[Cross-posted on Blue Mass Group.]
Could this have been the worst week of 2012 for Republican Scott Brown, politically speaking? Polls, policies, party politics, the debate, endorsements, and campaign finance all displayed a politically wounded Brown.
Normally, polls are not much of a focus on the "Weekly Scott Brown-d Up" posts because, as we all know, individual polls are snapshots. However, last week, we were given a number of snapshots. The Western New England University/Springfield Republican poll put the race at Elizabeth Warren 50, Scott Brown 44. The Public Policy Polling poll put the race at Warren 48, Brown 46. The Suffolk University/WHDH poll put the race at Warren 48, Brown 44. And, the WBUR poll put the race at Warren 45, Brown 40.
While each poll provides an individual snapshot, these four relatively consistent polls collectively offer a clear state of the race. Democrat Elizabeth Warren registers in the mid-to-high 40's and Republican Scott Brown registers in the low-to-mid 40's, with Warren enjoying a small 2 to 6 point lead. Sounds reasonable.
But then there's the Boston Herald poll that gives Republican Scott Brown the lead, 50-44 among registered voters, 49-45 among likely voters. Is this poll an outlier? It appears to be. The results can be seen as significantly skewed as the poll under-sampled Democrats by nearly 10%, while slightly over-sampling Republicans. Statewide voter registration breakdown is about 36% Democratic, 11% Republican, 52% unenrolled, and less than 1% other. For their registered voter screen, however, the Boston Herald poll included only 28% Democrats and 12% Republican. I suppose that's one way to get Brown a lead.
Last week, ProgressMass launched www.BothWaysBrown.com highlighting the vast distance between Republican Scott Brown's campaign rhetoric and his actual record in the U.S. Senate. Suffice it to say, Brown has numerous inconsistencies to answer for. Share the link to help spread the word, and be sure to download and share the printable two-pager on the topic.
Party politics - specifically Republican Party politics - served as an anchor yet again for Republican Scott Brown last week. Video was released displaying exactly what Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee and Brown's endorsed candidate for President, thinks of about half of the population of America. Brown offered a response tepidly distancing himself from Romney's divisive and reprehensible comments.
ProgressMass challenged Brown that, if he was truly an "independent voice" who didn't endorse Romney's world view, he should rescind his endorsement of Mitt Romney for President. After some initial confusion, however, Brown dutifully reaffirmed his unwavering support for Mitt Romney for President. This Dave Granlund political cartoon pretty much says it all:
All of that set the stage for the first debate between Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren last Thursday. Warren spent the hour focusing on Brown's record in Washington. Brown, however, led with personal attacks, re-litigating the manufactured controversy over part of Warren's family heritage; and, he continued with misleading negative attacks during the hour-long debate, misrepresenting Warren's role in a Travelers Insurance lawsuit. Media outlets took notice of Brown's sheer negativity, with both local media and national media wondering aloud if Brown can sustain a campaign of negativity.
Suffice it to say, the reviews were less-than-stellar for Republican Scott Brown. The Boston Globe's Scot Lehigh declared "Warren hits her stride, while Brown stumbles." The Boston Herald's Peter Gelzinis found Brown to be repetitive, negative, and overwhelmed. WBUR's voice from the left, Dan Payne, found Warren to be the overwhelming winner. Meanwhile, WBUR's voice from the right, Todd Domke, could only muster enough spin to argue for a draw. In fact checks of Brown's comments, the word "misleading" featured prominently in Brown's defense of the Blunt Amendment and in Brown's attacks on Warren.
The two campaigns took vastly different approaches regarding how to build on the candidates' debate performances. Doubling down on his relentless, misleading negativity, Republican Scott Brown held a Friday press conference to further misrepresent Elizabeth Warren's role in the Travelers Insurance lawsuit. But the facts are quite clear:
In the asbestos case, Warren did represent Travelers but, at the time, the company was seeking to unlock a $500 million settlement account for victims, a step many asbestos victims supported. After Warren left the case, however, Travelers won a separate court ruling that allowed the company to avoid paying out the settlement. That ruling is under appeal.
