Mass. Senate

Republican Sen. Scott Brown at a campaign news conference in Boston, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Some people might consider it a derogatory term, but we need more “fence-sitters” in Washington.

Current senators like Republican Olympia Snowe and past senators like Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan — senators who give most issues and votes a fresh look through a moderate rather than a partisan lens.

We need a group of senators whose votes are unpredictable and who are enough in number to swing an issue one way or the other, no matter which party has put it forward.

This is one of the reasons the founding fathers structured the Senate the way they did — a collegial body that is the saucer to cool the hot tea coming out of the House of Representatives.

In his short time in office Scott Brown is well on his way to becoming such a senator.

He has a ragingly moderate voting record and deserves more time to cement his position as a centrist voice on our increasingly partisan national stage — time that only the certainty of a full six-year term can provide.

I’m a Republican, so it’s no surprise that I and most of the other 12 percent of Republican voters in Massachusetts will be voting for Brown. He’s been fiscally conservative and diligent enough to satisfy the vast majority of us; case closed.

But more than half of our state’s voters are un-enrolled or independent — so what’s the case for them to vote for Brown?

It’s simple: The numbers 52 and 54.

Fifty-two percent of Massachusetts voters are un-enrolled.

As for 54, according to Congressional Quarterly, Scott Brown voted with his party just 54 percent of the time in 2011.

So a slight majority of voters are independent and their senator voted against his party just slightly under a majority of the time. Seems like a pretty good fit.

The same study showed only two of 99 senators other than Brown to be in that same bipartisan range. That’s a testament to Brown’s moderation. He played it down the middle at a time when more than nine in ten U.S. senators vote with their party on almost nine out of every ten votes.

Given this, the real question if you’re an independent voter is why wouldn’t you vote for Brown?

You chose not to enroll in either party, meaning you value balance over party control. You vote for Democrats sometimes and for Republicans other times. You appreciate people who look at both sides of an issue without preconceived prejudice.

Well, you have a senator who the CQ review finds has bucked his party more often than 97 percent of his colleagues. You have a senator who is one of a handful of elected officials in Washington who has shown a willingness to speak up for the extensive, non-partisan middle of this country. Oh, and despite being a Republican, you have a senator who voted with President Obama’s preference on legislation 70 percent of the time.

What’s not to like?

So, ok, you get it but you think you still might prefer Elizabeth Warren?

Well, if one thing is clear in this campaign it is that if elected, unlike Brown, Warren will be nowhere near the 50-yard line in terms of her voting record. She’s straightforwardly campaigned on and pledged to support the Democratic Party agenda and oppose the Republican agenda — no ifs, ands or buts.

A vote for Warren is a vote to trade a centrist U.S. senator for a party regular. A vote for Warren means decreasing the balance of independent and moderate elected officials vs. the party stalwarts. It means reducing the already miniscule number of swing voters in the senate by one.

You’re a swing voter. You’re an independent. So, why would you want to do that?


Tags: Election 2012, Mass. Senate, Scott Brown

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  • janesoutham

    Three out of the five polls in the last week have shown Scott Brown in the lead.

  • PStJTT

    A “GOP strategist and media consultant” needs to write an article called “Why I’m voting for Scott Brown? Really?

  • Jack Holmes

    Brown is NO centrist. THe only reason he is the “second most bipartisan” is due to the extreme nature of his party. Taking a Republican position over 90 % of the votes is not a benefit for Massachusetts or the country. His “birther” stance with Warren as target is offensive as well.

    • X-Ray

      So Warren is a Centerist? Flaming left wing liberal is more like it. No possibility of bi-partisan cooperation there.

      • Info

        Come on, only on a political spectrum skewed far, far to the right would Elizabeth Warren be anything more than center-left. She’s a Harvard Law professor for chrissakes. She’s part of the establishment, not some militant vegan hippie Goddess worshiper.

      • jefe68

        You do realize that she was a Republican up to the 90’s.

      • John T. May

        Yeah, Warren is a centrist. She believes in markets, capitalism, all that stuff. She’s hardly a Marxist. However, given the extreme nature of the Republican Party today, Reagan, Benjamin Franklin, and William F. Buckley would be viewed as “liberals:…

  • Kirsten

    Scott Brown: a Republican in-name-only. Stop condescending to Independents — why don’t you address the specifics of his voting record rather than herald it’s “balance.” Let’s look at when he DID vote with the Republican Party: The Blunt Amendment, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He stands against Obamacare. It’s not about political parties, it’s about the issues. Scott Brown might be for you, Mr. Gray, but he’s certainly not for all independents and he’d definitely not for me.

