Senate rejects Blunt/Brown Amendment, but Scott Brown is stuck with his foolish vote [updated]

Moments ago, the U.S. Senate voted 51-48 to reject the crazy Blunt/Brown Amendment which would have allowed any employer or insurer to refuse to cover any medical service, as long as he, she, or it had a “moral” objection to that service.  That could have included AIDS treatment, vaccinating children, maternity care for unwed women, and any number of other services to which one can imagine a “moral” objection.  It’s terrible legislation that goes well beyond what was needed to protect religious liberty, and it died a well-deserved death.

Unfortunately for Scott Brown, he voted for it.  He did so out of a misguided belief that he was simply protecting religious liberty by doing so, either because he did not read the bill or because he did not understand it.  When that blew up in his face, he foolishly made matters much worse by claiming – incorrectly, as it turns out – that Ted Kennedy would have agreed with him.  It was a stupid gambit, and it will haunt Brown through the general election.

There have been no polls taken in Massachusetts since this whole business flared up (the Mass. Insight poll announced yesterday was actually taken a month ago).  It will be very interesting to see what impact Blunt/Brown has had on the Senate race.

UPDATE: As luck would have it, Rasmussen has just announced its first poll on the Senate race.  This poll was taken yesterday, and has Brown up 49-44 over Warren (margin of error is +/- 4.5%).  That’s actually good news for Warren, because Rasmussen has a well-documented recent history of skewing Republican by about 4 points (according to Nate Silver at 538, who does not make this kind of thing up, in the 2010 cycle “Rasmussen’s polls were quite biased, overestimating the standing of the Republican candidate by almost 4 points on average”).  So when you factor that in, it actually appears that, over the last couple of weeks, Warren – or, more likely, Scott Brown himself – has pretty much erased what was a 9-10 point lead for Brown according to both Suffolk and Mass. Insight, and has returned the race to a dead heat.

Fasten your seatbelts, folks – this is going to be a long, rough ride.


19 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Only 51 votes

    in the United States Senate to protect women’s rights. In 2012. That’s truly scary.

  2. Irony lives!

    Get on over to and not the bright red headline on the top topic — on this day when 48 elected representatives voted to sabotage the health rights of 51% of the population.

  3. "it’s beyond the political realm"

    is Scott Brown to the right of Pat Buchanan? Sounds that way from this interview about contraception.

    • Nah.

      Brown has never said he’s against birth control per se (as far as I know), whereas Santorum has, and that’s what Buchanan is talking about. Brown’s support of the Blunt Amendment was certainly misguided, but we don’t do anyone any favors by overreading it.

      • Heh....

        “I’m not in favor of preventing birth control per se, but I’m all for empowering other people who want to prevent your birth control. See, I’m reasonable.”

        • Meh.

          To pretend that there’s no essential difference between Brown’s position and Santorum’s is, IMHO, a mistake.

          • agreed ...

            but Buchanan who holds a far right view on social issues sees a line being crossed. While I haven’t read anything that has Brown against contraception, he doesn’t seem to think aline is being crossed restricting access via insurance coverage.

            • Anyone could go buy themselves extra insurance coverage

              It’s just a question of forcing other people to contribute to it. Make it a separate fund, pay for it yourself, if it’s so darn popular. What’s so important about forcing 2% of the population to pay for something they do not want?

          • Agreed, but...

            … for his part trying to highlight the difference as if his position didn’t hurt anybody is laughable.

    • No

      You totally misrepresent this clip.

      Buchanan is talking about the politics of the whole debate. Not conservative versus liberal positions. But effective versus entangling politics.

      He is saying that Santorum got of on the wrong track politically by “getting down to what he’s been discussing” (i.e. actually delving in to the actual debate about whether using contraception is a sin.) But, Buchanan says, “if you stand with the church on that” (i.e. using the contraceptive mandate debate to mis-characterize health reform as an assualt on religious liberty and/or the Catholic Church), then this is a more effective political message. Buchanan says here that he thinks it can help build a coalition of supports.

      That’s what Brown has done. Personally, I disagree with Buchanan and still think it is bad politics to support the reactionary Blunt Amendment.
      But Brown’s approach to the issues is consistent with and not “more conservative than” Buchanan and his comments in this clip.

  4. Brown not the only one "stuck" with this

    Now it’s going to figure prominently in the fall Senate races (at least) and, as a national issue, will inevitably bleed into the presidential campaign.

    Romny can’t be too happy about that.

  5. The is all about politics, and it was a smart move on his part

    He weaves right to nail down that part of his base on this vote. Makes certain they volunteer and/or contribute.

    The people that know enough and are opposed to his vote are never voting for him anyway, no matter how he voted on this particular issue.

    This is probably down to that last 5-7% who haven’t made up their minds, and they don’t know enough to understand this issue (if there’s disagreement HERE on his stands), and will probably vote on the basis of barn coat vs granny glasses.

    • "The people that know enough and are opposed to his vote are never voting for him anyway"

      Totally disagree with that, and that’s why this was a mistake by Brown. In 2010, Brown won indies by 30%, and narrowed the gender gap to 3% vs. Martha Coakley, IIRC. This is exactly the kind of issue that will make it very hard for him to keep those numbers, and if he doesn’t do that, he loses. This was an own-goal – there was absolutely no reason for him to play this the way he did.

      • except mski011's theory

        One good theory is that it will bring in national donations. He’s hoping to blunt (sorry) the impact on independents by telling a simple story about conscience exemptions being perfectly reasonable for everyone, even Kennedy, up until a few years ago when they started to go mad with power, forcing their will on religion.

        And whatever is not blunted, he’s hoping to offset with money, and this issue will resonate with donors all over the country. If he had voted against it, all those donors would consider the race irrelevant and let him lose.

        • Everything about this stinks...

          … of him having laid an egg and trying to recover from it. Nothing like a reasoned strategic decision to commit what will be a gaff locally in order to secure out of state support.

  6. So

    is Brown declaring victory?

  7. Sorry I can't "reply" directly. stupid browser issues

    Respectfully disagree. Unenrolled (“indies”) in this state are clueless.

    Here’s my favorite snippet from that Vennochi column

    “nuance isn’t enough” and that pretty much says it all.

    I got it when Kerrey said “I had to vote for it so I could vote against it” and you did as well. A heck of a lot of people did not however.

    I don’t think this issue is any different. In NH they had already passed a state law exactly like the new mandate, and no one even realized it. The Archdiocese of Manchester and Catholic Medical Center didn’t know either, and oh they weren’t even affected- they are self insured.

    So no one except the ends of the spectrum cares about this, unless it’s some vague misunderstanding “Brown’s against birth control” or “Warren’s against the church” but that won’t stick in their heads until November.

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Mon 24 Apr 3:15 PM