From the Boston Herald:
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.
Brown’s backers from the insurgent Tea Party movement want to know if they’ve been had.
“We start to wonder whether we helped a RINO (Republican in name only) get into office,” said Tea Party activist Jeffrey McQueen, who traveled from Michigan to campaign for Brown in the final days of the Jan. 19 special election that rocked the nation.
“If it wasn’t for the Tea Party movement, Scott Brown wouldn’t have gotten that seat. We expect to see a true conservative in there.”
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.
Brown’s senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, countered that the senator has been a stalwart voice against the Democratic initiative.
“Sen. Brown has made it clear, every way he knows how, that he is opposed to Obamacare and the higher taxes and increased spending it entails,” Fehrnstrom 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.”
Boston University political expert Thomas Whalen predicts U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) is already gearing up to challenge Brown in 2012.
“His election was supposed to spell the death knell of health-care reform,” Whalen said. “If anything, it pushed the president to redouble his efforts. (Brown) seems far less of a player than he was a couple months ago.”
Democratic consultant Dan Payne agreed, saying, “He’s really being revealed as a guy who’s in over his head.”
From The Boston Globe (Editorial):
WHEN YOU dance to the right with the one who brung you, you can end up with two left feet.
Two Massachusetts Republicans — US Senator Scott Brown and former Governor Mitt Romney — are in that awkward state.
Brown won election as an independent who happened to belong to the Republican Party. He’s quickly learning that in Washington, the “R’’ next to your name means your soul belongs to the GOP.
Brown paused for an instant before promising to vote against the Democrats’ historic health care package. That slight hesitation was enough to enrage conservatives who are already suspicious about his core beliefs.
They have good reason for puzzlement.
Brown’s campaign rallying cry — that he would be the 41st vote against health care reform — never made much sense. As a Massachusetts lawmaker, Brown voted for the health care reform package that was spearheaded by Romney and became the model for the federal law that President Obama just signed.
Brown never really explained how he could rail against a measure he once supported. Then, again, neither did Romney. He now sounds slightly unhinged as he attacks Obamacare, which is, after all, based on Romneycare.
Demonizing everything in the Democrats’ health care bill was a big mistake. David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter, is every liberal’s favorite source since he blogged the following: “We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.’’
It’s a shame that before that defeat, no Republican spoke honestly about health care reform. From the Massachusetts perspective, it’s a bigger shame that two Bay State Republicans did their best to speak dishonestly about it.
Brown won election in a once-in-a-lifetime moment, by turning health care reform into a simplistic soundbite. He never had the gravitas to address the larger complexities.
Romney fully comprehends the complexities of access and cost control, but lacks the spine to address them in a non-partisan way.
Brown will have to decide whether he belongs to the people of Massachusetts or to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and assorted Tea Party activists. He was attacked from the right when he joined the Democratic majority and backed a Senate jobs bill, and the attacks will continue.
To win reelection, he must be the independent he promised to be. Yet, conservatives will become incensed each time he strays from the party line, and even when he doesn’t. Some blame Brown for the passage of health care reform on the grounds that his election forced Democrats to go for it even without 60 Senate votes. That’s unfair, but that’s raw, partisan politics.