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Roasting Mr. Coffee

This article is more than 7 years old.
Sen. Scott Brown speaks with reporters at Mul's Diner in Boston. (AP)
Sen. Scott Brown speaks with reporters at Mul's Diner in Boston. (AP)

In his latest TV spot, Sen. Scott Brown sits in a diner drinking a cup of coffee, pretending to actually read. He tells us he’s the most bipartisan senator in Washington. These days, that and a buck won’t buy you a cup of coffee.

Brown’s Biggest Vote

If reelected, Brown will quickly face a major vote — the first he will cast in January. He will almost surely vote for the current Minority Leader of the senate, Mitch McConnell. McConnell famously declared four years ago that his number one goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Not boost the economy, not reduce unemployment, not deal with the deficit or restart the housing industry. Nope, just block the president at every turn. Which McConnell did. Will Scott Brown dare to oppose him? Asking questions like that are what reporters are for.

Fenway Flip-Flop

Playing his favorite game, jock politics, Mr. Coffee recently devoted an entire campaign radio commercial to Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary, saying the current owners “deserve credit for improving what we have instead of starting over somewhere else.”

Trouble is, not so long ago, he wanted the Sox to play somewhere else. In 2001, he called on Patriots owner Robert Kraft to consider making room for the baseball park next to the Patriots’ football complex in Foxboro.

“Exploring the possibility of a Red Sox relocation to Foxboro makes fiscal and economic sense,” Brown wrote to Kraft.

The Perry Matter

It’s telling to look at what else he’s done as a political figure. Two years ago, he defended a GOP congressional candidate, Jeff Perry, who had been completely negligent (perhaps criminally so) when a police officer under his command had improperly strip-searched a young teenage girl, while Perry stood nearby. Fortunately Perry lost but no thanks to Brown for trying mightily to elect him.

Mr. Coffee And Tea

Brown has an on-again, off-again relationship with the Tea Partiers. After beating Martha Coakley, he let his victory seem to be the result of Tea baggers. Late in that campaign, when asked about them, he claimed not to know much about the party… even though it mentioned the party favorably on his website. When he’s out of state trying to look like a right wing absolutist, he’s a Tea Party guy; when he’s campaigning in Massachusetts, he barely touches the stuff.

A Not So Beautiful Mind

Some might say his back and forth stances are signs of a bipartisan mind. Actually, they’re signs that he doesn’t know his own mind. When Mitt Romney, as governor, tried to do away with a state commission to help LGBT youth, Brown, as state senator, was the only senator to back Romney.

Waiting until the last minute — his custom on controversial votes — Brown decided very late, when it was clear it would pass anyway, to support doing away with don’t ask, don’t tell in the military. He hemmed and hawed for weeks saying he thought the matter needed more study. Congressman Barney Frank, noting it had been the law since 1993, wondered what a study would show that nine years of practice didn’t reveal.

Politics Of The Pelvis

In line with his support by the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, he cosponsored — repeat, cosponsored — the aptly named Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed employers and insurance companies to refuse to pay for contraceptives if companies had moral or ethical objections.

Apparently Catholics don’t share Brown’s concern. A national poll found nearly six in ten (58 percent) of Catholics believe employers should cover contraceptives in their employee health plans. Additionally, reports that are not recent showed that 98 percent of Catholics have used birth control at some time in their lives. If this is a war on Catholics, as some Republicans suggested, Catholics have elected not to fight.

Team Player

Brown recently went along with every Republican in the Senate to defeat a bill aimed at bringing women’s pay more in line with men’s. Brown then hid behind the skirts of Senators Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine, who defended his vote knowing it could cost him with Massachusetts women. The Paycheck Fairness Act was a response to the fact that women make 77 cents for every dollar men make.

I wonder if the nice lady that poured Brown a fresh cup of coffee in his TV spot thinks her pay should be less than a man’s.

This program aired on June 7, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Dan Payne Twitter Democratic Political Analyst
Dan Payne is a Democratic political analyst for WBUR.

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