  • comment

    What is an “unpredictable vote”? What is a “fence sitter”?

    So is it better to support a candidate who we know will support our children’s education, taking away special breaks for the billionaires, women rights, diversity, protecting our environment? Or is it better to vote for someone who sways in the wind, and has said he will support the policies of his very good friend and campaign advocate President Mitt Romney?

    Can you imagine going to bed on November 6th 2012 or to bed two years from now with a Republican president and a Senate and House controlled by tea party Republicans? Get really!

  • Jurgen Kern

    The problem with Scott Brown is that he has signed the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge, which effectively prohibits any form of reasonable negotiation on compromise between budget cutting and revenue raising (both of which must be done if we want to close our deficit). In this sense, he is not centrist at all. Warren, on the other hand, has the chance to be this generation’s Howard Metzenbaum, which is to say, the most pro-Consumer voice in the Senate, and one of the few people there who actually understand financial reform. I’d pick Warren’s financial astuteness over Brown’s mediocre record any day.

    • X-Ray

      Warren will vote the Liberal Line regardless of Logic or Legalities.

      • Trevor K. Ten Brink

        That’s a good thing for a place like Massachusetts. Ted Kennedy would be proud of her!

  • kbeau

    Having signed Grover Norquist’s pledge makes Brown unable to be bi-partisan on the most important issue facing voters today: balancing spending cuts with tax increases to control government spending. He’s drawn a line, which makes him no different than what the author claims to be Warren’s strident partisanship. Voting for Brown is NOT a vote for centrism.

  • janesoutham

    Go Scott Brown!!

  • jefe68

    Himmm, the day before the election this pro Scott Brown article is on the BUR website. Interesting that there is no equal time for Elizabeth Warren.
    Scott Browns record speaks for itself. He’s voted with his party about 97% of the time. He’s about as Independent as that Grover Norquist pledge is. What’s interesting is there are some Republican’s who have started to move away from Norquist’s inane ideological pledge, and yet the so called moderate/Independent Brown is not one of them.

    • Adam
      • jefe68

        Oh you mean that small little link that was added? I think not. The funny thing is how you right wingers act like petulant frat boys, and that kind of goes hand in hand with Scott Brown, a bully of the first order as are his staff.

    • X-Ray

      Warren got a “equal time” article also. Read on.

  • MrLongleg

    Scott Brown is not of us – he is for Grover Norquist. By signing the pledge he is borderline breaking his oath to work for the American people and not for special interest.

  • Jasoturner

    Boxing yourself in by signing a no-tax pledge of a zealot is not indicative of wisdom. It is indicative of pandering.

  • Adriana Cohen

    As a mother of 5, Sen. Brown has earned my vote. He is not only hardworking and honest, but he’s also bipartisan which is a critical skill politicians must possess in order to build a consensus and be effective in Washington. Scott Brown is a bridge builder, not a rock thrower. He’s already proven to be an effective leader and will move our country forward. He will unite us, not divide us. It’s my view, Prof. Warren is polarizing and will divide our country by pitting ‘this group’ against ‘that group’. She’ll be playing the “Blame Game” instead of finding real solutions to real problems. Warren is also extremely anti business which will NOT help our business community create jobs. I hope Scott Brown gets another 6 years. Our country & MA will be better off with him than without him. Go Scott!

    • B. R. Fly

      Nice try with the “Prof. Warren”. Nice use of the good ole dog whistle. Brown can build all the bridges he wants, but if they go nowhere, then what good is he? He doesn’t serve the people as long as he serves Norquist.

      • Adriana Cohen

        Sen. Brown’s bridges are going somewhere. He passed the STOCK ACT, Crowdfunding legislation, repealed DADT and more. If you don’t like him, don’t vote for him. But to claim he hasn’t acheived anything worthy while in office is ignorant. He’s done more good for our country in 2 1/2 years than Obama has done in 4.

