Friday, January 29, 2010


That's the new "Did you know John McCain was a POW?" Remember it. Pass it on. You're welcome.

Brown actually restrains himself in this new Boston Globe interview -- he mentions that he's from Wrentham and drives a truck only twice. Apart from that, the interview is heavy on gee-whiz and aw-shucks -- it's basically ten pages of Gee and Whiz and Aw and Shucks:

I try to just be myself. Like today I got up, I rode the bike for an hour, watched TV, read the newspapers, you know, and then spent a little time with the dogs, got them all settled up, gave Gail a kiss and went to the gym, did a swim, and then I came in here, I've been meeting with you guys, I'm going to caucus -- the only different thing is, I'm doing Leno....

I get up and do my things I've always done for the last 30 years. I go to the same -- I go to the restaurant, I get the same breakfast, the only thing different is now it's the Scott Brown Special. It's still the same thing I've always ordered. OK, they can change the name and fluff it up but -- I still go to the Y, I still wear my junky clothes, and I still, probably my gym locker still smells. And so I just try to be myself....

I'm just a person -- we're just people.

Ick. Enough. Tonstant Voter fwowed up.

But don't feel smug. Brown really does gee-whiz-aw-shucks brilliantly, especially group-hug stuff that reads suspiciously like Obama's post-partisanship talk from the campaign. He's hiring former Ted Kennedy staffers. He says everyone's been really nice to him, even Democrats ("I wish I could say they're jerks but everyone's been great"). He praises bits (the more conservative bits) of the State of the Union address. He claims that sometimes he's going to vote with Democrats and that the GOP leadership understands that.

I had my doubts as to whether he's ready to be the great Deliverer so many Republicans think he is, but I think all he has to do is "evolve" in his abortion stance until he passes the religious right litmus test and he's ready. Everything else is in place. He's what Karl Rove wanted George W. Bush to seem like in 2000 -- a right-winger you think is a centrist because he says "education" a lot and can be sold as a pickup-drivin' Lifetime movie hero about a dreamboat who'd be a great stepdad to a divorced wife's troubled teen.

Which is why the Democrats need to start crafting legislation specifically to make Brown -- and I mean Brown specifically -- choose which side he's on, the wingnuts' or America's.

I'm seeing this as an offshoot of Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman Robert Menendez's plan, reported a couple of days by Politico and cited last night on Rachel Maddow's show, to force Republican Senate candidates to declare themselves as either with or against the tea party movement on such issues as birtherism and 10th Amendment extremism. With Brown I'd go that way and the other way -- would you vote for a non-binding resolution declaring Barack Obama a U.S. citizen? And are you really going to join in filibustering a bank tax?

I'm sure it's not going to be that simple -- but Democrats really need to try to tarnish this guy.

Though I think -- even putting ideology aside -- he wouldn't do very well as president. Here's a somewhat edited version of a very revealing answer he gave when asked whether he really believed he could win:

"I don't want to seem arrogant. And Felix [Browne, a Brown campaign adviser] will back this up, but I told them when I met the Shawmut Group, I said, 'I'm gonna win this race.... I said, I said, I'm right on all the issues. This is what I've believed since I was 18 years old, and old enough to vote -- I don't even have to think about my answers. During the campaign, it was a relatively easy campaign in terms of issues. It was a lot of work obviously, I don't want to say it wasn't and I don't want to seem like it was a gimme, but I just had this sense. Felix, right? And now after I won I looked at Peter Flaherty -- and who I have a lot of respect for -- I said, 'I tooolllldddd yoooouuu!' [And Flaherty said,] 'I know, I know, I know, I know.'"

This is a guy who, despite all his shows of self-effacement, seems to have an inordinate amount of self-regard. He's a handsome guy who seems very, very comfortable with being liked. I bet he doesn't have a lot of experience with facing criticism. I bet he's not accustomed to being seriously challenged.

I don't think he's ready at all to face a buzz saw. I'd like him to face one now, rather than after he's president. Either way, I don't think he'll be able to handle it.

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