[Cross-posted on Blue Mass Group.]
Welcome to the "Weekly Scott Brown-d Up." Last week wasn't an especially good week for our Republican junior Senator, Scott Brown. This week wasn't any better for him.
The big event kicking off the week was the U.S. Senate's vote on the Buffett Rule, which, very simply, would ensure a minimum effective tax rate of 30% on millionaires and billionaires. One can understand that the Mitt Romneys of the world could find the measure objectionable, given that Mitt Romney paid less than 14% in taxes, probably a lower rate than many of us paid. Nevertheless, Scott Brown had a very clear choice before him. He could either vote for tax fairness and for making sure that millionaires and billionaires pay more of their fair share; or, he could side with his Wall Street benefactors over Massachusetts middle class families.
Moderate Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins joined almost every Democratic member of the U.S. Senate in a majority vote in favor of the Buffett Rule and in support of tax fairness. However, in a U.S. Senate in which the Republican minority filibusters legislation at a historic rate, blocking so much widely supported legislation from proceeding, a majority vote doesn't matter. With that, Scott Brown joined his right-wing Republican colleagues in, once again, filibustering an extremely popular piece of legislation. In the choice between Massachusetts' middle class families and Wall Street's hedge fund millionaires, Brown stood with the Wall Street millionaires.
Of course, Scott Brown knew he was casting a very unpopular vote. Brown's very weak defense of his bad vote included every excuse in book:
Brown called the so-called "Buffett rule" a political stunt and said it will hurt small businesses and make the economy worse. He also argued that raising taxes on any group in a fragile economy won't help add jobs.
If Scott Brown can explain how it will destroy our economy to have Mitt Romney pay 30%, rather than 13.9%, in taxes on his income, that would be a feat. Even the Brown-friendly Quincy Patriot Ledger questioned Brown's dubious claim that the Buffett Rule would somehow hurt small business:
Brown didn't explain how the millionaire tax would hurt small business, and we are a little uncertain ourselves about that claim.
Among other things, there just aren't that many small businesses, on the South Shore or elsewhere, that earn a million dollars a year for their proprietors, casting doubt on that as a reason for voting against the tax.
By the way, if Brown's yardstick is that every action he takes in the U.S. Senate must "add jobs," maybe he can explain how not supporting health care for fishermen adds jobs.
To deflect attention, Brown submitted a very misleading column to the Boston Herald, fear mongering on raising taxes. In the column, Brown claimed to want to end "special interest loopholes;" but, he hypocritically makes no mention of the fact that, on March 29, he voted with his right-wing Republican colleagues to protect $24 billion in tax subsidies for Big Oil. Brown also makes a vague reference in the column to "some who want to raise taxes," as though you personally should be worried about having your taxes raised. Of course, we all know that the fact is that you personally should not be worried about having your taxes raised by the Buffett Rule unless you make over a million dollars a year.
Finally, Brown's misleading column omits two key facts. The first key fact is that we recently hit the lowest level Americans have paid in taxes since the 1950's. Taxes aren't going up; they're going down. The second key fact is that the tax plan proposed by Brown's endorsed candidate for President, Mitt Romney, actually raises taxes on lower-income families.
The Massachusetts Republican Party had Scott Brown's back, as they also knew that he was casting a very unpopular vote against the Buffett Rule. They attempted a bit of a smokescreen to deflect attention from Brown's bad vote against the Buffett Rule by attacking... calypso singer Harry Belafonte?! I guess their polling indicated that the attacks on Cher weren't gaining them the desired traction.
Beyond the Buffett Rule, the other big event of the week was Fenway Park's 100th anniversary on Friday, which, we all know from last week, would never have occurred if Scott Brown had his way. Well, Scott Brown did his anti-Fenway Park image no favors when it was reported that Brown took "the maximum $2,500" from New York Yankees' president Randy Levine. One could legitimately argue that a Yankee executive's money helped fund Scott Brown's misleading "Fenway" ad hypocritically criticizing people who advocated for the Red Sox ditching Fenway Park, when Brown was one of the most prominent advocates for ditching Fenway in the first place. To immortalize Brown sticking his Sox in his mouth, American Bridge 21st Century released this video:
FenwayGate wasn't Scott Brown's only pander-fail this week. Brown's "Dog Blog" was described by ABC News as "one sure sign that the so-called 'dog wars' jumped the shark." That said, now that Brown has entered the realm of canine politics, he has made the following questions completely fair game:
1) Have you, Scott Brown, ever transported your family dogs by stuffing them in a crate on the roof of your car?
2) Do you consider your endorsed candidate for President, Mitt Romney, transporting his family dog, Seamus, in a crate on the roof of his car while on a twelve-hour car trip from Massachusetts to Canada, during which Seamus defecated himself out of fear, illness, or both, to be an act of animal cruelty? (Many dog owners, as well as representatives of the MSPCA, think that act appears to qualify as a law-breaking act of cruelty.)
And, if Scott Brown ever actually holds a Town Hall meeting, well-publicized in advance and open to the public, for voters to come and ask him questions on the record, maybe he'll get those questions asked.
The week also saw several protests against Scott Brown's many bad votes. Of course, a number of anti-Brown protests across the Commonwealth occurred because of his vote against the middle class this week when he joined the right-wing Republican filibuster of the Buffett Rule. (Admittedly, the Springfield protest was as much due to Brown's support for Big Oil as it was against Brown's opposition to tax fairness.) Additionally, students also rallied urging Brown to restore funding for summer jobs for teenagers, funding he voted against. (But I thought Scott Brown was the "jobs crusader"!? I guess not for teenagers and young adults.)
In addition to the protests, a letter to the editor of the Newburyport Daily News called out Scott Brown for his defense of Big Oil tax giveaways; and, the Boston Herald ran ProgressMass' (abridged) letter to the editor calling out Brown for his misleading column fear-mongering on taxes.
Scott Brown also earned a number of monikers this week. The conservative Washington Times dubbed Brown a "tea party favorite." A Blue Mass Group diarist highlighted Brown's ideological alignment with Kentucky's U.S. Senate delegation, consisting of Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and far-right-wing Rand "Son of Ron" Paul, and dubbed Brown "still Kentucky's third Senator." Following the reports of Brown's effort to move the Red Sox out of Fenway Park and his donation from the president of the New York Yankees, Senator John Kerry even suggested (in jest, of course) that Scott Brown is a Yankees fan.
Scott Brown received a noticeably harsh rebuke this week from what should be a friendly source. Many of us are aware of Brown's immigration bill increasing the number of Irish visas, but ignoring concerns from immigrants of Asian, African, and Latin American descent. Well, the bill's chances for moving forward are "dimming." Why? An unnamed Republican source said it was due to the fact that Scott Brown "lacks the clout within the Republican caucus to deliver." Ouch.
Closing out the week, a couple of columns took Scott Brown to task in different policy areas. The Boston Globe's Yvonne Abraham reviewed Brown's votes on issues affecting primarily women - and also sized up his general attitude toward women - and likened Brown's views to a composite of "Leave It to Beaver" and "Animal House." Also, the good folks at Rethink Brown looked at Brown's record on the environment, with Earth Day 2012 upon us. Rethink Brown found Brown's record to be hostile to climate science and the EPA, but very welcoming to Big Oil, of course.
There you have it. Another rough week for Republican Scott Brown. Stay tuned for next week's "Weekly Scott Brown-d Up."