Two Scott Brown items to report today. First, Brown is
bravely standing by his clearly-stated, principled position frantically backing away from what he said just a couple of days ago regarding Paul Ryan and the Medicare Destruction Act of 2011.
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, of course. To refresh your recollection, here’s what Brown actually said in discussing Ryan’s budget:
“The leaders will bring forward (Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s) budget, and I will vote for it, and it will fail,” he said.
So, obviously, when Brown said “I will vote for it,” what he meant was “I might vote for it, but I’d rather give the Senate a chance to work out a bipartisan compromise first.” How foolish of all of us to have missed the ambiguity that is, in hindsight, so clearly evident in Brown’s initial statement. How could we possibly have been so careless.
File this one under “Still Not Ready for Prime Time” – a file that gained new prominence with the Osama Facebook photo flap of a couple of weeks ago. Can’t wait for the next installment.
Second, Brown’s allegiance to Mitch McConnell and the Republican leadership in the Senate appears to be strengthening. Yesterday he voted to filibuster a sensible, modest bill that would revoke unjustifiable tax loopholes for the five largest oil companies as a means of reducing the deficit (the bill is hilariously entitled the “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act”). I cannot for the life of me imagine what the justification for this vote could be, especially if you don’t live in a state in which oil companies run the show (this, presumably, explains the sad votes of Democratic Senators Landrieu of LA and Begich of AK). Anyway, the next time Scott Brown drones on about how terrible the deficit is, be sure to remind him of this cowardly vote.
Interestingly, the two other “moderate” Republicans – Senators Collins and Snowe of Maine – both voted against the filibuster, as did the independent Joe Lieberman.