“When you run for high elected office, you have to pass a test, and that test is one of honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness, and truthfulness.”
-Republican Scott Brown, on qualifications for high elected office
Republican Scott Brown has laid down a clear standard that people must meet in order to run for high elected office. In short, it seems that Brown is saying that, if you routinely bend the truth, embellish and exaggerate your accomplishments, and flat-out make stuff up, you don’t meet that standard of “honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness, and truthfulness,” and you’re summarily disqualified from running for high elected office.
Yet, Republican Scott Brown does not meet his own standard. By his own standard, Brown would be disqualified from running for high elected office. There’s a reason that Joe Battenfeld of the Boston Herald and NECN said of Brown, “He embellishes things sometimes that get him in trouble.” There’s a reason that Brian McGrory of the Boston Globe wrote of Brown, “Be worried about Senator Brown. Be very worried. It looks like he’s becoming delusional, starting to believe — and worse, trying to convince others — that he’s far more important than any junior senator has ever been.”
Perhaps Republican Scott Brown is just caving under the pressure of a high-profile political campaign. Perhaps Brown simply caught a “case of the Romneys” from Eric Fehrnstrom. Whatever the reason, Brown has clearly displayed an undeniable routine of bending the truth, embellishing, exaggerating, and flat-out making stuff up. He has failed his own test of “honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness, and truthfulness.”
To wit, here are Republican Scott Brown’s Top Ten Tall Tales.
10) When Did Republican Scott Brown Learn about the Practice of Congressional Insider Trading?
ProgressMass has well-documented how Republican Scott Brown’s STOCK Act actually demonstrated Brown’s absence of leadership, contrary to the story Brown tells voters. Amid the abrogations of leadership, the episode included one apparent falsehood in which he clearly contradicted himself.
On April 5, 2012, Republican Scott Brown was a guest on his good friend Dan Rea’s WBZ radio show “NightSide.” During the program, Brown mentioned how he was “really surprised” to learn about the practice of Congressional insider trading from the infamous and enlightening “60 Minutes” segment last November.
Like everybody else, I saw the “60 Minutes” piece and was really surprised- didn’t know you could do that sort of thing. Who would have thought that members of Congress can do insider trading and not go to jail? So, I saw the “60 Minutes” piece, filed a bill, requested an immediate hearing, got it up in fifteen days, we got it out of committee fifteen days thereafter, and then it languished.
The story that Republican Scott Brown is telling Dan Rea’s listeners feeds into his desired narrative of a fast-acting, problem-solving leader. He says he learned about the problem from the “60 Minutes” segment and immediately filed a bill. Unfortunately for Brown, his account here directly contradicts something he told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” program in November 2011, shortly after he filed his version of the STOCK Act.
Carlson: I imagine since you are a freshman Senator that you can say that you did not know about this. Did you know that members of Congress had the ability to use insider information to get rich?
Brown: Certainly not when I got here. It’s something we have been aware of since July, and then obviously the recent ["60 Minutes"] piece brought it to the forefront.
Wait a second! I thought Mr. Problem Solver told Dan Rea that he was “really surprised” to learn about the practice of Congressional insider trading from the “60 Minutes” segment. It turns out that Brown knew about the practice for at least four months and did nothing.
Only when the “60 Minutes” segment brought the issue “to the forefront” and gave Brown the opportunity for free media coverage by offering his flawed and loophole-ridden version of the bill, did Brown do anything. Regardless, Brown quite clearly contradicts himself on this matter, making his statement on Dan Rea’s program quite the tall tale.
9) Secret Meetings with Kings and Queens
The Massachusetts Republican was asked on Boston’s WTKK-FM to respond to critics who charge that the senator’s race against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren has lacked in substance [...]
Brown pushed back on the accusation, saying on the air, “Each and every day that I’ve been a United States senator, I’ve been either discussing issues, meeting on issues, in secret meetings with kings and queens…”
Of course, almost as soon as Republican Scott Brown’s untrue (and ridiculous) boast of “secret meetings” with Kings and Queens hit the airwaves, the mockery began. Brown’s campaign spokesman quickly walked back the boast, claiming Brown misspoke.
