Finding Himself In Trouble, Brown Returns To Race

Sen. Scott Brown arrives for his first debate with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. (AP)

Sen. Scott Brown arrives for his first debate with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. (AP)

For as long as I’ve been involved in politics — trust me, it’s a long time — one
thing I’ve learned is that when certain Republican candidates feel they’re going to lose,
they find a way to inject race into the campaign.

Brown Must Be In Trouble

While a recent Rasmussen poll showed the Senate race deadlocked at 48 percent, at last week’s first debate Sen. Scott Brown looked worried. (He bolted out of the WBZ’s studio the minute the debate ended.) With the first words out of his mouth at the debate, he accused Elizabeth Warren of lying about her Native American heritage. He claimed she used her ancestry to game the system to get an unfair advantage (presumably over white men), which got her hired by two Ivy League law schools.

Complete Nonsense

Brown wasn’t just questioning Warren’s character. He was charging that Warren used the law schools’ racial preferences to get a job for which she was not qualified. She said Charles Fried, who recommended her to the faculty at Harvard Law School, knew nothing about her family history. Fried, solicitor general under President Reagan, told the Associated Press the suggestion that Warren “attained her position and maintains her reputation on anything other than her evident merit is complete nonsense.”

You Can’t Pick Your Family 

Warren said she had learned of her heritage from stories told by her family. “When I was growing up, these were the stories that I knew about my heritage. This is my family, this is who I am, and it’s not going to change.”

The Eyeball Test

Based on zero knowledge of genealogy, forensics or Warren’s family history, Brown said: “Professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color. As you can see, she’s not.” It’s not clear how Brown is able to discern someone’s ethnic background simply by looking at the person.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

To drive home the point, Brown staffers — one of whom was identified as a constituent services lawyer in Brown’s Senate office — mocked Warren with childish Indian war whoops and tomahawk chop gestures at a Brown rally in Boston.

While every TV station in Boston played a clip of the crude, immature antics, Brown somehow missed them. Apparently nobody in the Brown HQ records the news, something done in every major campaign in America. While he was said to have spoken loudly to his staff, Brown initial response was pathetic.

Brown As Replacement Referee

“I know we had a lot of rallies, so I don’t know what you’re specifically referring to, but if you’re saying that, certainly that’s not something I condone. It’s certainly something that if I am aware of it, I’ll tell that [staff] member to never do it again.” Brown’s view of events resembles the maligned work of the replacement referees in professional football.

Make ‘Em Deny It

Sometimes simply leveling a charge is enough to damage an opponent, no matter how preposterous it is. The late gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson told a likely acid-induced story of Lyndon B. Johnson trailing badly in his first race for Congress in Texas. His opponent was a wealthy pig farmer. LBJ ordered his campaign manager to call a press conference to accuse the farmer of having carnal knowledge of his sows. The manager said, “We can’t say that; it’s not true.” Johnson shouted: “Of course it’s not true, but let’s make the b**stard deny it.”

The Poor Have It Better Than Millionaires

Mitt Romney brushed up against race when he told a crowd of wealthy donors ($50,000-per-plate) that he couldn’t possibly get the votes of 47 percent of Americans. They don’t pay taxes, consider themselves victims, and are financially dependent on government, meaning President Obama. Wealthy Republicans apparently believe that poor people in America have got it better than the wealthy.

The 47 percent story, (kudos to Mother Jones), may mark the beginning of the end
for Romney’s presidential hopes. He might take Scott Brown down with him.

Dan Payne is WBUR’s Democratic analyst. For more political commentary, go to our Payne & Domke page.

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  • comment

    And now Scott Brown has Rove’s Cross Roads GPS doing those robo calls in Massachusetts, in support of the reelecting the Republican Vote of Republican Senator Scott Brown.

    • Sallymaimes

      I received one from Warren last night,  so what’s your point?

      • Don_B1

        It depends on the content of each call:

        1) Did Warren make a straightforward appeal for your vote based on her campaign issues of providing the needed regulation of Wall Street to prevent another 2008 financial crisis that caused millions of Americans who had done NOTHING wrong, to lose their jobs and maybe their houses?

        2) Did Brown’s message emphasize his dishonest and disgusting attack on Ms. Warren’s heritage?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Boy-Bib/100003293916830 Boy Bib

      TYPICAL Auntie Karl Rove’s dirty tricks. He used CHRISTIAN Phone Trees in 2000 South Carolina Primary to whisper his FILTHY lies that John McCain’s special needs adopted daughter was a BLACK BABY he had fathered.
      There is no filth so putrid Karl Rove won’t swim to the bottom. There was a reason this tired aging actress earned the nickname MISS PIGGY at the Dupont Circle bars while 43 was still TX governor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hershel.parker Hershel Parker

    So Elizabeth Warren has not documented her Cherokee and Delaware
    ancestry! And so the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (pictured on
    TV) has been declared by Scott Brown not to look red. Look at him,
    Scott Brown said, he’s not a person of color! And here Scott Brown has
    extended the “Person of Color” category to include us injuns. Well,
    that’s better than Obama in his inaugural address which mentioned other
    colors but not red, to my pained dismay. (I rejoiced that day and wept
    because only one person at the ceremonies mentioned Indians.)

