In a season in which plenty of politicians are trying to deliberately terrify voters, Republican Scott Brown stands out – offering a unique combination of demagoguery, cynicism, cowardice, and confusion.
The former senator, hoping to re-join the Senate after his other home state rejected him two years ago, started hitting the panic button in early September, seizing on Americans’ fears about Islamic State terrorists to baselessly argue that ISIS may attack through the Mexican border. Brown later added that terrorists with Ebola may also try to infiltrate the Southern U.S. border.
The more anxiety the public feels, the more Scott Brown descends into rambling, fear-based incoherence. If crises reveal a person’s true character, recent tumult reveals the New England Republican has the spine of a marshmallow.
Today, however, Dave Weigel reports that Brown’s desperate hopes of scaring voters have taken an unintentionally hilarious turn.
In an interview with NH1, Brown rejected the idea that he was running on “fear” – Ebola, he said, was the “No. 1, 2, and 3” issue on the minds of voters he talked to.“Carrying diseases doesn’t need to be Ebola,” said Brown. “but the whooping cough and polio and other types of potential diseases are coming through.”
Yes, the often-confused Republican believes polio – a disease that no longer exists in the Western hemisphere – may be sneaking into the United States. So New Hampshire should make him a senator again … so he can tackle an issue he’s never shown any interest in … which he has no working understanding of … and he can oppose a bipartisan immigration reform bill that strengthens border security.
This really is campaign politics at its most mindless and offensive. Brown thinks New Hampshire voters might be afraid of terrorism, so he plays on those fears, encourages panic, and tries to blame his rivals for the threat in ways that defy reason. Brown then thinks the electorate might be afraid of Ebola, so he begins the process anew, encouraging fear instead of deterring it.
The foremost question on Scott Brown’s mind is simple: how can he exploit public anxiety to advance his personal ambitions?
In the face of adversity, we learn who’s made of sterner stuff. We also learn who succumbs to their worst instincts.