So you think you might want to vote for Scott Brown, eh?
The Republican running in Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts next Tuesday, against Democrat Martha Coakley, may or may not be more liberal than the moderate Dede Scozzafava, the Republican who dropped out in NY-23 back in November, and he may or may not be ahead in the polls, but his record includes a glaring example of WTFery (I just made that up). Here's Greg Sargent with the sordid details:
One month after the September 11th attacks, Scott Brown was one of only three Massachusetts State Representatives to vote against a bill to provide financial assistance to Red Cross workers who had volunteered with 9/11 recovery efforts, we’ve learned.
The Brown campaign acknowledged the vote to us, claiming the measure would have taxed already-strained state finances.
The 9/11 attacks flared as an issue in the Massachusetts race today. The NRSC sharply criticized Democrat Martha Coaxley over a DSCC ad, first reported by Politico, that flashed an image of the Twin Towers. Rudy Giuliani, who stumped for Brown today, also slammed Coakley over the ad, saying it was "unthinkable" and "offensive."
On October 17th, 2001, Brown voted against a bill that would authorize "leaves of absence for certain Red Cross employees participating in Red Cross emergencies." The bill gave 15 days of paid leave each year to state workers called up by the Red Cross to respond to disasters. At the time, state workers called for such emergencies were required to use sick and vacation days.
That's right, Scott Brown voted against 9/11 Red Cross volunteers. Steve Benen makes the right points and asks the right questions:
This suggests an almost-stunning callousness. It's all the more galling that Brown knew it was going to pass -- 148 to 3 -- but opposed it anyway, just to make a point.
I shudder to think what Republicans would say about a Democratic lawmaker who cast a vote like this just a month after the 9/11 attacks
The Brown campaign has said the vote was about fiscal responsibility -- Massachusetts couldn't afford assistance for Red Cross workers who had volunteered with 9/11 recovery efforts.
That's not a bad line, I suppose, but here's my follow-up question: why, then, does Scott Brown recommend tax cuts now that the nation can't afford? Why would tax cuts for the wealthy be more important than help for 9/11 recovery volunteers?
Well, maybe because he's "a favorite of the Tea Party crowd" and not "even close to being a moderate. He's pretty far to the right on everything from torture to taxes, health care to the economy, Wall Street accountability to global warming." In short, he represents "the worst of yesterday."
So why is he possibly ahead in the polls, or why, at least, is the race pretty much a dead heat at the moment? I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that Democrats just aren't energized nearly as much as Republicans -- teabaggers gone wild -- are. Democrats right now are deeply divided over Obama's policies -- Afghanistan, health-care reform, etc. -- and it's that opposition to Obama and the Democrats on the left that is weakening Coakley's support.
But there's just too much for Democrats to lose (like health-care reform), and they ought to swallow whatever reservations they have and vote for Coakley. I still think the race is hers to lose, and that, ultimately, Massachusetts voters will vote for her, but, to say the least, it's way too close for comfort.