Up until yesterday, my favorite quote from former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) came in 2010, a few months into his brief tenure on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers were tackling Wall Street reform and the Republican said he wasn’t entirely comfortable with financial regulatory reform because it would add “an extra layer of regulation” to the industry. He was apparently unaware of the fact that an extra layer of regulation was the point of the legislation.
Asked what kind of changes he’d like to see to the proposal, Brown, reinforcing fears that he just didn’t know what he was doing, went on tell a Capitol Hill reporter, “Well, what areas do you think should be fixed? I mean, you know, tell me.”
That was my favorite Scott Brown. Yesterday, however, the former Massachusetts senator, now running in New Hampshire, delivered an even more striking classic.
“Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. ‘Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state,” he told The Associated Press.
It’s not every day that a Senate candidate questions his own qualifications for the office, on the record, responding to a question he knows is coming.
Nate Silver appeared on a Sunday show the other day and was asked about the Senate race in the Granite State. He said Scott Brown’s odds of success are “a little overhyped,” which seems like a fair assessment.
Oddly enough, this wasn’t the only strange thing Brown said about his candidacy recently.
Last week, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) presented Brown with a bipartisan opportunity: both campaigns, she suggested, should sign a “People’s Pledge,” intended to limit outside spending. By all appearances, Shaheen was hopeful that Brown would agree – after all, when he ran for re-election in Massachusetts, the “People’s Pledge” was not only effective, it was also his idea.
But in New Hampshire, Brown immediately rejected Shaheen’s offer out of hand, calling the offer “hypocritical.” Why? Because as he sees it, Shaheen allies have already run some negative ads against him, which he thinks means the “horse has kind of left the barn.”
Dave Weigel noted the problem with the argument.
This is lame stuff that ignores how the first pledge came about. It happened after Brown allies spent months attacking Warren with TV ads. On Nov. 9, 2011, Crossroads GPS went up with a TV ad ripping Warren for saying she’d provided the “intellectual foundation” for Occupy Wall Street.One month later, Crossroads GPS went back on the air to attack Warren for her TARP oversight. Yes, after attacking her osmotic endorsement of #Occupy, they said she was too close to Wall Street. It’s politics, don’t think too hard about it.It was only at the end of January, two months after Karl Rove’s group had splattered Warren with its contradictory messages, that both candidates signed the pledge. Nobody claimed that the “horse was out of the barn.” That was the point – it was early and the horse could easily be led back into the barn.
Does Brown’s rhetoric make any sense at all? Probably not. ‘Cause, you know, whatever.