GOP Finds Star in Scott Brown

January 20th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge

Massachusetts Senator Scott BrownWhenever I write something political, I feel compelled to explain that I’m a registered independent, and have no love for either political party. I watched Massachusetts’ new senator Scott Brown give his victory speech last night, and couldn’t help but think of Barack Obama’s famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Barack Obama
As a quick reminder, Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, but it was his impressive speech at the Democratic National Convention that year that catapulted him into the national spotlight. The party knew they finally had found a young, charismatic star, and immediately started to position him for a run at the presidency in 2008. As they say, the rest is history.

Scott Brown
Brown’s rise to prominence has been almost as impressive. Elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1998, Brown served in this capacity until winning a special election in 2004 to fill a vacated seat in the Massachusetts Senate. Last night Brown won in another special election filling Ted Kennedy’s old seat in the U.S. Senate. If you don’t follow national politics it’s difficult to understand what a big win this was for the republicans. Massachusetts hasn’t elected a republican senator since the ’70s. Democrats outnumber republicans in the state by a margin of about 3-1. Few saw this coming until polls the last few weeks showed Brown making a run at democrat Martha Coakley. Last night, Brown was energetic, charismatic, funny and likable. When was the last time you could say that about a republican candidate?

Democrats Beware
I’ve been surprised for months about the democrats’ reaction to the anger in this country. When Nancy Pelosi called the conservative groundswell “astroturf” instead of grassroots, she angered many. When democrats belittled the tea parties as rightwing propaganda, they angered a lot of independents. When democrats criticized everybody who criticized health care reform, they angered a lot of voters. They really don’t seem to get it. Real people are angry in this country. And not just the rightwing extremists as the democrats would like to believe.

Republicans Beware
If the republicans think of Brown’s win primarily in terms of the national debate over the economy and health care, they will struggle in the 2010 and 2012 elections. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s the candidate that makes the difference. The GOP will certainly gain seats in both the House and the Senate in 2010, but how many will depend on the quality of the candidates, not just the anger of the voters.

Why the Pundits Will Get This Wrong
The national pundits and political activists will be talking for days about Brown’s win against the democrats. The left will be forced to downplay the significance of Brown’s win. It will be interesting to see how they try to spin the loss. They likely will throw Coakley under the bus and talk about what a poor campaign she ran. The right will say that this is a referendum against Obama’s failed economic policies, and against the healthcare legislation currently in Congress. And they’re all partially correct. But many seem to have missed one simple fact. Brown was by far the more likable candidate in Massachusetts. He ran on a fairly populist platform. And independents liked him better.

8 Responses to “GOP Finds Star in Scott Brown”

  1. Steve Guiot Says:

    I believe the term astroturf is a differentiation from grass roots. Some groups are grass roots meaning they are private citizens organizing and coming together to promote an idea or cause. Some groups advertise themselves as grass roots but are exposed as being backed by powerful and well funded political operations such as Dick Armey’s who attempt to control the groups agenda and message. These groups have been dubbed astroturf by the left and rightly so in my opinion. Fake grass.

  2. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Hey Steve. Thanks for the note.

    You’re right. Many (and probably most of the influential) political movements are backed by big money somewhere. But it happens on both sides. Do you think that people like George Soros don’t give money to “grassroots” efforts on the left and then expect to have some say in the agenda and message? And if he does, are these movements now “astroturf” too?

    The groupthink from the left seems to be that there can be no such thing as a grassroots effort from the right. Which again shows how out of touch they are with the sentiment of many Americans.

  3. Steve Guiot Says:

    Yes, they would be astroturf too. Right or Left. And if I may speak for the left, there IS such a thing as grass roots from the right, and they are the tea-baggers. And if we on the left appear to be out of touch with the tea-baggers , it is by a concerted effort to do so. People who hold up signs of Obama as Hitler and who claim to be for less taxes, yet boo at the fact that they received a tax cut from Obama, deserve to be ignored. I hope independents are not angered that these people get “belittled” as you put it, because they certainly deserve to be.

  4. Bobby Says:

    wow. really? you’re labeling ALL tea baggers like that because a few ignorant people showed up at the rallies holding hitler signs? that would be like labeling all environmentalists as crazed bombers because a few of them have tried to blow up oil fields. by far the majority of these “tea-baggers” are normal, everyday working folk. i think you just proved Lee’s point that the left is completely out of touch.

  5. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Hey Steve and Bobby. As always, thanks for your comments. And the left being completely out of touch wasn’t really my point. 🙂 You guys have headed down a bit of a different path, but I’ll jump in with a couple comments:

    MEDIA — Steve, as you know, I have as much disdain for the media as I do politicians and the political parties. I watched coverage of the “tea baggers” from both the rights and the lefts perspective. And as usual, both were misleading. As an example, I watched FOX and it looked like hundreds of thousands of normal people were peacefully protesting. And I watched CNN, where their coverage would lead you to believe maybe a hundred people showed up, half of them with racist signs equating Obama to Hitler. As usual, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. It is certainly my opinion that normal people across the country are unhappy with the leadership and direction this year of Obama / Reid / Pelosi. And if they (leaders of the democratic party) continue to treat their opposition as just a bunch of uneducated rightwing extremists who don’t know what’s going on, it will kill the democrats in the next two major elections.

    TAXES — Yes, Obama through the stimulus package, reduced some taxes. We can debate the stimulus (spending) plan later if you want. But the bigger reality is that we’re witnessing a massive expansion of the federal government that cannot be paid for by only “taxing the rich”. We the people will be paying more both directly and indirectly. Our tax burden is GOING to go up. I have no doubt about that. Somebody has to foot the bill eventually. Maybe not specifically in the income tax rate, but through other taxes (sales, property, sin, payroll taxes) our tax burden will increase. We will also be on the hook for increased costs of products and services as companies are taxed at a higher rate. Ultimately, companies do not pay taxes. Their customers pay the taxes. And this burden of the rapidly expanding federal government will continue to stifle our economy.

  6. Darren Keller Says:

    People received a tax cut from Obama? Who? How much? Why don’t I know anyone who benefited from said tax cut? What has this tax cut done to improve the economy? I call BS. Whatever it is, if anything, it isn’t enough and it hasn’t helped enough people.

  7. Darren Keller Says:

    “When Nancy Pelosi called the conservative groundswell “astroturf” instead of grassroots, she angered many. ”

    That comment is one of hundreds made by Nancy Pelocchio that angered many. But she’s such a cute little California crabcake…I just want to bite her.

  8. Bobby Says:

    That’s funny. She might like it.

    Has been funny to watch the infighting among the liberals, especially the liberal media. Lots of blame being thrown around. And now Obama has this new defiant attitiude. Will be interesting to see his tone at state of union.