8 ) Republican Scott Brown’s Explanation for the “Kings and Queens” Comment
Yes, this item deserves its own entry in Republican Scott Brown’s Top Ten Tall Tales. Not only did Brown fabricate “secret meetings” with royalty, but, when he (not his spokesman – the Senator himself) was asked to explain the comment, he offered an explanation that was highly suspect.
In the middle of a radio interview, at seven o’clock in the morning, when you’re trying to get it out before the next question comes, sometimes it is problematic. What I meant is “representatives of Kings and Queens,” obviously.
Obviously, huh? Brown only said “Kings and Queens” because it was a 7am radio show with fast-paced questions? That begs the question – as we have all come to learn – why did Brown use the line, then, at least a half a dozen other times (that we know of) in venues that weren’t 7am radio shows – including the floor of the U.S. Senate? Clearly, based on the repetition of the falsehood, it was part of an oft-repeated stump speech, remarks that are very deliberately crafted. Brown blaming this one instance on the early-hour venue, then, is an awfully tall tale.
7) Republican Scott Brown Plagiarizes Republican Former Senator Elizabeth Dole
You may recall this bit of notoriety that Republican Scott Brown achieved last October. Brown’s Senate website featured a personal values statement (not a policy item – rather, something from the heart; but whose heart, exactly?) that was lifted verbatim from former Senator Dole’s website and 2002 campaign kick-off speech.
Making matters worse, Brown’s office claimed it was an accident, pleading that Dole’s website was used as a template for Brown’s and that language was “inadvertently transferred.” Of course, that didn’t pass muster once it was pointed out that text noting “I am Mary and John Hanford’s daughter” managed to be excised. (A very precise accident, perhaps?)
Making matters worse still, Brown’s office proceeded to blame the summer intern – yeah, that old gag. Of course, that didn’t pass muster once it was pointed out that the website hadn’t been updated since February 2010, far too early for “summer interns.”
The incident proved very embarrassing for Brown, and the media firestorm was captured in this thorough YouTube video. The highlight is Fox 25 Boston’s Doug “V.B.” Goudie (a former producer for right-winger Howie Carr’s radio show), hardly a voice for liberalism in the Boston media, saying:
There’s no way this isn’t plagiarism. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. What the real shame is, is the excuse they’ve used. His spokesperson says yesterday, “Her website was a model for our website, and we just transferred that section without it being rewritten, accidentally. It was an oversight by the staff.” Sure it was. Nice try. Conveniently, while you transferred it, you took out the first line where she mentioned her parents, and the last line, when she said she was Bob Dole’s wife, but everything in the middle gets transferred. That’s kind of convenient, isn’t it?
Quite convenient, indeed, V.B. And quite the tall tale.
6) Republican Scott Brown Claims He Saw Secret Photos of Osama bin Laden’s Corpse in “Official Briefing”
Another Hall of Shame moment for Republican Scott Brown:
Senator Scott Brown said in several televised interviews yesterday that he had seen perhaps the most controversial and closely guarded photos in the world: those showing Osama bin Laden’s dead body.
Brown, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, suggested he had viewed them as part of an official briefing, and he argued that they were too graphic to be released to the public and could enflame terrorists.
Brown later acknowledged that he had fallen victim to a hoax, apparently the same doctored images that were making the rounds on the Internet.
“The photo that I saw and that a lot of other people saw is not authentic,’’ the senator said in a one-sentence statement issued hours after the interviews aired.
Brown’s aides declined to explain who showed him the fake photos, why he believed the photos were real, and why he had suggested he had seen them as part of an official briefing.
If Brown had just noted that he had been duped by an internet hoax, the situation would have simply been embarrassing for Brown, currently a member of both the Armed Service Committee and the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee. But for Brown to pile on, claiming the photos were part of an “official briefing” and then not further explain that comment, suggests that this situation transcends simple embarrassment and was actually another instance of Brown inflating or exaggerating the importance of something to make his position appear all the more prestigious.
Hey, come to think of it, given Brown’s penchant for internet hoaxes, it’s possible that one of Brown’s “secret meetings” with royalty was a financial transaction with a Nigerian Prince.
