Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 2, 2010

BUY THAT SENATOR A NEWSPAPER SUBSCRIPTION.... I've noticed, from time to time, that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) seems to be a little slow on the uptake. As the New York Times' Gail Collins noted this week, after the senator tried to talk about Wall Street reform, and demonstrated no meaningful understanding of what he was saying, she "began to suspect that Massachusetts's junior senator is not a deep thinker."

But yesterday offered a classic example of the problem with Brown. Matt Corley notes that the senator appeared on a right-wing Massachusetts radio show, complaining about President Obama's follow-through.

"[T]here needs to be consistency. That's kind of the problem with, with what I'm saying. The fact that they're not making decisions. And if they make a decision, they don't stick by it. For example, with Iran. You know, 'we're going to have sanctions! If you guys don't do this by this date, you're in trouble!' Ok, the date comes we don't do anything. You know, 'We're going to have more sanctions, if you don't do this, you know, you're going to be in trouble.' And so, you need to, you need to stick to your guns and make sure you follow through and that's not happening."

There might be a reasonable point in here somewhere, if a) Brown knew what he was saying; and b) wasn't proven wrong by reality.

Ironically, just as Brown was complaining about Obama not following through on sanctions on Iran, the president was hosting a bill-signing ceremony in the White House -- where Obama imposed tough new sanctions on Iran. Some of Brown's Republican colleagues were even there for the event.

This is on top of the Obama administration's successful efforts to impose new sanctions on Iran through the United Nations.

So, when Scott Brown uses this as an example of the president and his team "not making decisions," that doesn't make any sense. When he says this is evidence of Obama and administration officials failing to "follow through," that's just as absurd.

I guess what annoys me most about Scott Brown is that I feel as though I know people just like him -- in the neighborhood, in the family, etc. These are the kind of folks who seem interested in public affairs, and feel like they're supposed to have opinions on important developments, but never quite get around to paying attention to the news or learning anything substantive about the subjects they claim to care about.

In my heart of hearts, I don't think Brown is lying. I rather doubt he appeared on that radio show yesterday, hoping to deliberately deceive listeners about the sanctions on Iran the president was just signing into law.

The problem is that Brown doesn't seem to keep up on current events, but likes to pretend he does. That's not a crime; a lot of people do this. But a lot of people aren't U.S. senators.

As a result, this guy ends up saying demonstrably ridiculous things about the stimulus, financial regulatory reform, health care reform, economic policy, and energy policy, among other things.

Looking back, Brown probably didn't expect to win his Senate race, and may not have felt it necessary to learn about these issues. But play time is over. He's a senator now. Now would be a good time to ... I don't know ... start reading a daily newspaper or something.

Steve Benen 4:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

Why should he?

There is no penalty for it.

Posted by: TonyB on July 2, 2010 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

He's kind of like an East Coast Sarah Palin?

Posted by: jim on July 2, 2010 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Brown had a hard-earned reputation as an airhead in MA long before they inexplicably chose to send him to the Senate (Well, I guess it did get him out of town...). His statements since his election are of no surprise at all.

Posted by: dr. bloor on July 2, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Heckova job Brownie.

Posted by: Ted76 on July 2, 2010 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, we disagree in interpretation, I guess.

Steve's comments actually reinforce Brown's; Steve goes on about how Obama has just signed "tough new sanctions" which plays to Brown's complaint that Obama keeps issuing new sanctions without enforcing penalties for ignoring the previous ones. I suspect that Brown wants some military action to result if Iran fails to knuckle under to the previous sanctions, and if that's the case, his complaint that failure results in more sanctions without penalty seems valid.

Brown's comment: "...'we're going to have sanctions! If you guys don't do this by this date, you're in trouble!' Ok, the date comes we don't do anything. You know, 'We're going to have more sanctions, if you don't do this, you know, you're going to be in trouble.' And so, you need to, you need to stick to your guns and make sure you follow through and that's not happening." This is not the problem that Steve is addressing. Looks like a battle of straw men.

Posted by: Liberal@MediaElite.com on July 2, 2010 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Massachusetts Democrats lost to this guy?

The state that boasts some the finest instituions of higher learning in the country if not the world sent this man to the US Senate?

This is the person the Massachusetts electorate chose to replace 'The Lion of the Senate'?

Posted by: thorin-1 on July 2, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

This is the person the Massachusetts electorate chose to replace 'The Lion of the Senate'?

Hey, let's not lose all sense of perspective here. He drives a truck. His kid was on American Idol. He wasn't as boooooring as that woman he was running against.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 2, 2010 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Time and again, the American people have demonstrated that all things being equal, they prefer to vote for candidates as ill informed as themselves. Identity is ever so much more important than, oh, competence.

Posted by: JMG on July 2, 2010 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

"[T]here needs to be consistency. That's kind of the problem with, with what I'm saying. -- Cosmo Brown

No, dear. Indeed, there *is* a problem with what you're saying, but it's not lack of consistency. It's that what you're saying has the consistency of baby poop.

Posted by: exlibra on July 2, 2010 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps he was planning on taking credit for getting Obama off his duff. Brown speaks and voila! Obama jumps.

Posted by: CDW on July 2, 2010 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

My locale epitomizes that sort of, "I have an opinion, but lack any understanding of the issue to discuss it without sounding foolish", intellectual laziness/dishonesty.

