Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pity Poor Scott Brown

In January 2010, it was miraculous to witness the recently-deceased Massachusetts Liberal Senator Ted Kennedy replaced by Republican Scott Brown, elected by a 53% margin in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-to-1.

Still more, it was gratifying to see a responsive, outraged, and energized electorate spell out very clearly to President Obama, that they wanted no part of his government take-over of health care in this country. For once, the political process was being receptive to the needs and concerns of the people rather than ignoring them in the haze of elitist liberal arrogance.

My happiness about the upset victory for Senator Brown was in no way tempered by the fact that he was most likely going to vote as a Moderate Republican, in spite of the galvanized support generated by Tea Party Activists. Most likely Brown was going to vote more like the Two Ladies from Maine (Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe), and to a lesser extent like Arlen Specter (before he betrayed his party to join the Democrats). The majority of Massachusettians did vote for Brown because they wanted to stop the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but for the most part because they did not want to have to pay for an addition health care mandate on top of the Massachusetts health care plan-Romneycare--a health care system which they have no interest in changing.

His most important legacy, and initial impact upon entering the Senate, was to be that 41st Senator who blocked ObamaCare from receiving a final vote. His 41st vote provided the number necessary for the Republican minority to sustain a filibuster against the President's aggressive health care bill.

We have to keep in mind that Senator Brown played a specific role in preventing that law from coming to a final vote in the Senate, even though the House of Representatives would used reconciliation to pass the measure, notwithstanding.

Before die-hard conservatives consider axing him from the Republican caucus or abandon him to his own efforts in his re-election bid, they must remember that a Moderate Republican is about all they can hope to get from a Northeastern state. The electorate in that region is decidedly more liberal, yet the stance that Moderate Republicans can take is still preferable to a dyed-in-the-wool Democract who will vote 100% with Obama's agenda of aggrandizing the federal government at the expense of the states and the American people.

I hope that the Republican party will avoid the same deleterious outcome that had occurred during the 2010 Republican Senate Primary in Delaware. Moderate Republican Mike Castle was certain to win the general election against any Democractic challenger; yet toward the end of the primary campaign, he was undone by a neophyte with hard-core conservative credentials and Tea Party backing. The Tea Party advanced a pure conservative and a sure loser in state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1, a setback which Mike Castle's extensive credentials as both a legislator and governor would have easily overcome.

Republicans must be pragmatic as well as principled when it comes to Senator Brown. It was not a sure thing that a Republican would ever reclaim the Senate seat in Massachusetts, but it could very easily fall back into Democratic hands, which would be a terrible outcome for everyone, not just the votes of Massachusetts and the Republican caucus in the U. S. Senate. And a Republican who votes some of the time with the Party is better than a Democrat who will most certainly oppose any measures that would broaden individual freedom and responsibility and slow the swelling of the federal government into more facets of American life.

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