5) Republican Scott Brown Takes Calls “All the Time” from President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton
You’d think that, after June’s “secret meetings with Kings and Queens” debacle, Eric Fehrnstrom would have given Republican Scott Brown strict orders to make it through at least the month of July without making exaggerated boasts about private conversations with world leaders. But, as we all know, Brown couldn’t even get through the first half of July without coughing up this tall tale:
During a CNN interview that aired Tuesday, Senator Scott Brown said that President Obama and other powerful Democrats are regularly phoning him to get help passing their legislation. [...]
“And the president had called me, and vice president calls me, and Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton calls asking for my vote all the time.”
According to the inflated ego and fevered imagination of Republican Scott Brown, President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton call him “all the time.” In reality, however, Secretary Clinton has called him only twice ever, and both President Obama and Vice President Biden have called him only once ever. Among other lampooning, the incident prompted this only-half-joking Tweet from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: “Hardest job on Capitol Hill these days — Anonymous Clarifier of What Senator Scott Brown Really Meant.”
4) Republican Scott Brown Claims: “I Strongly Believe in Fair Pay”
Republican Scott Brown has a nasty habit of claiming to support the values contained in legislation he routinely votes against. For instance, Brown said that we need to “prevent these [student loan interest] rates from skyrocketing in July” immediately after his vote against legislation to prevent the student loan interest rate from doubling. Similarly, Brown has argued that, “Attack ads from unaccountable outside groups that spend millions of dollars from anonymous donors portraying their opposition unfairly and misleading voters are wrong.” Nevertheless, Brown recently voted against the latest incarnation of the DISCLOSE Act that is designed to increase accountability and transparency (and that enjoys the support of Republican former Senators Warren Rudman and Chuck Hagel).
Along those very lines, Republican Scott Brown has deigned to claim, “I believe strongly in fair pay.” How has Brown demonstrated his allegedly strong belief in fair pay? Why, by joining the Republican filibuster to kill the Paycheck Fairness Act, of course!
What was the purpose of this awfully controversial bill? Simply to “provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.” That’s what Republican Scott Brown helped kill: a measure to help reduce gender-based discrimination in the workplace and make more prevalent the value of Equal Pay for Equal Work.
Adding insult to injury, Republican Scott Brown called the equal pay measure a “burden” on business. Do you think a woman being paid the same as a man is paid for doing the same work is a “burden”? Apparently, Scott Brown does. So much for strongly believing in fair pay.
3) The Casinos on Wall Street
Perhaps you’ve heard Republican Scott Brown spout this disingenuous claim before:
Banks should not act like casinos with our money and undermine confidence in the American economy.
Despite the tough-talking rhetoric, Brown has notoriously done a great deal to enable banks to act just like casinos with our money. There’s a reason Brown is considered one of Wall Street’s favorite members of Congress! It has been well-documented that, before the passage of the financial reform bill, Brown worked diligently on Wall Street’s behalf to water down a key regulation that would have worked to hold big banks in check from acting like casinos.
When Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown addressed supporters after his upset victory in January, he declared there would be “no more closed-door meetings or back-room deals by an out-of-touch party leadership.”
Some would argue that’s exactly what he just did in the final push on Wall Street reform.
After private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd and other top Democrats, Brown scored a series of exemptions from the “Volcker rule” — which would bar certain forms of proprietary trading — a provision pushed by big Massachusetts banks and financial firms, including State Street Corp. and Mass Mutual.
The financial industry (coincidentally and completely unrelated, of course) kept Brown’s bread extremely buttered during that time. But that’s not all. Even after financial reform was passed, Brown still worked to loosen rules to enable banks to “act like casinos with our money.”
Senator Scott Brown has trumpeted his role in casting the deciding vote in favor of the 2010 Wall Street overhaul, but records show that after he voted for the law, he worked to shield banks and other financial institutions from some of its tough provisions.
E-mails between Brown’s legislative director and US Treasury Department officials show that Brown advocated for a loose interpretation of the law so that banks could more easily engage in high-risk investments. [...]
