The two best hopes for the Massachusetts Republican party, Scott Brown and Richard Tisei, had a pretty bad day yesterday.
Let’s start with Scott Brown, who – along with just about everyone else – was not expecting President Obama’s dramatic announcement on immigration. Obama, to his great credit, has announced an executive version of parts of the DREAM Act:
Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be allowed to remain in the country without fear of deportation and able to work, under an executive action the Obama administration announced on Friday…. Under the change, the Department of Homeland Security will no longer initiate the deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the United States before age 16, have lived here for at least five years, and are in school, are high school graduates or are military veterans in good standing. The immigrants must also be under 30 and have clean criminal records.
I’ve always thought that it was very hard to argue with the basic principle that we should not punish children for the sins of their parents – heck, even the Herald “like[s] the substance of the president’s plan.” But, predictably, this eminently sensible policy has Republicans frothing at the mouth, including our good friend Scott Brown, who offered the following absurd commentary:
Senator Scott Brown, a Massachusetts Republican running for reelection, said he opposes the change, suggesting it would set off a new wave of illegal immigration. He said he would be open to allowing young people who have chosen military service to obtain citizenship in recognition of their sacrifice. “Rather than sidestepping Congress on this major policy shift, the president should work with us toward a bipartisan, long-term solution,” Brown said.
Uh, Scott? The president has already tried working with you. He offered a “bipartisan, long-term solution” – it’s called the DREAM Act. You voted against it, but three Senate Republicans (Bennett (R-UT), Lugar (R-IN), and Murkowski (R-AK)) voted in favor, giving it 55 “yes” votes against 41 “no” votes – enough to pass easily in any sensible system, but unfortunately not in the US Senate. Just because you don’t support something doesn’t mean it’s not “bipartisan,” or that it’s not good policy. Honestly, Scott Brown’s hilariously inflated sense of self-importance and self-righteousness is a true marvel that may end up being one of Massachusetts’s most popular tourist attractions.
As for Richard Tisei, he just lost a big gamble he took with John Tierney regarding campaign finance. Tierney proposed to Tisei that they agree to the Brown/Warren “People’s Pledge” that is designed to keep third-party advertising out of the race. Tisei counter-proposed that Tierney should also agree to limit PAC spending to 20% of all contributions. Tierney agreed to that.
And then Tisei backed out, refusing to sign the agreement that he himself had proposed. #fail
The entire press release from the Tierney campaign is on the flip.
Tisei Rejects Agreement To Ban Outside Money in Election
Now that Tisei has Super PAC support, he won’t agree to bar outside spending by billionaires and corporations
Peabody, MA – After being specifically named as a beneficiary of a new Super PAC formed by a New York Wall Street billionaire, Richard Tisei has rejected John Tierney’s offer to adopt the Warren-Brown People’s Pledge to ban outside spending in Massachusetts elections by billionaires and corporations through “Super PACs” and other shadowy groups. Tisei has spent the last month quietly lining up support with two other outside groups, the NRCC and the Young Gun super PAC.
On May 7, John Tierney sent a signed copy of the Warren-Brown pledge that bans this kind of outside spending and challenged Mr. Tisei to join him in signing it. Tisei responded that he would only sign if the Tierney campaign agreed to his public challenge limiting PAC contributions to 20%. The Tierney campaign promptly agreed to that exact condition, but Mr. Tisei still rejected signing an agreement.
“Richard Tisei won’t sign the same pledge that Scott Brown signed for one simple reason: because he actually wants these shadowy outside groups to spend their millions on attack ads to help him,” said Tierney Communications Director Grant Herring. “As soon as his right-wing allies and Washington Republican friends signaled that they would spend millions to try to elect him, Richard Tisei made clear where his loyalties lie—he is right on board with them.”
Congressman Tierney originally challenged Senator Tisei to join him in signing the “People’s Pledge” — the exact same agreement that Senator Scott Brown proposed and signed with Elizabeth Warren to try to keep Super PACs and other independent expenditure groups out of Massachusetts elections. These outside groups are the organizations that are allowed under the Citizens United decision to accept and spend unlimited sums on attack ads in campaigns, without fully disclosing where their money came from. They have already spent $121 million in this election alone.
Richard Tisei publicly introduced a separate challenge to limit PAC donations to 20%. As Tisei campaign manager Paul More admitted, this is something very different from the People’s Pledge. The Tierney campaign agreed to adopt that limit under the exact conditions that the Tisei campaign asked for, but Tisei refused to sign his own offer.
“Mitt Romney, Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren oppose spending from outside groups; Richard Tisei is the only politician in Massachusetts craving super PAC attack ads funded by secret, corporate donors,” said Tierney campaign communications director Grant Herring. “This shows once again that voters cannot believe anything Mr. Tisei says.”