From U.S. News & WORLD REPORT:
Nothing’s changed for Scott Brown when he drives to work, even though it’s now in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. The newly elected Massachusetts Republican senator still drives his 2005 green GMC Canyon pickup truck to the job.
Aides say that Brown has no plans to trade the truck in for a more senatorial ride. What’s more, when he travels around town to events, he shoves his aides into the cluttered back seat of the mid-size truck.
[As Nekkid Scotty Brown] zipped down a Massachusetts highway on an early February night, he wasn’t focused on the issues he campaigned on and the problems he would soon confront: a gargantuan federal deficit; terrorism; health care reform, which his election may well have killed. He was fixated on “Saturday Night Live.” And how the actor Jon Hamm nailed him in a recent skit.
“A lot of his mannerisms — he actually did a pretty good job,” Brown said, bringing up the TV show for the second time in 90 minutes and sounding hugely amused. He lavished even more praise on the skit’s writers, who envisioned him as a Republican lamb lost in the U.S. Capitol and stumbling repeatedly into a Democratic leadership meeting where Senators Barbara Boxer and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank, among others, huddled.
The skit’s gist was in fact less innocent than that: as Brown apologized to Pelosi and company for his serial intrusions, he smiled coquettishly, batted his eyes and invaded their thought balloons, where he gyrated and jived, a hunky go-go dancer with loose hips and lewd quips. (“I’m about to filibust out of these jean shorts.”)
He chuckled about that part too, kidding that when he formally met these lawmakers in the weeks ahead, he wouldn’t be sure whether to “shake their hands or wink at them.”
Brown’s exposure owes at least as much to, well, his exposure. Back in 1982, when he was 22, he posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine, which named him the sexiest man in America.
He’s certainly bringing it a résumé and panache that aren’t the norm. And he’s transporting them — in the unlikely event that you haven’t yet heard — in a green GMC Canyon pickup truck. Seldom has a politician got more mileage out of a vehicle, and I don’t mean Brown’s crisscrossing of Massachusetts during the campaign. He constantly mentioned his truck in speeches, built an entire commercial around it and, during an appearance on Jay Leno’s show just two nights before “S.N.L.,” announced the availability of a toy version of it, packaged with the motto “Driving the establishment crazy.” The Boston Herald actually interviewed the mechanic who services it. It’s Brown’s most visible populist credential, shorthand for his kinship with the common man, an automotive analogue to Joe the Plumber.
“We’re in the famous truck,” he pointed out, needlessly. “It’s a regular truck.”
No wonder those teabaggin’ kids love their Nekkid Scotty. A pickup truck! And just a regular one! Why, he’s just like them!
Yes and no. As Arianna, the younger of his two daughters, told me, he originally purchased it not so he could haul lumber but so he could attach it to a trailer bearing her horse.
A horse? His family can afford a horse? But still, a pickup truck! That’s so…so…so manly! And he likes to get his hands dirty, just like regular guys.
He soon abandoned that plan. “It’s scary pulling a trailer,” he said, adding that he instead used the truck “for all of her horse stuff” and “it always smelled.”
~sigh~ But, hey, it’s not like he lives in a big fancy house or wears fancy clothes or anything…
Like so many politicians who have presented themselves as folk heroes, Scott Brown is a lot more complicated. He’s a real estate lawyer with a dozen years in the Massachusetts State Legislature — not exactly a career politician, but not an outsider either — and two spacious homes, one on a leafy cul-de-sac in the Boston suburb of Wrentham, Mass., the other about four blocks from the Atlantic in Rye, N.H. He’s indisputably self-made and indeed something of a he-man, but with a background that’s part Horatio Alger, part Zoolander. The Cosmo article came toward the start of a long, lucrative modeling career, and it was hardly his last voyage as a showboat.
Arianna told me that he showed up for his first real date with her mother, Gail Huff, a TV newscaster to whom he has been married for more than 23 years, in pink leather shorts. It’s family lore.
The pinkish color drained from his face when I asked him about it during a conversation in his campaign office just before we took off in the truck. He clarified that the shorts weren’t something that he went out and purchased — it wasn’t like that at all. “I did the couture shows, and instead of paying in cash, they paid in clothes,” he said. “And one of the things I had to wear were leather shorts. And these happened to be pink.”
