“Hey, guess who just called me, Seneder Scott Brown. Obamer!… Yeah, the President Obamer, smaht guy. Get this — the President calls me, from Air Force One, becuz he needs my input on illegal immigration. Yeah, he calls me, because some people can appreciate the importance of my fresh perspective… ”
Brown, in an interview with the Journal’s Neil King Jr., said the president was giving him a heads-up that immigration was coming down the pike and he should give it some serious thought. The senator promised to look closely at the bipartisan bill that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) are trying to produce.
“He called me originally about illegal immigration, something that he wanted me to look at that was coming down the pike,” Brown says of the call, which also roamed onto other topics like basketball and financial regulation. “I told him and others that I will read anything and make a judgment when it comes forth.”
Alluding to the issue a few minutes later, Brown clarified what he told Obama. “When I said I have an open mind, it means I have an open mind to read the bill,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that I will vote for granting amnesty to anyone. But I want to be respectful to the president and to any member who brings me a proposal.”
The Boston media were somewhat less impressed than the WSJ — even the comments from Teabaggers displayed a certain flaccidity, and he wasn’t mentioned on the tv news. Fear of a Brown Nation isn’t as big an issue here in the Commonwealth… a good chunk of the local undocumented population comes from the paler portions of Europe, the Route-128-based glibertarians are more offended by the technically-legal chicanery surrounding H-1B permits, and the aging-Fox-news-viewer demographic tends to decamp to warmer climes with lower taxes where they can vote for people like Rubio and Hayward. But I’m betting there’s one group that won’t take Brown’s new notoriety kindly. Given the proud Rethug tradition of WATBs like Newt “I’m Shutting Down the Government Because Clinton Won’t Give Me First Dibs on AF-One Seats” Gingrinch, Senator Brown will be lucky if his fellow Republicans don’t key his trademark pickup truck.
Pretty clever if Obama can pick up a favorable vote with just one phone call… using the only-slightly-shopworn Brown as a crowbar, to leverage the spite and self-regard of his opponents.
Of course, when a new star arises, an old one must fall:
When Sen. Bob Bennett faces delegates at his party’s convention in less than three weeks, the embattled Republican will step on stage with Utah’s most revered politician, Mitt Romney.
The former presidential candidate, who won 89.5 percent of Utah’s GOP presidential primary in 2008, has already appeared in television ads and campaign literature for Bennett, and appears to be the senator’s trump card as he heads into his most difficult re-election bid. Bennett, who is vying against seven fellow party members for a fourth term, has turned to Romney on several occasions and is hoping a last-minute appearance by the state’s seemingly adopted son could help sway enough votes to keep Bennett afloat.
“He certainly has the highest approval rating of any politician outside the state and certainly as high as any inside the state,” Bennett said Monday. “So sure, we’re always happy to have him show up.”…
Romney has not embraced the tea party movement, which has coalesced to oppose Bennett. University of Utah political scientist Matthew Burbank said Romney reminds delegates that they don’t oppose the entire Republican establishment.
“What Senator Bennett’s hoping he’ll get here is the message that being a political insider isn’t a bad thing and here’s an example: Most of the delegates I suspect are big fans of Mitt Romney and would like to see him be the Republican nominee for president,” Burbank said. “Well, the only reason he can do that is because he’s paid his dues within the party.”
On the opposite side, Romney’s endorsement and campaigning for Bennett could come back to haunt him in a presidential race if Bennett loses to more conservative candidates.
Romney’s apparent popularity among Utahns bemuses those of us who remember him boasting that he chose to run for governor of Massachusetts because “the former governor of Utah doesn’t get elected President”. But, hey, religious tribalism trumps petty political calculation, I guess. I’m just having trouble seeing an upside for Romney’s strategy here. Yes, he needs to burnish his credentials with Republican primary voters if he’s going for the It’s-His-Turn spot atop the 2012 ticket, and the perennial party activists appreciate the guy who’s willing to show up and press flesh, especially if he’s flying in on his own dime. Only problem is, either Romney’s “establishment” candidates win — which will grievously aggravate the Tea Partyers — or those good grey incumbents lose, which makes Willard look like a loser, and Republicans of all varieties hate losers. Either way, Romney has to cozy up more with the ‘Baggers going into 2011, and by then surely the Gubmint-Out-of-My-Medicare tantrums will have lost their novelty value even for the relentlessly infotainment-oriented Media Village Idiots?
One conclusion remains: President Obama, whatever his political-chess skills, is unbelievably lucky in his choice of opponents.
That’s his true superpower. Alan Keyes. The Hillary Clinton campaign staff. John McCain. Sarah Palin. Hell, he won the primary for his State Senate seat because his opponent, the incumbent, didn’t submit enough valid signatures to get on the ballot.
@dmsilev: How could you forget Jack Ryan?
Brown seems exactly like the new kid in school who thinks he’s arrived because the big man on campus said “hi” to him in the hall one day. But then our government is sort of like a caricature of high school student council.
