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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