Political Animal


May 16, 2011 2:45 PM Scott Brown on far-right budget plan: ‘Thank God’

By Steve Benen

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), the year before his re-election bid, has been having some trouble lately. He fell for an Internet hoax on a photo of bin Laden; he leaked word of his upcoming visit to Afghanistan and then whined about it; and Boston’s conservative paper characterized Brown as “Dan Quayle in a barn coat.”

But things are likely to get a little worse before they get better.

The oft-confused Republican had already taken some preliminary steps in support of the House GOP’s plan to end Medicare and cut Medicaid, but more recently, Brown went even further.

Brown announced his intent to vote for the [House Republican budget] plan publicly Friday in front of state business leaders in Georgetown, Mass.

“The leaders will bring forward (Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s) budget, and I will vote for it, and it will fail,” Brown said, according to the Newburyport Daily News. “Then the president will bring forward his budget, and it will fail. It will be great fodder for the commercials.”

In the past weeks, too, Brown has strongly suggested he likes the GOP approach. Late last month, a tracker for the state Democratic party filmed Brown at a meeting in Westminster, Mass., praising House Republicans laying down a marker in the budget fight.

“Finally we had congressman Ryan come forth with a budget proposal, thank God, because we haven’t had one in a couple years and that now has forced the debate and forced the President actually to come forth with his budget proposal,” Brown said.

So, Newt Gingrich says the House GOP plan is “radical change” and “too big a jump” for Americans, while Scott Brown sees the same plan, says “thank God,” and vows to vote for it.

Are Massachusetts voters aware of this?

Keep in mind, we’re talking about a right-wing budget agenda that, among other things, ends Medicare, cuts taxes on millionaires, eliminates safeguards on Wall Street, and guts funding on everything from food stamps to infrastructure to education.

Brown could easily oppose this — his centrist GOP colleague, Susan Collins, already has — but he’s nevertheless defending it.

Also note, just two months ago, Brown, an alleged moderate, also voted for the House Republican budget for the current fiscal year, which, among other things, cut funding on medical research, job training, health care, and homeland security.

Scott Brown does realize that Massachusetts isn’t Mississippi, doesn’t he?

“Dan Quayle in a barn coat” is looking more and more apt all the time.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • Ron Byers on May 16, 2011 2:53 PM:

    I am wondering if his comment was intended to be ironic but is being misinterpreted as moronic.

    By the way the Captcha program is intended to fool machines, not humans, but this particular program is tough on old eyes.

  • PhaedrusOnBass on May 16, 2011 3:16 PM:

    He's not voting "yes" because of the substance of the bill - he's voting "yes" because it will help his campaign commercials. How pathetic...

    One of these days, I hope that we can return to substance in our political discourse...silly dreamer, I know, but so was John Lennon...

    - PonB

  • zeitgeist on May 16, 2011 3:27 PM:

    Steve, are you sure Massachusetts isn't Mississippi? After all, last I knew Brown was favored over any likely Democratic opponent by double-digits. That doesn't speak well of the voting population.

  • c u n d gulag on May 16, 2011 3:50 PM:

    I haven't checked the issue, but I think that in tha "Playgirl" spread he made, they put one of the staples in his head.

    And then they took the photograph.

  • SaintZak on May 16, 2011 3:53 PM:

    He's cute and he's disarmingly dumb, so he'll get re-elected easily. I think he's become sort of a mascot rather than a Senator.

  • MR on May 16, 2011 4:08 PM:

    Steve or someone,
    Can you clarify what "Dan Quayle in a barn coat" means for the younger crowd like myself?

  • FRP on May 16, 2011 4:31 PM:

    A coat tough enough to wear while doing chores on the ranch , yet good-looking enough to wear into town for a night of intimate photo play .

    First Google result with modest retouches .

    Captcha , previewing the comment can sometimes provide a legible captcha . why this one only required 3 previews .

  • j on May 16, 2011 4:43 PM:

    And in this crazy world the republican candidate in NY26 has now accused the democrat of trying to cut social security and medicare. The republicans never let facts get in the way of a good campaign ad.

  • MR on May 16, 2011 5:01 PM:

    Thanks FRP for the definition of barn coat.
    I'm still a bit mystified but I'll give it a shot.

    So Dan Quayle was kind of dumb from what I gather so Brown is like a good-looking Dan Quayle?

    Dan Quayle wasn't exactly ugly though from looking at pictures.

  • howardjk on May 16, 2011 5:02 PM:

    Another angle on the Dan Quayle in a barn coat quip is that Senator Brown campaigned in a smart brown coat that was very rustic looking and drove around in a pick-up or jeep. He explained that the coat was a gift from his daughter (because the coat became a news issue). He brought up the usual canard from Mass Republicans the other day:
    "Senator Scott Brown said yesterday that the federal corruption trial of former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi highlights the dangers of one-party dominance in Massachusetts and a go-along-to-get-along political culture."
    And while Massachusetts is not Mississippi, have you noticed how many dumb ass Repuke governors we have had in the past twenty years? Mittster being just the last one? Massachusetts reeealy doesn't deserve it's liberal dominant reputation. A lot of voters here really believe that one party dominance crap and strive to correct it at the polls!

  • -JR on May 16, 2011 5:31 PM:

    It may be that Sen. Brown was glad to see the R come up with a budget -- even one he would not support if it had any chance of passing. Since it has no such chance, his vote is more 'hurrah for our side'.

    It is more interesting he thinks the Ryan budget forced Obama to produce a budget.

    The official budget from the executive branch was delivered in something like April.

  • emjayay on May 16, 2011 5:34 PM:

    My sister lives in liberal lefty lesbian Northampton, MA. I stopped in WalMart (yea, I know) there and when I got back to her house I said I was at Walmart, and I was thinking...and she cut in and said "Where did all those people come from?"

    Like some other states, MA has a lot of highly educated liberal types, but also a lot of more rural, not so educated types. It's not as monolithic as its simplified image might indicate. PA for example just has a higher proportion of Pennsyltucky areas.

    I suspect that Scott Brown won his seat by getting enough of everyone else and all the rube vote, fooled by
    on the rustic jacket/pickup truck image. Just like Reagan and "Morning in America" and his fake ranch, and GWB and his also fake ranch and stupid accent. Scott Brown's milquetoasty highbrow woman opponent probably failed to present a winning fake image aimed at the less critical thinking crowd.

  • exlibra on May 16, 2011 5:35 PM:

    MR, @5:01 PM

    It's been almost 20 years from Dan Quayle's famous new dictionary entry (potatoe), but he never lived it down. I wasn't paying much attention to US politics in '92, but even I knew about that blunder. What's more, that was about the only thing I knew about Quayle, too. Although I've heard that it was only one of many of his less-than-bright spots.

    Don't know what to make of Captcha's offering: "(Lemna littly". Something to do with undersized lemmings, I'm sure but, what???