    • Sinclair2

      Scott Brown revealed his latent conservative attitude when he declared Antonin Scalia his favorite Supreme Court justice. I cannot image any women voting for him unless they are hard core anti-abortion people who don’t care about what will actually happen if Roe v Wade is deleted. Declaring abortion illegal will lead to filling our prisons with innocent people who don’t share the religeous aspects of the anti-abortion crowd.
      This country will actually have religeous prisoners incited by zealots who follow the Vatican’s teachings. Imagine that? We’ll be going back in history when the pope actually had people thrown in prison by his followers!

  • Adam Mandeville

    The main issue I have with the idea that Scott Brown is bipartisan is that he seems to support both sides of the same issue, depending on whether he knows the vote will pass or fail, on issues such as women’s rights and gay rights. If Brown were really proud of his record, his ads from the start would’ve been defending them, rather than attacking Warren’s heritage claim. I tried to ask him about his ads at a campaign stop in Winchester and he shut me down, because he’s afraid to defend his record. My personal experience and his attack ads have shown that he is neither a “nice guy” nor a policy wonk. He’s just a smile, with little substance.

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  • B. R. Fly

    Scott Brown signed up with the monster Grover. No, I don’t mean the furry cute one known for fondly snuggling with kids on Sesame Street. I mean the one who has many Republican law makers in his hip pocket due to this no new tax pledge we all hear about.

    “No man can serve two masters”, or can he? Scott Brown cannot be for Massachusetts if he’s also for Norquist. The goals of the people of the Commonwealth and those of good ole Grover, DO NOT MATCH, so how does Brown square that in his head?

    How can anyone who supported the Blunt Amendment claim to be ‘for women’? How can anyone who does not support equal pay for equal work be considered ‘for women’?

    On 11/6/2012, Scott Brown needs to become the FORMER senator from Massachusetts.

  • Sinclair2

    This article is free political advertising for Scott Brown. That’s OK, because if the Republicans win a majority, another token Republican biased article may help the Public Broadcasting System survive another destructive attempt by the Republicans to dump PBS.
    Scott Brown revealed his latent conservative attitude when he declared Antonin Scalia his favorite Supreme Court justice. I cannot image any women voting for him unless they are hard core anti-abortion people who don’t care about what will actually happen if Roe v Wade is deleted. Declaring abortion illegal will lead to covert abortion factorys in back alleys in addition to filling our prisons with innocent people who don’t share the religeous aspects of the anti-abortion crowd.
    This country will actually have religeous prisoners incited by zealots who follow the Vatican’s teachings. Imagine that? We’ll be going back in history when the pope actually had people thrown in prison by his followers!

  • Info

    Bi-partisanship is a red herring. Vote for the candidate who champions policies you agree with.

    The often-reinforced “reaching across the aisle” narrative sounds nice; espousing cooperation and compromise is a good thing, right? I agree these important things are often lacking, but I also think we waste too much time in our political discourse getting (or being) distracted by issues of process and not enough time on the substantive issues.

    Of course, focusing on the real issues might make it easier to see that the two major parties really don’t differ much on a whole host of issues beyond the hot-button ones that get so much airplay.

  • Luanne Crosby

    A congressional quarterly study has him voting in the Republican column
    54 percent of the time. The Washington Post says he supports his party
    66 percent of the time. Project Vote Smart finds that Brown voted with
    the Republican leadership 76 percent of the time. ProgressMass claims he
    voted with Republicans to block majority-backed legislation in the
    Senate over 90 percent of the time. Not sure that’s moderate.

  • BeastyJ

    No one who signed Norquist’s pledge can make a credible case that they are either independent or bipartisan. Period.

  • Pat Herlihy

    Of course you are voting for Brown. You are a Republican Strategist. Your argument is fallacious. Scott Brown is no Daniel Moynihan or Olympia Snowe.

    Moynihan was intelligent and so is Snowe.

  • SL

    Brown’s strategic position in the center forces both parties to pay attention, whereas Warren would be just another freshman Democratic senator with no special influence. Washington is running out of moderates. By removing Brown, a Warren victory would cut one of the last ligaments holding Congress together. If you want to know why even Warren herself should vote for Brown, read on:

  • Stop Sketchy Bainful Minions

    HogWash. Scott Brown is a standing member of the most obstructionist opposition party in the history of the Senate (other than the civil war). If he is so ‘centrist’ then he should be a man and leave Mitch Mcconell’s job blocking anti-science ‘moran’ junta. Against evidence (see the UK) he subscribes to bankrupt, trickle-down economics and has participated in sabotaging the economy in order for the Republicans to gain power. Party before country is not a prescription for leadership. It is craven and stupid. Shame on Republicans who signed a pledge to increase the economic divide in our Country. Shame on anyone who would vote for an advocate of the banks in opposition to Elizabeth Warren who merely seeks to build a safe economy in which we can all participate fairly.

