Partisan on the Hill, ‘independent’ on television


Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) took a break from obsessing over Elizabeth Warren’s (D) American Indian heritage to release a new, positive campaign ad this week. You’ll notice it makes no reference to Brown’s party, and it doesn’t mention the senator’s record or position on any issue whatsoever.

The name of the spot is “Independent,” a word that appears twice in the ad, along with Brown touting the benefits of “working together.”

As vague, substantively-meaningless campaign commercials go, there’s nothing especially offensive about the Republican senator’s ad, but the timing of the spot could be better – the release of Brown’s ad coincided with an analysis that belies the senator’s main argument.

Republican Senator Scott Brown touts his bipartisan voting record on the campaign trail, but a study published Monday by a progressive advocacy group makes the case that Brown has failed to reach across the aisle at key moments.

ProgressMass identified 53 bills that had the support of at least 50 senators but lacked the 60 needed to break Republican filibusters and bring the measures to up-or-down votes.

On these bills, the study found, Brown sided with his party 76 percent of the time.

Note that Brown has shifted as he became more nervous about his prospects – the same analysis found that on 32 identified bills before Warren became a candidate, Brown voted with Republicans 30 times. As Warren’s prospects improved, Brown’s fealty to the GOP line waned. Imagine that.

Still, the larger point is hard to miss: Brown’s rhetoric doesn’t line up well with Brown’s reality. On Capitol Hill, he’s a fairly reliable partisan, siding with his fellow Republicans on key votes; in campaign ads, Brown’s an “independent” voice, willing to “work together.”

Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown

Partisan on the Hill, 'independent' on television