    let’s talk turkey. I always assumed Grandma Parker was half Indian
    because she was so very dark and Indian looking. One of her daughters
    was always called Blanket because she came out so dark that the family
    thought about wrapping her in a blanket and dropping her off at the
    reservation. Okie humor. I knew that some of my great aunts as recently
    as 1990 were lamenting their failure to be in the Indian rolls, and they
    had different explanations which usually came down to people in
    Muskogee having to ride a horse or drive a wagon to Waggoner or
    Bowlegs–something on the order of what the Republicans are doing in
    Pennsylvania this year, where elderly people are being frozen out of the
    electorate by arbitrary obstacles which non-mobile people cannot
    surmount. I also thought Grandpa Parker was part Indian. He may have
    been, but it’s not documented at all. Why did his father call his mother
    squaw? [I did not learn my highly refined political correctness from
    blood relatives.]

    Now I know that Grandma Parker had a
    white Scots father. One of his daughters told me he was a full blooded
    Irishman–presumably a misunderstanding of how so many Scots were in
    Ireland before coming to the colonies. I was able (through misspelling
    creatively and through an incisive clue in the 1900 census–the name of a
    brother) to trace him back to Arkansas and then his parents to
    Tennessee. NOT an Irishman who got off the boat in Indian Territory
    somehow in the 1880s. NOT. Just another Scots-Irish guy with red hair.

    this Scot bowed his head before meals and said the Lord’s Prayer in
    Choctaw, and one of my aunts irritably said of her clay-pipe-smoking
    child-pinching grandmother, “She was a Chockie”–a Choctaw. Well, part

    But she was also part Cherokee, who knows how
    much? There’s on record a story about Uncle Joe Coker being chased in
    northern Arkansas by a party of Cherokees because he had taken one too
    many Cherokee wives, and some of his brothers must have married
    Cherokees. And my Glenns and Tuckers were party to the Jarndyce vs
    Jarndyce trial of Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory–a joke to
    those who got on the rolls early and often, a joke even in a history
    published the year after statehood. The good part, for documentation,
    was that cousins of mine testified in the 1880s and afterward before the
    Dawes Commission on what they remembered about Indian ancestors in the
    1830s and earlier.

    I no longer say I am at least an
    eighth Indian, but I know that being part Indian was a defining
    condition of my early life. Because of Grandma Parker and what I
    understood about her I identified with her Choctaw and Cherokee

    I’m with Liz.

    Scott Brown, I
    have blue eyes and look as white as you, but oh my soul, and oh my
    body, they are part Choctaw and part Cherokee. Out of the Senate, Scott
    Brown! Make way for my Cousin Liz.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Boy-Bib/100003293916830 Boy Bib

    BROWN…ugly on the INSIDE

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Boy-Bib/100003293916830 Boy Bib

    I have a maternal grandfather 100% Scot who worked the copper mines of Utah, who was refused to be sold alcohol being mistaken for Native American. he had  large features, and tanned so mahogany colored from constant sun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Boy-Bib/100003293916830 Boy Bib

    ALL of the filthy slurs and Native American stereotypes repeatedly flung at Ms. Warren were begun in Tucker Carlson’s and Michele Malkin’s CESSPOOLS. Once Scott Brown grabbed hold of that SLUDGE,….he OWNS it ALL. Purely despicable.

  • Al Ross

    Earlier this week, WBUR (among other media outlets) reported that Elizabeth Warren considered Senator Brown’s tepid response to the rude and unseemly whoops and jeers of some of his supporters as “appalling.” With all due deference to Professor Warren, I believe the only “appalling” element of this mess is the fact that this non-issue has been allowed to ferment throughout these past months as a central and sound-byte catching issue to such a pivotal campaign. My voting preferences at the ballot box will not be swayed one iota by Professor Warren’s past ancestral claims and I would hope that  my fellow Massachusetts voters would agree. I believe that Elizabeth Warren has proven herself to be an impressive legal scholar and effective consumer advocate and Scott Brown has shown that he can distance himself from rather reactionary GOP voices by reaching across the political aisle. However, I am not interested in past accomplishments, marks on candidate resumes, or petty mud slinging. As a recent college graduate and current law student who is hoping very much to be part of a future of the Commonwealth, I am concerned about how Scott Brown or Elizabeth Warren sitting in the U.S. Senate until 2018 will affect the ability of me, my friends and family, and so many others across Massachusetts to contribute to our state. The preoccupation with insignificant concerns like Professor Warren’s heritage claims by the media, pundit, and both candidates will be of any help to me as a member of a endangered species- a bona fide undecided voter- as November 6th rapidly approaches. Please, dear readers, media, analysts, and those clamoring to represent us in the Senate- do not discuss this issue anymore. We’ll need all the oxygen, ink, typing power, etc. to focus on what will really matter on November 7th. 

  • Tamy Lockhart

    I walked in the Labor Day parade in Marlborough Ma with the Elizabeth Warren supporters. Scott Brown was there with a small group and his “indians” were also there in full outfits whooping and dancing. He has been condoning this behavior for weeks. He is sophomoric, insulting and should not be a Senator. 

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