Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seducing Scott Brown

The Republicans' new Great White Hope could turn out to be a disappointment for the Right wing of the GOP--and an opportunity for Democrats.

"I know what I want to do: Go down there and be a good person, a good and competent senator," Scott Brown tells Peggy Noonan. "I have huge shoes to fill, the legacy is just overwhelming. I'm a consensus builder...I can disagree in the daytime and have a coffee or beer later on. Everyone's welcome to their opinion."

This will come as a shock to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor, whose beverage of choice is Tea, the more bitter the better, and it leaves an opening for the Obama White House and Senate Democrats to reach across and welcome Brown into what used to be the bipartisan atmosphere of that body.

For Brown, such a development should not require much seduction, since it offers him an opening to be a Republican not-Palin rather than just one more among 41 blocks of granite in the Upper House.

In addition, it makes sense for his long-range future since Massachusetts may only temporarily have turned red with rage and might be more likely to reward him in the future for moderation.

As someone who regards Roe v Wade as "settled law" and approves the President's policies for Afghanistan and Korea, Brown as another New England Republican could give cover to Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in their tendencies toward creating some semblance of what used to be civility and reason from a loyal opposition.

All of this may turn out to be wishful thinking, but unlike the fellow members of the club he will be joining, Brown is no financial fat cat, and he will be arriving after President Obama's call of congratulations and refusal to try to ram through health reform before he was seated.

If John Kerry and other Democrats dust off their collegiality skills, they may find Scott Brown easier to take than Joe Lieberman--and very likely a lot less shifty.

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