“If I wore these now,” he said, “I’d get shot. But it was the ’80s. Pastels were in. It was all pastel-y.” The shorts went with his tan at the time and a pair of white shoes that he owned, so he gave them a whirl.
He emphasized: “This isn’t cheap leather. This is, like, $750 shorts back then.”
I remember the 80’s, and yes, pastels were in. But pink leather shorts? We had a word for a man who wore pink leather shorts. Woman.
There’s a sometimes rough and (apologies to Sarah Palin) roguish element to his character, a spontaneity that causes unintended flaps. In 2001, when he was serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and a lesbian legislator in the Massachusetts State Senate announced that she and her female partner had decided to have children, he said that such an arrangement was “not normal.” (He later apologized.) In 2007, during a talk with high-school students, he used what he now characterizes more delicately as “the F-bomb” as he read verbatim from nasty Internet postings about him and his family. (He told me he was making a point about vulgarity, anonymity and bullying on the Web.) The following year, he seemed to imply, during a cable-television appearance, that Barack Obama was born out of wedlock.
BROWN’S PARENTS DIVORCED when he was about a year old. After that Brown’s father wasn’t around much, and his mother remarried three times in little more than a dozen years — to men who didn’t always treat her well. Brown still remembers — “like it was yesterday,” he says — waking up one night to the sounds of her being pummeled by one of her husbands, then “running up to him and grabbing him — grabbing his leg — and biting his leg and I wouldn’t let go.
His mom was a battered woman? Hey Nekkid Scotty, you know your mom wouldn’t be able to buy health insurance today, because domestic violence is considered a preexisting condition. Maybe you can talk about that with your Rethuglican buddies.
In Wakefield, Mass., a middle-class suburb of Boston, Brown, his mother and a younger half-sister got by with the help of relatives and even welfare.
Welfare? Hey, Princess Sarah! Nekkid Scotty was pallin’ around with Socialists!
[In] New York, […] he spent two years as a model, represented by the Wilhelmina agency, while taking classes at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
When he transferred to Boston College Law School, he was represented by one of Boston’s top modeling agents, Maggie Trichon, who says their partnership began unusually: Brown strode through her door, told her he was in a rush, dropped off his portfolio and announced, “I’m with you now, I’ll call you later.”
“Never happened to me in all the years I’ve been doing this,” Trichon says. “There was no question in Scott’s mind. He’s very sure of himself.”
Photographers, stylists and others who worked with him say he was a no-nonsense professional, more interested in the paycheck than the parties. But he wasn’t exactly shy about posing and its potential.
“Are you kidding me?” Quinn says. “He had posters made of himself — not that Cosmo picture — but one of him in jeans with the top button undone, and he was shirtless.” Quinn says that Brown tried, without much success, to sell them for something like $5 a pop. “He was always very entrepreneurial,” he says.
He has won many political races during a government career that began in 1992, when he became the property assessor for Wrentham, and was motivated, according to him and his friends, more by the desire to have a voice in mundane local matters than by any grand cause or ideology. He spent three years on the Wrentham Board of Selectmen, more than five in the Massachusetts House and six — until his promotion to Washington — in the Massachusetts Senate, always maintaining his law practice on the side. Admirers say he was affable and informed, though by no means erudite. Detractors say he was aloof and disengaged. As a member of the Senate’s tiny Republican minority, he wasn’t a major force behind much vital legislation, though colleagues say he was a steadfast champion of military veterans. He started thinking about higher office in general, and the U.S. Senate in particular, as early as 2004, according to one Massachusetts Republican who knows him well.
Politically, it’s hard to draw a bead on him. He’s a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative who opposed a suggested state tax cut; a proponent of abortion rights who fought hard (and unsuccessfully) to allow Massachusetts doctors with religious objections to deny emergency contraception to rape victims; a hero to the Massachusetts Audubon Society who has voiced skepticism about global warming. He has said that the government is overstretched but applauds the increase of troops in Afghanistan and advocates a harsher approach to the war on terror, including waterboarding.
His Republican supporters say that makes him the kind of nuanced, independent-minded conservative who can have success in a state as blue as Massachusetts. His Democratic foes say that makes him what they disparagingly call a Romney Republican, inconstant and opportunistic.
The article is 6 pages long, so you might want to click over and read the whole thing.