I have been wanting to write a couple of posts congratulating Scott Brown for his victory, but I think I'll put them on hold for now until my concerns explained here are allayed.
I must admit, as a committed conservative, I have my problems with supporting most New England Republicans (there are some Republicans, mainly in New Hampshire, who are exceptions to this, but not many). Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Maine's two senators, highlight why I am hesitant to support most New England Republicans. Usually, I end up supporting the Republican in a New England race because a) they less Liberal than their Democratic opponents and b) they are usually the best said state or district can offer.
Scott Brown is another example of my hesitance. I knew before I became a supporter that he was pro-choice and that he had several other conservative heresies. I reconciled myself with these facts because I knew that Massachusetts likely didn't have anyone better to offer. However, what really made me a fan of his was what he campaigned on. He called for fiscal restraint nda strong stance in the War on Terror (particularly his quote, "In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them."). However, my personal favorite moment was he said that he would be the 41st vote to block and defeat the current healthcare legislation.
And when election day rolled around and the time can for his victory speech, I listened to his victory speech with great interest. I wanted to see what this man who I had come to like increasingly more with each passing day before the special election. Listening to his victory speech, I was very impressed that a man like this could win in Massachusetts. I told my friends on Twitter:
Scott Brown sounds like the kind of moderate I can support. His actions in DC will tell if he IS one I can support.
And in subsequent tweets (for example, this one), I noted that he sounded like Rudy Giuliani, who is one of the few moderates I have little problem supporting, and that this was a good tone for him to take.
Well, I'm sad to say that it's only been a couple of days since that speech, and I'm already disappointed in him. Observe his remarks here:
Note especially this quote:
I voted for health care here....we're past campaign mode and it's important for everyone to get some form of healthcare. So to offer a basic plan for everyone I think is important....there are some very good things in the national health care plan that is being proposed
I know it is nothing new for a politician to go back on his word, but I was surprised that Brown has done so this quickly. To be fair, he has yet to back up these words with actions, but I can't help but feel a little betrayed already. When we heard him say he would be the "41st vote", we assumed it would be to kill this horrible Obamacare bill, not to bring it back to the negotiating table to put some lipstick on the pig.
Furthermore, as the Washington Post notes, he has also said:
But in governance mode, behind a lectern labeled "Scott Brown US Senate," the Republican already was wrestling with the tensions inherent in the issues awaiting him in Washington. Exhibit A was the health-reform bill that Brown said to his mind was not really the central issue in his campaign.
"I've obviously tried to do some self-reflection and analyzing this as to why I'm standing before you today," he said. "And really, the number one thing I've heard is that people are tired of the business as usual.
This is both right and wrong. He is right in that, even in Massachusetts, the people are tired of business as usual (in fact, fighting the "business as usual" atmosphere of DC seems to be a great campaign slogan no matter where it's used). However, where he is very, very, wrong is in his view of the importance the healthcare reform bill played in the campaign. It is symbolic of the "business as usual" atmosphere in Washington, and it is the greatest example of this atmosphere out there today. It was the disgust with this bill that drove his campaign to victory because it is the very symbol for today of that "business as usual" atmosphere. Whether he likes it--or is willing to admit it--or not, the disapproval of the Obamacare bill is what has made him Massachusetts' Senator-elect for Ted Kennedy's seat.
Scott Brown, if you are as astute a politician as you appear to be, and you'd have to be one to run a successful statewide campaign in Massachusetts, you should know this by now. If you don't, then shame on you. Mr. Brown, you should understand it is the fact that politicians so often abandon the promises they made on the campaign trail that is prime factor in the public's distrust of Washington in particular and politicians at any level in general. You surely must understand this, and if you don't, I suggest you learn this before 2012 and the regular election for your seat rolls around.
If he is a Lincoln Chafee in a Rudy Giuliani disguise, then I have a sneaking suspicion that he understood that tapping into the public's hatred of the healthcare bill was the only way to really secure him a victory. To be fair, he has yet to back up his words, any of them, whether campaign ones or the ones heard yesterday, with any actions on the Senate floor, but I hope he understands that this is not exactly the best way to endear yourself to the Republican base or to follow through with what you said in your campaign speeches.
My verdict now is to wait and watch him, but we have all the more reason to beware of him. That bitter taste in our mouths has just appeared. For now, Ted Kennedy's spinning just got a little slower.