Scott Brown and Buyer’s Remorse
Scott Brown was elected to be the final vote against ObamaCare but he never got the chance. Now, some of his erstwhile supporters are having second thoughts.
Republican folk hero Sen. Scott Brown is being taunted by triumphant Democrats – and slammed by irked conservatives – after the historic health-care bill he was elected to kill was signed into law by President Obama yesterday.
“If he were a milk carton, he would be expired,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman John Walsh.
In fact, Democrats now say Brown’s election as the so-called “41st vote” to block Obama’s health-care overhaul inspired them to seek procedural means to bypass GOP efforts to derail the bill.
“Scott Brown’s election actually delivered health-care reform, because we didn’t need the 60 votes to make it happen. He delivered a significant victory in that,” Walsh said.
Bill Whalen, a former Republican operative and research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, likened Brown to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, calling both a “political novelty.”
“The luster has worn off,” Whalen said, adding that Brown staked his campaign on health care and many Republicans don’t know where he stands on other issues.
I wrote a post two months ago titled, “Scott Brown’s a Liberal. Why are Conservatives So Enthusiastic?” and was bemused when he was, for example, given rock star treatment at CPAC — a group that would boo the likes of John McCain.
Yet the particular criticism of Brown here is idiotic. He campaigned quite reasonably expecting to be able to vote on health care reform. Instead, the Democrats conspired to use a parliamentary trick to get around the inconvenience of having lost a seat in an honest election. That ain’t Brown’s fault.
And Walsh’s crowing is absurd, too. The Brown election was seen as a mini-national referendum on ObamaCare. In the days after, several prominent Democratic Senators were publicly opposed to ignoring that outcome by either rushing through a vote before Brown could be seated or using the reconciliation process to ratify the prior vote and get around the need to have another cloture vote. The fact that the Democratic leadership was willing to do it nonetheless was a testament to their desperation to pass the measure, not a reaction to Brown’s win. It wouldn’t have been “necessary” with Martha Coakley in the seat, of course, but the outcome would have been the same.