"Elizabeth Warren got involved to protect the settlement," against a challenge from another insurance company, said David J. McMorris, a lawyer at Thornton & Naumes in Boston, who represented victims in the case.
McMorris and several officials from an asbestos workers' union stood outside Brown's headquarters after the senator's press conference and defended Warren's role in the lawsuit.
"It should be very, very clear the victims would have no chance to get paid by Travelers were it not for the work of Elizabeth Warren," McMorris said. "She's been with the victims then, and she's with the victims now." [...]
Scott Curry, regional organizer for the Insulators and Asbestos Workers Union, said he was outraged at Brown's attacks. His union, which includes asbestos victims in the Travelers' case, has endorsed Warren.
The bottom line is that Republican Scott Brown's misleading attacks simply don't hold water. While Brown doubled down on misleading attacks, Democrat Elizabeth Warren took a more positive approach to build on the momentum of her debate success, holding at rally in Roslindale at which she received the endorsement of Boston Mayor Tom Menino:
"Like many voters, I wanted to get to know Elizabeth Warren. You know how I made up my mind about this election? I thought to myself. What if I wasn't the Mayor. What if I was just a guy from Hyde Park who had a job with the city. Whose wife was an accountant and worried about their retirement savings. What if I was any guy who wondered how his two kids would send his six grandkids to college. And whether they would have good jobs on the other end. If I wasn't the Mayor, who would speak up in Washington on my behalf? I thought to myself, if I was any guy from Hyde Park, Elizabeth would have my back, and so I have hers," said Mayor Menino.
And what did Hizzoner have to say about Republican Scott Brown?
"I know Scott Brown. I like Scott Brown. But we disagree about some very important, very basic things. I think government should still be about the business of helping people."
And Republican Scott Brown does not think government should "still be about the business of helping people." Brown was desperately hoping that Mayor Menino (and the Mayor's much-vaunted GOTV operation) would stay out of the race, but Brown's hopes have been dashed.
If you don't think that all of these events make for Republican Scott Brown's worst week yet, just wait. There's more! Brown has also run afoul of campaign finance policies:
Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's re-election campaign has failed to disclose employment information for contributors who collectively donated more than $2 million, a review of Federal Election Commission filings shows.
Nearly 16 percent of campaign contributions during the 20-month period from the start of the 2011-2012 election cycle until the middle of August came from individuals who did not provide the names of their employers.
The Federal Election Commission requires that information.
By comparison, Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren's campaign failed to report employment information for only about 1.6 percent of individual donors during the same period, for a total of just over $255,000.
While a Brown spokesperson claimed that the campaign has made "every effort to follow up," this claim appears to be quite untrue given the evidence:
For instance, in just one day - June 21, 2011 - more than 27 health care professionals at Coordinated Health in the Allentown, Penn. area contributed more than $37,000 to Brown's campaign. Brown's federal campaign filings included the home cities, states, and zip codes of those individuals, but failed to disclose the employer or occupation for all 27.
Clearly, "every effort" has not been made to follow up if the Quincy Patriot Ledger (as well as diligent Blue Mass Group diarists) is getting information that Republican Scott Brown and his campaign refuse to collect and disclose.
Finally, don't miss these Must-Reads:
· Per the Bay State Banner, Republican Scott Brown is ducking "what will most likely be the only forum speaking to communities of color."
· The Boston Globe's Brian McGrory basically calls Republican Scott Brown a giant phony as McGrory tells the story of Brown skipping out on multiple ceremonies honoring the life and sacrifice of a fallen soldier from Raynham. McGrory concludes his must-read column with the line: "I really hoped Brown was better than this. But as the people of Raynham know, his actions can be far different than his words."
· Women in western Massachusetts last week proudly protested Republican Scott Brown's disappointing record on women.
· Republican Scott Brown had a starring role in the New York Times' look at behind-the-scenes efforts to weaken the Volcker Rule. Brown has been such a tremendous advocate for Wall Street hedge fund managers, after all.
· For the second week in a row, Go Local Worcester declares that Democrat Elizabeth Warren is "Hot" and Republican Scott Brown is "Not."
Will Republican Scott Brown continue with the relentless and misleading negative attacks this week? Stay tuned for the next "Weekly Scott Brown-d Up" to find out.