Senator Brown’s Farewell

In his farewell speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Scott Brown not so subtly implied he might be back soon. He also seemed to unintentionally contradict the moderate, bipartisan image he worked so hard to create over the past year by disagreeing with Senator-Elect Warren on the issue of filibuster reform.

Though he couched his opposition to filibuster reform in moderate sounding terms, Brown argued that reform would make it more difficult “for both sides to do battle in a thoughtful and respectful manner.” Brown’s effort to frame the filibuster as a tool for improving Senate comity and deliberation only makes sense if the last four years never happened. Since they did happen, his comments should cause voters who didn’t fall for his efforts to distance himself from his party’s leaders, positions, and tactics to be even more confident with their decision.

Brown’s chances of returning to the U.S. Senate some day soon are actually only slightly better than were his chances of beating Warren, which means just a bit better than nearly zero. At the end of the day, Scott Brown’s political skills have been seriously over-estimated ever since his “special” 2010 upset victory, which had little to do with him and almost everything to do with the structural elements of that race.

The Scott Brown who performed quite poorly in all his debates with Elizabeth Warren never displayed the intellectual maturity the job warrants. After winning in 2010 folks marveled at the fact that Brown had been a back bencher in the state senate. In 2012, especially next to Warren, Brown seemed small, out matched, and out classed.

If his advisors are smart, they will step back and re-direct Brown toward attainable political goals the accomplishment of which will help prepare him for another shot at the big dance some day not so soon, like Massachusetts Attorney-General perhaps.

About JeroldDuquette

Jerold Duquette is an associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of Regulating the National Pastime: Baseball and Antitrust and has published articles and book chapters on campaign finance reform, political parties, Massachusetts politics and political culture, public opinion, and political socialization. Professor Duquette lives in Longmeadow, MA with his wife and four children.
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