Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Scott Brown is at once appealing, appalling and even a cause for optimism
(This unassuming aspect to our truck senator is particularly appealing, given the public relations pickle that our senior senator has gotten himself into because of where Kerry has been docking his new $7 million luxury yacht. But the contrast between the two senators is about far more than their choice of transportation.)
Our truck senator was shockingly dismissive when asked whether he felt aggressive deficit-cutting at this time in our fragile recovery might be premature in light of the nation’s experience in 1936, when, out of concern for the deficit, President Roosevelt pulled back from the stimulus initiatives of the early 1930’s and prolonged the Great Depression. Brown said bluntly, “I don’t buy that.”
Brown also asserted that “the stimulus bill hasn’t created one single job!” Take the census workers out of the equation, and the stimulus bill has both created jobs on roads, bridges and other badly needed infrastructure projects and has staved off the loss of jobs for teachers, police and firefighters.
Brown dismissed the stimulus bill as a wasteful indulgence in photo ops announcing bridges and road projects that don’t create jobs. His approach to job creation is no tax increases, don’t increase the deficit, get the “money owed to us” (not sure what he means buy that), reducing the payroll tax, and then “targeted stimulus” for transportation and infrastructure improvements. So how is that different from what we have been doing on infrastructure?
To hear him talk, his negotiation may in fact have been the determining factor in getting a financial services regulation bill passed. But he’s less convincing when he attributes President Obama’s heightened interest in job creation to a conversation Brown had with him in the Oval Office. In his newcomer enthusiasm, he needs to avoid the pitfall of overweening pride.
But here’s a possible cause for optimism regarding Scott Brown. He quite rightly says he doesn’t work for Harry Reid and he doesn’t work for Mitch McConnell either. He says he can play a significant role in helping to build a bi-partisan caucus involving moderate Republicans, like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, as well as Democrats like Warner, Casey and Udall. And, if he can deal with folks on both sides of the aisle, find common ground and decide things on an issue-by-issue basis, if he can do his homework and not descend into slogans that reinforce his Tea Party-type notions, he can make a significant difference in how Washington does its business.
- Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below
Posted by Margie Arons-Barron