Brown’s role in helping to loosen the Volcker rule in advance of casting his vote on Dodd-Frank has been well-documented. Notably, he helped create a provision that allows banks to invest up to 3 percent of their money in riskier investments such as hedge funds and private equity funds, and to own up to 3 percent of an individual fund – additions that won him Wall Street support.
But e-mails obtained by the Globe show that Brown’s work on behalf of the financial sector did not stop when the law was passed. In the second stage, as regulators began the less publicly scrutinized task of writing rules amid heavy pressure from the banking sector, Brown urged the regulators to interpret the 3 percent rule broadly and to offer banks some leeway to invest in hedge funds and private equity funds.
It’s exceptionally telling that, during his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee to explain JPMorgan Chase’s growing billions in losses due to high-risk investments, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon suggested that a tougher Volcker Rule might have helped stem some of these gargantuan losses. Basically, Dimon corroborated that Republican Scott Brown has enabled banks to act like casinos with our money.
2) Republican Scott Brown: Jobs Crusader?
I’m sure you’ve heard Republican Scott Brown repeat the nickname he’s awarded himself.
I’m a jobs crusader.
Indeed, Brown’s claim of fighting for Massachusetts jobs is one of his central arguments for re-election. Unfortunately for Brown, it simply doesn’t square with his record.
Republican Scott Brown has joined with his right-wing colleagues in the Senate GOP minority to filibuster and kill, among many other bills, the American Jobs Act, the Rebuild America Jobs Act, and the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act. Those three bills alone represented more than an estimated 33,000 jobs for Massachusetts. That’s almost the capacity of Fenway Park! (Hmmm, maybe that’s why Brown wanted to boot the Red Sox out of Fenway.)
It’s a fairly tall tale for Republican Scott Brown to claim he’s some kind of “jobs crusader” while voting against tens of thousands of jobs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Take this misleading claim away from Brown, and what is he running on?
1) Republican Scott Brown Claims Singular Credit for the Entirety of the U.S. Senate’s Work
Nope, that header is not an exaggeration. Republican Scott Brown and his Green Monster-sized ego made the following boast:
The only reason that we’re getting things done is because I’m there.
Yup, according to Republican Scott Brown himself, the “only reason” the U.S. Senate accomplishes anything is that Brown is there making it happen.
Of course, that claim doesn’t square with the fact that Brown joins his right-wing Republican colleagues’ filibusters to kill measures with majority support over 75% of the time (and over 93% of the time before he had the political pressure of Elizabeth Warren’s Senate candidacy bearing down on him).
Further, it doesn’t square with headlines like:
· Boston Globe, 5/7/12, “In tight votes, Senator Brown often loyal to party”
· Springfield Republican, 3/29/12, “Scott Brown votes with Republicans against ending tax subsidies for oil industry”
· Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 5/8/12, “Sen. Brown votes against bill to extend low interest rate on student loans”
· Springfield Republican, 4/16/12, “Scott Brown votes with Senate Republicans against ‘Buffett rule‘”
· Talking Points Memo, 6/4/12, “Brown Tried To Weaken Wall Street Reform After It Passed”
· Examiner, 6/5/12, “Scott Brown is just another Republican as he votes against ‘Paycheck Fairness’”
· ThinkProgress, 5/7/12, “Study Shows ‘Independent’ Scott Brown Votes With GOP When It Counts”
What was it that Republican Scott Brown said before about matters like honesty and credibility? “When you run for high elected office, you have to pass a test, and that test is one of honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness, and truthfulness.” Well, as demonstrated by Brown’s own rhetoric and record, he undeniably fails to meet his own standards of “honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness, and truthfulness.”
Of course, these are just Republican Scott Brown’s top ten tall tales. There are plenty more. There’s his bit about how Big Oil doesn’t get tax giveaways, his numerous misleading statements about health care reform, his television ad riddled with misleading comments, and so on. You’re encouraged to share in the comments what you think is Republican Scott Brown’s tallest tale, especially if there’s one not mentioned above. Just don’t forget, if there is one distinction Republican Scott Brown can claim, it’s being The Great Pretender!