@SGEW: Good point. There were so many, and frankly Jack Ryan was second-rate compared to the months-long theater of the absurd that was the Alan Keyes campaign.
I’m surprised Brown has enough brain cells to remember having the conversation. I’m impressed. He may have a future in the Republican Party. Well, until the voters throw him out on his white privileged ass at the end of this short term, anyhow.
Good for Obama
@dmsilev: And yet, somehow, almost a third of the voters in Illinois voted for Keyes. If Charles Manson had run as a Republican, the base would still have supported the GOP ticket.
I don’t understand these people.
A sizable number of these assholes wind up in NC, where they vote for Richard Burr.
@beltane: Keyes’ 27% of the vote was used to set the value of the Crazification Factor.
NYTimes Sunday mag piece on Politico and the incestuous DC villager culture
“McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, arrived after the former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie left. Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren had David Axelrod pinned into a corner near a tower of cupcakes. In the basement, a very white, bipartisan Soul Train was getting down to hip-hop. David Gregory, the “Meet the Press” host, and Newsweek’s Jon Meacham gave speeches about Fischer. Over by the jambalaya, Alan Greenspan picked up some Mardi Gras beads and placed them around the neck of his wife, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who bristled and quickly removed them.”
@dmsilev: A Star Trek related sex scandal is “second rate”? You’ve got high standards.
Tho’ I acknowledge that Keyes’ epic batshittery is a pretty hard bar to match.
@SGEW: Compared to Keyes and Palin, yes. That’s Olympian-class self-imolation. As in Greek Gods.
Ryan’s little foibles, as amusing and as representative of the GOP as they were, just don’t rise to that level of awesomeness.
David in NY
So, who are the last “it’s his turn” candidates the Republicans ran? McCain, Dole …
Obama just took note of the Senator’s difficulties in answering questions. Brown asking the reporter for good ideas was roundly mocked as I recall. Some would say that Obama’s “heads up” was a gentle mockery in the same vein. I’m sure the President wasn’t thinking that way, though. That would be taking advantage of the new senator’s lack of self awareness. Kinda like teasing a puppy. Obama wouldn’t tease a puppy would he?
Maybe Obama should let Brown know that THIS IMMIGRATION BILL DRIVES A TRUCK!
“Aieh Foahce One.”
I also thought this about Bush vs Gore, and we know how that turned out. That being said, I beg the higher powers to put Palin and or Bachmann on the ticket it 2012. OMG, the debates would be magical.
Thread needs moar kittehs.
I don’t know why, but this morning when I woke up I had, among my swirling mass of thoughts, the opinion that Scott Brown could be appealed to/reasoned with by Obama, because he’s so new and not yet completely invested in the Republican Cult. That is, he may have some conservative and/or Republican ideas, but they’re still ideas, i.e. he might actually still think his job has something to do with ideas. So he’s still susceptible to reason, logic, whatever.
Get to him before the cement hardens.
7 of 9 and her proper Borg upbringing saved the world. Go figure.
Heck of a job, Brownie. Gosh, I hope to never hear of him again in less than two years.
Also, Massholes still suck. But not as bad as Yankees.
Al Giordano makes a strong case that Newter will be the 2012 Republican nominee for president.
Knowing the views of the Republican’s southern, evangelical base toward Catholics, let alone Mormons, predicting that Romney just can’t win the nomination anyway is not that off base.
On the other hand, Mitt was able to buy quite a few votes in the recent straw poll. His best bet is a crowded field in which no one is able to emerge quickly as the anti-Mitt.
Really? Not when it involves Seven of Nine?????
That’s pretty awesome dumbness in my book….
The guy who thought that sex with 7 of 9 had gotten humdrum….
I’m going to start something I’m calling “Rolling Brown Out” where I get all my friends–we are all voters in MA–to commit to calling Brown’s office whenever the Republicans threaten to filibuster. I’m trying to figure out how to make this the most painless and efficient it can be. My idea is that I call everyone I know and assign them a day/time based on their last name or their zip code and they know that they just have to make one phone call to one number when they get the alert. Then they just call up Brown’s office, explain that they are an Independent or Democrat who considers Brown to be a viable Senator next election *as long as he demonstrates total independence from the Republican party and the use of the filibuster*. I think that I can get people to commit to doing it on a regular basis if they know that they just have to call at a set time–try twice and stop. Brown’s role as the filibuster breaker is just that important at this point. And frankly, and this is the line I use with my friends, this is the most important and pivotal this seat has been in a long time.
@jeffreyw: Not if someone planned to sell the videotape.
Here’s a thought to give you nightmares: Gingrich/Palin 2012.
Or even Palin/Gingrich 2012… with Gingrich playing the Cheney power-behind-the-throne role.
Gingrich is now a Catholic. Which cramps his style as far as the Evangelicals are concerned, and they are a big chunk of what’s left of the party.
