Because if you are, today should put your doubts to rest. Brown has taken what could have been a minor negative for his campaign – the first violation of the People’s Pledge, which came at his expense – and turned it into a substantial plus, all while actually doing some good.
Here’s what happened: as you may know, a PAC ran some pro-Brown online ads in violation of Brown’s and Warren’s “People’s Pledge” agreement against such ads. Brown agreed that a violation had occurred (there was really no argument to the contrary), and said he would pay the penalty. According to the agreement, the penalty is 50% of the cost of the ads, which apparently amounts to about $340, to be donated to a charity of the other party’s choosing.
Honoring the People’s Pledge w $1K check to Autism Consortium. I encourage my supporters to support this worthy cause. http://www.autismconsortium.org/take-action/donate/
Almost simultaneously, Brown released a new radio ad touting the People’s Pledge. He probably takes a tad more credit for making the pledge a reality than he should (in actuality, most of the language to which the parties agreed came from Warren), but his facts are close enough that trying to call out the inaccuracies would risk coming across as whiny nitpicking – especially because, in the ad, he magnanimously praises Elizabeth Warren for signing on.
So look what Brown has done. He’s taken what could have been a minor embarrassment for his campaign and turned it into a positive in several ways. (1) He has donated more than twice as much money as was required to a charity that everyone likes (message: “I generously support charities that help kids”); (2) he has potentially generated even more income for that charity by expressly asking his supporters to donate (“I know that my supporters are good and generous people”); (3) he has shown the world that he’s serious about sticking to the People’s Pledge, even when it costs him money (“I’m a stand-up guy who keeps his word”); and (4) he has taken credit (again, perhaps a bit more than he should have) for keeping third-party ads out of the race in an ad that is difficult to counter (“My leadership on third-party ads is a model for the nation”). All for about $660 (his excess donation), plus the cost of his radio spot which is part of a series that is running anyway. Pretty good investment, I’d say.
So the big question with Brown is whether his policy or his politics will predominate. Overall, I’d say that Brown’s policy work has varied from middling (e.g., his “crowd funding” proposal, which is fine but which was proposed by President Obama months ago) to awful (Blunt amendment, Ryan and Medicare, filibustering his own jobs bill), but his politics have sometimes been quite smart, as they were today. Beating him will require getting voters to look behind clever political moves to what he’s actually been doing in the Senate. And that may not be easy.