Last week, Republican Scott Brown essentially declared that he can’t run for re-election on his real record, so all he has to offer the people of Massachusetts is divisive mudslinging.
Republican Scott Brown’s paid media effort for the week focused on two mudslinging television ads attacking his opponent’s heritage. But Brown achieved far more earned media when his staff was videotaped making “tomahawk chop” gestures and “war whoop” noises mocking Native Americans. The behavior was deemed racist by Cherokee leaders and local (Eire Pub-going) Native Americans, but Brown didn’t apologize. He only offered a tepid rebuke without consequences – much like when he “addressed” the childish behavior of his right-hand man Eric Fehrnstrom.
The tepid response from Republican Scott Brown was even further watered down when additional video came to light that, at a Republican gathering over the summer, Brown nodded along as attendees made similar “war whoop” noises. Additionally, the sheer negativity of Brown’s campaign was amplified as right-wing attack dogs came to Brown’s aid. Karl Rove has infected Massachusetts with misleading robocalls while Grover Norquist has promised that mailers attacking Democrat Elizabeth Warren are on the way. (To top it off, Brown has done himself no favors when the scoreboard reads: 30 Washington D.C. fundraisers, Zero open town hall forums.) The lack of subtlety in Brown’s divisive mudslinging was well captured in yet another fantastic political cartoon from Dan Wasserman:
Republican Scott Brown’s debunked attacks on his opponent’s work history also managed to blow up in his face. Though Brown attacked Democrat Elizabeth Warren for an old professional relationship with Travelers Insurance, we were reminded that Brown has taken about 22 times as much in campaign contributions from Big Insurance (including a $9,000 donation from Travelers’ PAC) than Elizabeth Warren has, with the totals being $755,740 for Brown to just $34,475 for Warren. Also, Brown’s own professional history has begun to come under scrutiny. While Brown himself refuses to release the names of all of his past corporate clients (despite making that very demand of Warren), his particular work history as a real estate lawyer raised the question: “Did Scott Brown facilitate predatory loans?” Don’t hold your breath on an answer from Brown.
Suffice it to say, Republican Scott Brown’s relentless mudslinging did not go unnoticed. ProgressMass catalogued numerous media outlets likening Brown’s divisive attacks to the right-wing “birther” movement. In “Senator Scott Brown’s illusion fades,” Brian McGrory labeled Brown a “frat house bully.” In “Scott Brown doesn’t have much to offer,” Yvonne Abraham asks and answers: “Isn’t our sitting US senator better than this? Nah.” In “Elizabeth Warren is no friend of big business,” Steven Syre reminds us:
Brown quickly became a favorite of big financial companies after his election, and the senator clearly advocated for some of their interests in Washington. Last week, The New York Times detailed how Brown and his staff had lobbied the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve behind the scenes to chip away at the Volcker Rule, intended to restrict banks from making risky financial bets and investing in hedge funds.
Also receiving greater attention last week was Republican Scott Brown’s ignorant insistence during the first debate that he could fully determine people’s ethnic and racial background simply by looking at them. Many people – people who may not look like the stereotype of a Native American that lives in Brown’s imagination – are sharing their stories on the topic.
Speaking of Republican Scott Brown earning unwanted attention, yet again, Massachusetts residents from all corners of the Commonwealth shared their disappointments with Brown via letters to the editor of their local newspapers. Highlighting Brown’s disappointing record on women’s issues – like his opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act and his co-sponsorship of the anti-woman Blunt Amendment – were letters to the Newburyport Daily News, the MetroWest Daily News, the Needham Times, and the Boston Globe. Highlighting Brown’s ignorance and insensitivity as he attacks his opponent’s heritage were letters to the Gloucester Times, the Cape Cod Times, and the Boston Globe. Comparing Brown’s mudslinging in the first debate with his opponent’s positive, issue-based approach were letters to the Cape Cod Times and the Washington Post. Letters to the MetroWest Daily News and the Boston Globe reminded us that support for Republican Scott Brown equals support for a Republican-majority U.S. Senate and a Tea Party-style right-wing agenda. One letter to the Taunton Daily Gazette simply declared, “Scott Brown is no Ted Kennedy.” And for the third week in a row, Go Local Worcester declares that Democrat Elizabeth Warren is “Hot” and Republican Scott Brown is “Not.”
Will Eric Fehrnstrom be able to turn things around for Republican Scott Brown in tonight’s debate and beyond? Will Brown be able to avoid more “uh-oh moments?” Stay tuned for the next “Weekly Scott Brown-d Up” to find out.