It frustrating, irritating and very corrosive on any sort of dialogue that may somehow arise.

One would be tempted to believe that people might compare ignorance to, say, bad breath(ironically, it kind of is), severe body odor or leaving the house in your pajamas. In other words, to equate fundamental ignorance with embarrassment.

Posted by: PatD on July 2, 2010 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP is the home of the Centerfold politician: great bodies and faces, no minds. And in our Idiocracy, that's exactly what people want.

Posted by: Speed on July 2, 2010 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Our typical ill-informed but know-it-all US citizens, politicians, and media tend to criticize Europe for all sorts of things when in fact Europeans tend to know a lot more about what happens in the US (and elsewhere) and understand its broader implications than our own citizens do. The US Idiocracy (if I may borrow Speed's word)is pitiful -- beliefs without knowledge, claims without reason or evidence -- and we are stuck trying to survive the consequences of their stupidity (and greed of course). I find this incredibly depressing...

Posted by: pea on July 2, 2010 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

He drives a truck because he originally bought it to tow show horses to his daughter's equestrian competitions, but couldn't use it for that because it was too scary. Seriously.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on July 2, 2010 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is imposing "tough new sanctions" on Iran? Steve, maybe you should read a little more. They're not tough at all.

Posted by: Frank Warner on July 2, 2010 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

But Scott Brown drives a truck and goes on sports talk radio. Really, that should be enough to get him re-elected from now 'til the day he dies. That's all people care about.

Posted by: Moonlight on July 2, 2010 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Shark to Benen, I love how Republicans are always slow and not deep thinkers.
So you think Scott Brown is not intelligent, Iguess they can't all be scholars like Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Lee, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the geniuses in the Democratic Party. And let's not forget the high morals that Democrats operate with, people like Bill Clinton, Dodd, Geitner, Dashell etc. There are to many moral people in the Democratic party to list here.
The Shark on hubpages

Posted by: The Shark on July 2, 2010 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

News Alert! Oregon has a Scott Brown clone running for Governor and, according to the most recent polls, he has a serious shot at winning. Chris Dudley is exactly the same sort of good lookin', relaxed, engaging and well-meaning-but-ill-informed airhead Republican that Scott Brown is but WAKE UP... voters love these guys!

Posted by: Larry McD on July 3, 2010 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

What really galls me about Scott Brown and his ilk is how the media sucks up to them, while intelligent, articulate and well-prepared senators such as Al Franken don't get the time of day.

I have stopped watching the Sunday morning shows and CNN (except for Christiane Amanpour and Fareed Zacharia) because they showcase total dimwits; mainly Republicans but some Democrats too.

Posted by: AlisonS on July 3, 2010 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans swim in a sea of vast ignorance, credulity, and apathy. They have learned they can say anything they want and it will not be challenged except by leftwing bloggers.

Posted by: bob h on July 3, 2010 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK

You say, get him a newspaper, but very likely he reads the Globe, where he will likely see nothing other than his own comments verbatim.

Right now the reporter covering things like FinReg and Health Care is Matt Viser, who rarely is ever gets into the substance of the issue at hand, but instead fills his articles with competing quotes from varios sources. He is "he said/she said" reporting at its worst.

The Globe also pursues any and all angles on the so-called Tea Partiers, and in the most favorable light possible. Why a bunch of people who take all of their cues from Fox and talk radio is of such monumental interest to the Globe is beyond me.

When you read through comment threads, it is clear that the right wingers hate the Globe with a passion, and are convinced that it is too liberal.

So no, Brown should put down the Globe and start
reading people like Ezra Klein, if he wants to find out what is in all of the legislation he votes on.

Posted by: esaud on July 3, 2010 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Shark to Benen, I guess we need more real smart polticians like the Al Green, the DNC cakdidate in SC. A real genius, have you heard him speak?
How about the great Diane Feinnstein?---Ahhh General could you caaalll me Senator, I worked so hard for the title. Or how about the other scholat, john Kerry, your Presidntial candidate. I don't know where to even begin. Well I'll go with: If you stay in school and do good then you can do pretty good for yourself. If not you'll get stuck in Iraq. Ahhh such a compliment to our men abd women in uniform. He should have said you'll get stuck in the military and end up being a filthy rich senator like me.
The list goes on and on of the genius spend our way to prosperity dems.
The Shark on hubpages

Posted by: The Shark on July 3, 2010 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

The reality was his opponent came across as smug, disconnected, clueless and anti-male. He had almost nothing to do with his victory, winning by being Not Her. If I lived in MA, I wouldn't have voted for him, but I probably would have voted for a third party Not Her.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on July 3, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

I am under the impression Brown's gaffe's are not noted by MA citizens.From what I understand Brown is still considered well there. That may be cause he has repetitious rhetoric and that is what folks only listen to.

Posted by: MLJohnston on July 3, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

The "call me senator" senator is Barbara Boxer, not Dianne Feinstein, and it's "Zakaria" not "Zacharia." If you're going to trade snark back and forth from "I'm superior" standpoints, it pays to pay attention to details. Otherwise, I wouldn't care or bother to point out the hilariously obvious and ironic.

Posted by: reader_iam on July 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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