third of the state. It doesn’t contain Charleston or any other large cities, but does include WV University. It’s fairly rural, a bit blue-collar-ish, almost purely white, and supposedly fairly conservative.
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Release the CRS!

December 30, 2009

There are a lot of worthless government programs out there, but the Congressional Research Service is not one of them. Congress has to deal with plenty of disparate topics, and would still have to even if Congress was limited to things they actually should worry about. Needless to say, Congressmen are not going to be experts on all subjects they’ll be voting on. And while they can always direct their staff to collect information, that could lead massive redundancy if every member of Congress ordered a separate report for something… Besides, then you have to worry that one or two politically motivated members of your staff will bias the report in a particular direction. Better to have one central, nonpartisan source for this sort of thing. Which is exactly what the CRS is. According to their website:
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40 in 2010: CO-07

December 21, 2009

(In order for the Republicans to take back the House in 2010, they need to net 41 seats. It’s a long shot, but it is possible. By my count, there are 92 Dem-held seats that the Republicans have at least an outside chance of winning. That number will change as we get closer to election time, of course. But for now, I’ll be highlighting some of these seats from time to time.)

One of the most important parts of getting a wave election is to attack as many places as possible. Make the other party defend more seats than they want to. Obviously, part of this is simply to spread out the other party’s resources, but on the flip side it spreads out your party too. Given the RNCC’s fundraising so far, that’s not necessarily a good thing. But the other reason to do this is that a long shot still has a chance of winning. With more challenges, you create more momentum. With more momentum, you have a chance to win. I doubt the RNCC is looking much at this seat; nobody seriously thinks they’ll win it. But they seem to have a strong candidate, so why not make the Democrats sweat a bit?

Colorado 07
Location: The suburbs of Denver. It basically surrounds Denver on three sides, and then a long rural section in the northeast. Mostly urban, and supposedly purple.
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Common sense says that Coburn was right to do this

December 16, 2009

The world, or at least the blogosphere, is abuzz today about Sen. Tom Coburn’s demand to have Sen. Sanders 760 page amendment read on the Senate floor. According to the normal rules, this should happen for all bills and amendments, but the requirement is routinely waived with unanimous consent. Needless to say, that means one ornery Senator (or two, as DeMint joined him) can force the read, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. This went on for a few hours before Sanders pulled his amendment (ranting the whole way). Here’s DeMint’s statement (H/T Hot Air)

“Democrats are playing a bait and switch trick — wasting our time debating a bill they’ve rejected while writing a new one in secret. Right now, behind closed doors, Democrats are writing a brand new bill, thousands of pages long, and want to rush it through before Christmas.”

“Americans are tired of watching their leaders in Washington pass bills they haven’t even bothered to read,” said Senator DeMint. “If Senator Reid won’t slow down this debate, we will do it for him. This bill allows the federal government to take over our health care system, and it must be stopped. We will use whatever procedural tools are necessary to defeat this bill.”

Now, despite the fact that this is being referred to as a stalling tactic by just about everyone (and, well, it is), in truth this is simply common sense to us, the measly little common people. So however much that certain Leftists rant and rave about how nutty this move is or how partisan it is or how improper this move is, that’s not going to resonate. If I’m going to vote for something, I want to know what I’m voting on. And if someone just comes up with a 700 page amendment out of the blue, I want to know what’s in it. Now, I’m not going to be naive; we know all 40 Republicans would vote against this no matter what (as would many Democrats). But the way Congress should work is that they would vote based on what’s in the bill. And yes, we know from the gist of it that the Reps would not vote for it based on the bill, but in theory one could try to improve the amendment. But again, that requires actually knowing what’s in it. And if you don’t have time to read it beforehand, then by all means, demand it be read on the floor.
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40 in 2010: AR-02

November 29, 2009

(In order for the Republicans to take back the House in 2010, they need to net 41 seats. It’s a long shot, but it is possible. By my count, there are 92 Dem-held seats that the Republicans have at least an outside chance of winning. That number will change as we get closer to election time, of course. But for now, I’ll be highlighting some of these seats from time to time.)

During the 06 and 08 cycles, there was a lot of talk (particularly among the left side of the internet) of the Republicans becoming a regional party. With the last Republican Congressman ousted from New England, it was claimed that before long the only Rs in the nation was going to be in the South. And needless to say, there was a lot of crowing about this. But what was never mentioned was the other side of the coin. With all the partisanship going on, there’s the possibility of Democrats becoming a regional party too. With the hard-left turn the Ds have made in recent time, suddenly there may be a lot of conservative Democrats wondering where their loyalties lie. And there’s a lot of long time Congressional Ds that may be sweating now. Don’t believe me? Just look at the polling. Read the rest of this entry »


One more thing to take from Climategate

November 24, 2009

Iain Murray wrote an excellent piece at Pajamas Media regarding the three things you must know about Climategate (the hacked CRU email and data). Despite being excellent, I think there’s one more to add. While the emails got a lot of attention, a file called HARRY_READ_ME.txt is finally getting some attention. And wow, is it interesting. Even CBS has taken notice: (H/T: Hot Air)

As the leaked messages, and especially the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file, found their way around technical circles, two things happened: first, programmers unaffiliated with East Anglia started taking a close look at the quality of the CRU’s code, and second, they began to feel sympathetic for anyone who had to spend three years (including working weekends) trying to make sense of code that appeared to be undocumented and buggy, while representing the core of CRU’s climate model.

The link has some good excecrpts, but The Devil’s Kitchen has more, plus commentary. Frankly, I encourage you to read the original file. Whoever this Harry person is, he at least knows how to keep an entertaining log. Some fun bits: Read the rest of this entry »