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  • renee

    Let me explain why I am registered as independent and perhaps, why others are too. I registered independent so I can vote in the primaries for the “less favorable” republican candidate. This is what some lefties do. It has nothing to do with being a moderate “fence-sitter”. Reconsider your conclusion as to why there are so many registered independents in MA.

  • Babyface

    Scott Brown is ‘bipartisan’ to the extent that he needs to be to remain palatable to Massachusetts voters. He’s not a leader or a great intellect. He’s really just another of the Republican herd using the financial crisis as cover to dismantle the social safety net and reward the 1% for being “job creators” with huge tax breaks that history shows will not trickle down to the wider economy in any way that justifies their existence.

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  • Thinking_in_Boston

    Um, this is written by a GOP strategist….hardly independent.

  • Mary

    Why does Scott Brown have a picture of himself with the President, and not Mitt Romney? Who is he supporting for president? And, show me one yard with lawn signs that support Tierney, Obama and Brown, and I might consider voting for Scott Brown. He may purport to be independent, but he needs to change parties to truly be an independent. The choice between a partisan who shares my values, and an “independent” who may or may not share my values is too risky.

  • MrLongleg

    I bet he regrets to have signed that Monster Norquist pledge. And he lost with his dirty smear campaign against Elizabeth – that showed his true character.

  • Scooter Crone

    Re social issues, the last hold conservative white men have over black and hispanic Americans to help them push all women back into the nursery and gays back into the closet, is his religion. He will continue to fund the Pope, Mormons, and similar misogynistic/homophobic protestant sects. Liberals are dangerously cozying up to the Christo-fascists and will have to eventually take back the country from the theocrats if they want to continue progressing towards community values of human diversity and environmental sensitivity. Will the left grow a backbone?

  • John T. May

    Senator Brown liked to cloak himself as an independent, but unlike the real independent senators and senator-elect in New England, Brown’s independent image was as phony as his truck, barn jacket and admiring women surrounding him for photo ops. Citing Justice Scalia as his preferred judge and signing an oath to Grover Norquist are not the actions of an independent.

  • JoelN

    I’m a middle-income socially liberal union member who finds the demonization of Sen. Brown laughable. Although I do not like the fact that any candidate would sign a pledge to absolutely refuse to sign onto something (precluding room to compromise on said issue when a little horse-trading might be necessary), he signed a pledge to state that he would not sign any bill that raised taxes on Americans. What I don’t get about you hardcore Democratic partisans or liberals is why you think that is a bad ideal to at least work for. Do you really want more government seizure of your hard earned money to spend it on oppressive drug laws, imperialistic military policy, and bloated bureaucracy? In an era of unprecedented spending, inefficient spending, and incredible waste, do you think we should generate revenue by taking more money from the citizenry, or by cutting spending on things that have made no difference (like the Department of Education or Energy) or by overhauling programs that weren’t designed for their current manifestations (like Social Security, which was designed with an initial-collecting age of 65 when life expectancy was 65). The populist rage at the 1% works to whip up the base I suppose, but it is entirely irrational and unrealistic. My $5000 a year in Federal income taxes doesn’t go too far; the millions and millions that the wealthy pay, on the other hand, does in fact build the very roads, highways, and bridges which Sen. Elect Warren and Pres. Obama said did not. When you make a ton of money from creating a business or investing wisely, your tax dollars by and large do build and maintain the roads that let you transfer your goods, get your workers to and from work, etc. Sen. Brown rightly pointed out the hypocrisy of Sen. Elect Warren when he pointed out that, while she campaigned on raising taxes on the wealthy like herself, she failed to check the box in MA where she could have paid more in taxes. I think that’s because even candidates like Warren who campaign as populist liberals make the commonsense realization when it comes to their own money that it’s better kept and spent in their own possession than in the government’s. Nothing wrong with that – just stop hypocritically playing the electorate for a populist when you are the 1% you try to pit us against.