Scott Brown joined every other Republican senator Monday to block financial reform legislation from even coming up from a vote.
And, like every other Senate Republican who sold out their constituents while protecting big-bank greed, Brown did so while hiding behind discredited talking points cooked up by a longtime GOP hack.
It was another attack of a mental condition that has often seemed to plague the freshman senator since he came to Congress, in which Brown mistakenly thinks that he’s the junior senator from South Carolina, or perhaps this time, he thought he represented the good folks back in Mississippi.
Brown apparently forgot that he’s no Red State good ol’ boy. Rather, he’s the first Republican to represent that bluest of blue states, Massachusetts. Moreover, Brown owes his Senate seat to a January special election, and has to face the Bay State voters again in just two years.
The problem is that Brown just threw those voters under a financial bus by blocking a vote on new common-sense financial regulation.
Of course, the senator can’t actually admit to knuckling under to Wall Street fatcats who want to block this legislation at all costs. So instead he blames “loopholes” in the legislation that could leave the taxpayers on the hook for future bank bailouts.
One could forgive Sen. Brown, since so many Republicans have been repeating the same talking point which Frank Luntz, a tired GOP strategist cooked up recently.
Except that it’s not true. Like Yeti, Bigfoot and healthcare “death panels,” the claim that the financial reform bill contains bailout “loopholes” have been thoroughly debunked. The well-known non-partisan factcheck website PolitiFact calls the accusation plainly false, and goes on to accuse Republicans who wield it of “using seriously overheated rhetoric.”
Conservative-leaning voters in a Red State might otherwise be willing to swallow such bunk, but not those who go to the polls to pull a lever for their new senator in 2012.
Despite all the hype surrounding Brown’s upset victory, it has become plain that his election has not created any substantial realignment in Massachusetts politics.
Even in the days immediately following his Jan. 19 special election, a poll indicated that most Bay State voters want Brown to work with Democrats to advance their agenda, not block it. That includes 60 percent of Brown voters who feel strongly that Brown should work with Democrats.
Those aren’t exactly the sentiments of the tea party types.
Another poll that may prove nettlesome for Sen. Brown: most Americans actually support tougher regulations on banks, including specific provisions of the bill he just tried to sink.
In blocking financial reform, Brown got caught between his fatcat Republican friends, and the hardworking folks back in Massachusetts who sent him to Washington in the first place. He decided to kick those good folks in the teeth.
He’s also now caught in something else: a lie. Democrats, labor, and every other progressive political group back in the Bay State now could, and should, force Brown to spend potentially millions to defend the indefensible. Make Brown defend the lie he just told everyone in Massachusetts, every day from now until November 2012 if necessary.
If PolitiFact could unwrap the Republican falsehood, so will the voters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They may have been ready to embrace this young new senator. I doubt they will be pleased that he lied to them so soon.
The publisher of On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered government and Washington for more than a decade. Capitol Idea is his regular column from Washington.