But Gingrich is still a dyed-in-the-wool deep Southerner, who knows how to speak evangelical.
And he has a unique combination of propaganda skills, an ability to sometimes appear like a smooth, reasonable, technocratic problem-solver, and a deep, evil viciousness.
Aw, c’mon. The Keyes campaign had nothing to do with kinky sex. Give Ryan some credit!
@aimai: Hi aimai – I’m a Mass voter and will subscribe to your scheme. Let me know any marching orders.
It’s a good scheme, because if Brown’s self interest trumps his party loyalty – and I think there’s a good case it will – then he must be more flexible than other Republican senators, as if he’s just another Wingnut, there’s no way he retains the seat in 2012.
Now, that’s a deal with a devil, to be sure, because if he were to get re-elected in 2012, the odds of him going Full Wingnut go way, way up. But I guess I’m willing to risk that for compromise/results now.
Newt isn’t really a Catholic. There was some kind of political expediency behind the “conversion”, as there is behind literally everything he does. And look at him–he looks like every good old boy evangelical you’ve ever seen.
Cool, Redshirt. You can reach me at [email protected]. I haven’t figured out how to make this the easiest and the least intrusive thing yet. But email me and let me know how to reach you.
@aimai: Email sent. You can also click my name to find me at my blog.
I can’t wait to get started!
Who are the Dems likely to run against Brown in 2012? I mean, it’ll be a presidential election year in Massachusetts with Obama at the top of the ticket. Any halfway decent candidate should be able to beat Brown.
And does Brown have to worry about a primary challenge if he’s anything other than the 41st vote against everything?
The problem is “the dems” aren’t going to “run anybody” in the sense of have, like, a master plan. We got stuck with Coakley, who everyone hated, because of the self nomination process and a short primary season. I’m wondering who among the previous crop will run again. If its Capuano I’m pro Capuano, but I think that Khazei (who founded City Year) would be an excellent outside the box kind of person. And I think a lot of energetic and unelectable dems/independents may consider throwing their hats in the ring after Brown’s upset victory. I mean who in this state hasn’t looked in the mirror and thought “fuck, I could have been a Senator!” after watching Brown get the prize? I’d love to see Barney Frank get it just because I love the thought of the pugnacious little bruiser in the Senate but I think he loves his house seat.
Point taken — I should have said “Which Dems…”
Any thoughts on the prospect of a challenge to Brown from the right?
Newt Gingrich is NOT a Southerner. With that nasally accent, are you kidding me? He’s a transplant from Pennsylvania, I think.
I’m deaf — how can I join in the fun?
I took up Redshirt’s challenge to actually do something and put up a Kos diary on the subject of the Rolling Brown Out.. As Bill Maher observed of people flying flags on their cars to demonstrate their patriotism it was “literally the least” I could do. I will be contacting my own friends directly to get this thing going but I thought I might at least give it a shot at Kos, where my diaries historically disappear without a trace.
In response to Tenzil Kem (which is a great name, btw) I don’t really know who in MA could/would rise up to challenge Brown from the far right. As far as I know such a person wouldn’t be in the political mainstream, exactly, because they wouldn’t be teabagger ready. I presume it would be someone who was more a media construct even than Brown himself. Perhaps a right wing/libertarian financial person who would have the money to self finance and connections in the right wing/talk radio side of things. If they were already in politics locally they’d be way to compromised or centrist to run against him from the right. I can certainly imagine one of the local right wing purity brigaders–like the guy who is perpetually enraged that Lexington schools are going to teach gayness to toddlers–self nominating.
Hell, these people who scream about communists and nazis would vote for Stalin or Hitler if they ran as Republicans.
Hey Donna, I remember you from If I Ran the Zoo. I’ve been thinking of a post card mailing system where you pre-print/stamp something like “Independent Voters Want Up or Down Votes on Everything” or something short and sweet and you mail them to Brown’s office periodically. Maybe I’ll try to work up something, though I’m not a graphics person. Post cards are cheap and even easier for people who don’t want to get on the phone (most of the people I know hate to get on the phone). Brown’s contact information is on my Kos diary or you can google him.
Fortunately for my blood pressure, I still think both of these grifters are more interested in what they consider the “Republican Al Sharpton” role: travelling from media event to highly-compensated speaking gig, deluxe accommodations all the way, telling the rubes and the rubes’ puppeteers whatever lies and phantasies are in vogue this week. While “considering” or “pondering” a run for actual office is an excellent teaser for such careers, stepping off the bookers’ phone trees to campaign would be a serious money-loser.
Also, there’s the fact that Gingrinch and Palin hate each other, not least because they’re competing for the same ecological niche. The one consolation if they both did decide to run would be that they’d probably end up in a WATB slap-fight in the green room before the first debate.
I’m ashamed to say he’s from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, where my father grew up, but we disclaim any responsibility for him.