Tuesday, April 23, 2024

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown at an appearance at the Kowloon restaurant in Saugus in 2010. (Photo: Mark Sardella)

Scott Brown does not deserve your vote. If I sound harsh, forgive me. It’s only because the stakes are too high for us to make a mistake voting for U.S. senator Nov. 6.

Brown is a nice guy. We can all agree on that. As far as his vision goes as a politician, we only really know two things about him: At some level he supports Republican doctrine enough to belong to the party; and he’s running for reelection based on the fact he plays nicely with others.

Ask Brown why any of us should vote for him and he immediately points to his bipartisan voting record.

But really he votes for core Republican positions almost every time, and alongside Democrats on the really tough political fights such as naming post offices or codifying rules of behavior for National Parks.

True, he did vote for Dodd-Frank Financial Reform, but almost immediately tried to weaken its provisions.

If you observe Brown’s behavior in the Senate you’ll notice he’s very calculating about taking his “bipartisan” votes. Most times he will vote only after the outcome is decided, giving himself maximum time to see which way the wind is blowing but also to devise a plausible reason to explain his vote.

He’s certainly never without a reasonable explanation for abandoning the middle class. On voting against cutting the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy, he explains that now is not the time to tax the “job creators.” On voting against fair pay for women, he argues the bill had too many unintended legal consequences. On protecting tax loopholes worth billions to the oil companies, he says eliminating tax loopholes would result only in higher prices at the pump.

All reasonable, plausible explanations! But forgive me, I don’t think they pass the smell test. They seem like thinly veiled political shields meant to hide a voting record that favors the high and mighty at the expense of the poor and unprivileged.

On the widening gap between rich and poor, he’s shown a surprising bent for siding with the wealthy and the powerful. On the destruction of the middle class, he mouths platitudes but does little or nothing to help.

Not every senator can be a Teddy Kennedy or a Daniel Webster. But those are the footsteps in which he walks, and by now he should have proved himself worthy of doing it. What does Brown stand for, besides getting himself reelected? Can you think of one issue meaningful to our lives he has articulated or even slated for political action?

Brown makes a lot of claims in explaining a short Senate career filled with meager accomplishment. He claims that kings and other royalty confer with him regularly. He claims his two-week summer rotation in Afghanistan qualifies as “doing combat duty in Afghanistan.” He claims Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren lied about being part Native,  then spends half a debate regretting he has to bring the issue up.

It’s not enough for Brown to rest on his laurels as a make-believe liaison between Democrats in the center and the crazies on the right. Nor can he expect to coast to a victory by defaming an opponent who has already accomplished more on a national level than he could ever hope to achieve.

Warren has risen to challenge Brown exactly because she does stand for something. She’s a fighter for the middle class and, more important, she’s a defender of our rights against the very same entrenched interests Brown and the Republican Party represent.

Brown may be a nice guy, but as our Senator from Massachusetts he doesn’t deserve your vote; he deserves to be an ex-senator.