You may have noticed a pattern with our junior Senator. It goes something like this:
- As a State Senator, vote for something that is uncontroversial at the time. (eg. MA’s health care reform, aka Romneycare).
- As a candidate and US Senator, fulminate against and threaten a similar federal measure. (eg Obamacare)
- The measure having passed over your objections, then attempt to take advantage of its provisions — all the while still professing how much you hate the damn thing. (eg. Getting Ayla on the family health care plan)
Well there’s another one. Here’s a case where Scott Brown
- protested that the stimulus “didn’t create one new job” (a contention rated “Pants On Fire”);
- tried to kill funding for a part of it;
- then requested said stimulus money on the basis that it would be good for the economy and create jobs.
As background, one needs to know that there are many parts of central and western MA where folks are still using dial-up internet — where broadband internet of any kind is quite tough to come by. This Is Kind Of A Big Deal, and a major obstacle to economic development, education, you name it. You can well imagine.
So in 2008 as a State Senator, Scott Brown voted for $40 million in state investment in broadband access. It passed 37-0. Uncontroversial, you might say.
And when the 2009 Federal stimulus bill was passed, that included $7 billion for rural broadband. But March 3, 2010, Brown files an amendment that would rescind all "unobligated" stimulus funds, including the funds for western Massachusetts broadband expansion, which had not yet been granted. That would include, at that point, broadband money for Massachusetts.
And yet, having failed to gut this item from the stimulus — Brown then sends a letter (pdf) to the feds asking for broadband money for MA, talking up its ability to help the local economy:
“Broadband coverage is essential to the economic wellbeing [sic] and recovery of western Massachusetts, as many of our citizens telecommute and have home-based businesses. For any small business in the region, staying connected is critical to remaining competitive in the increasingly global economy.”
“Broadband coverage is also crucial in bringing together educators and students at our community colleges in order to prepare our next generation of entrepreneurs and job creators.”
Well isn’t that just the damndest thing! Looks like he needed federal spending from the stimulus to get something done that was “essential to the economic wellbeing” of the Commonwealth! You don’t say!
Brown’s big theme, his entire raison d’etre, is that we need to cut spending and “get our fiscal house in order” before we invest in the things that are beneficial for ordinary people. And he was perfectly willing, even eager, to sell the folks of central and western Massachusetts down the river to keep in step with Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Neo-Hooverists in the GOP. And then he wanted the money, because he doesn’t actually believe the things he says about the value of austerity and belt-tightening and how government is useless at creating jobs and economic opportunity.
Central Massachusetts was one of Brown’s strongest areas in the 2010 special. Too bad he didn’t return the favor for those folks.
Maybe someone can pose a question to him about this at Tuesday’s debate — if it’s not called on account of hurricane.