“The leaders will bring forward (Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s) budget, and I will vote for it, and it will fail,” he said.
Senator Scott Brown will not disclose whether he supports a GOP budget plan that includes sweeping changes to Medicare, despite saying to a business group last week that he will vote for the measure when it comes up in the US Senate….
[Brown spokesman Colin] Reed said that Brown’s comments in Newburyport were merely an observation of political gamesmanship in Washington, not a commitment to vote for the measure or for the politically charged measures within it.
Ah – he won’t disclose. Not a commitment. Cagey, Senator, very cagey.
Too cagey by half, as it turns out – remember, most voters, including surely a substantial majority of voters in Massachusetts, actually hate Ryan’s Medicare Destruction plan. So yesterday, on the Jim & Margery radio show (with Jim Braude and guest host Lauren Beckham-Falcone), Brown “made very clear” that what he meant all along was the exact opposite of what he actually said up in Newburyport.
Braude: This specific proposal, the Ryan proposal to privatize Medicare, if it came up, does it have your support or it doesn’t?
Brown: First of all, it’s very difficult to get into hypotheticals because it’s not coming up, but the way that the Medicare and Medicaid proposals and a lot of other proposals in that bill are right now, no, I can’t support it, and I’ve made that very clear.
Well, well, well. Let’s take that a part a bit.
- “difficult to get into hypotheticals because it’s not coming up” – um, Senator, actually, it is coming up. Harry Reid has made quite clear that he fully intends to have a vote on exactly what the House passed. Of course the vote will fail, as it should, but Reid wants to get the GOP Senators on record. As he should.
- “the way that the Medicare and Medicaid proposals … are right now, no, I can’t support it” – wow! That is big news. Certainly, that is the first time Brown has gone on record as actually opposing the Ryan Medicare Destruction plan.
- “and I’ve made that very clear” – uh, what? Actually, Senator, you’ve made that very unclear, since you said the exact opposite a few days ago. But thanks for the clarification, I guess.
- “… and a lot of other proposals in that bill …” – really? Which ones? We’re all breathless with anticipation over which parts of the crazy in Ryan’s bill you can support and which ones you can’t. Especially because you also said in the same interview that you “applaud the direction” that the Ryan budget “is taking us in terms of reducing spending.” So if you applaud the direction, but you can’t support the actual proposals, where does that leave you?
Frankly, I think Brown is in desperate damage control mode here. I think he still routinely slips back into State Senator mode, where he assumes that he can blab all he wants and nobody really pays attention or cares what he says (this is the “still not ready for prime time” file I referred to earlier). I think he especially does that when he is here in Massachusetts, and I think that’s exactly what happened in Newburyport. Then, belatedly realizing that he’s potentially tied himself to a deeply unpopular proposal, he clams up for a day or two, and then announces that the bad ol’ media and mean ol’ Democrats are out to get him when all he wants to do is make America a better place. Of course he’s been against that awful proposal all along – “he’s made that very clear.” If only people would listen to him, they would understand.
It’s a sleazy act. What’s amazing, though, is how smoothly Brown carries this routine off. If you listen to the audio from the Jim & Margery show, you’ll hear that Brown doesn’t seem to get worked up, or raise his voice, or otherwise show obvious signs of stress. He’s very slick. He’s a true politician in all the bad senses of that word, and he’s a very skilled one. That, in part, is why he’s going to be hard to beat next year. We underestimate him at our peril.
UPDATE: Here’s a video that the Mass. Dems put together collecting some of Brown’s B.B. (Before Braude) positions on the Ryan budget.