There are so many political ads from Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren on TV these days that by the time September ends we’ll all be missing the commercials with the bathtubs and the beautiful meadow. Even then, however, there will still be six weeks to go, and it will doubtless get only worse. The one thing for which we can be somewhat “grateful” is that the Democratic Party takes Massachusetts voters so much for granted that they are not running Obama ads here. What a small blessing but big reminder of a political reality – this is a One-Party State, and for too many of us, our votes have had no meaning, and even less value.
Despite all the ads trying to humanize her, what is it about Elizabeth Warren that is so disconcerting for so many? A few quick thoughts:
- Perhaps it’s just that Ms. Warren is Washington’s designated candidate for Massachusetts, not the candidate of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Even Republicans, suffering from the Stockholm political syndrome for sixty years, prefer certifiable Massachusetts Democrats to raise their taxes and rationalize their nonsense.
- Perhaps it’s because the White House believed that any Democrat, however outrageous, would win in Massachusetts just by showing up. Such is the Bay State’s dubious, but well earned, National reputation. Besides, running a candidate even more radical than Obama makes him look like a moderate. After all, it was the ranting Warren who was the first to declaim that if a business owner conceived an idea, put together a business plan, financed their loan, assumed the risk, opened their door, created some jobs, delivered their product, and made a profit, “Good for you! “… but you (paraphrasing) didn’t build it without the aid of government? Whoa Lizzie, how government-centered of you!
- Or perhaps it’s just that she just always appears awkward and uneasy, her voice insincere and pandering and condescending, lecturing, not relating, Is it possible that for all her intelligence and effort, Warren is the female Romney, or is that too unfair to Mitt?
These are general observations, but Ms. Warren’s ads present other curiosities. Do her messages reflect her true conviction, or expose her confliction with the real world? Some examples:
- Warren’s ads typically talk about playing by the rules. Awesome … until you remember that the Feds decided 50 years ago that the “rules” for some groups are legally different from others, to level the so-called playing field. So, does it count as playing by the rules when you self select your entry into a special group based on an unsubstantiated tale of two cheekbones? You’ve got to admit that it takes a certain amount of chutzpah for her to even raise the issue of playing by the rules. But character and integrity matter – on that there can be no confliction among voters, even in Massachusetts.
- Another ad addresses students who are drowning in student loans. But why no reasons why college tuitions are defying gravity by rising so fast and so high? One place to start is the cost structure, like her $350K+ salary for teaching a single course. Who does she think she is, a Republican executive? Another might be that colleges willingly take tuition money, inflate grades, keep their profit center-students enrolled, allow them to major in studies that have limited financial possibilities, and take no accountability for the return on the educational investment. Shouldn’t she instead be exposing the cost structures that are making college unaffordable, the loans unpayable, and its value increasingly questionable? Shouldn’t she be offering substantive improvement recommendations, rather than simply demand that better rates for subsidized student loans be “the solution” vs. a perpetuation of the problem? Or, is there just that liberal conflict of interest that blinds her to the cost side of the equation?
- Or, how about the ads that tell of her strong conviction to protect the little guy from a system that is rigged against them? They sound great, until you read how she overcame her personal confliction when buying and flipping foreclosed homes with family members, or defending Travelers Insurance Company against the victims of asbestos claims. So much for the little guy. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with using your talent to make money and be successful, but isn’t that what the Republicans are saying?
- And, of course, she is the fighter with conviction in her ad with the boxing trainer, whose diction makes Sarah Palin’s, speech sound like the King’s English. Can we even imagine for a minute seeing Ms. Warren all buddy-buddy with someone like him while strolling around Harvard Yard, or sipping a soy latte at Starbucks with the literati and the other Cambridge swells? Talk about presenting yourself as something you obviously are not!
And yet, here we are. Given our past election history, not surprisingly four polls this week gave Warren a lead over Senator Brown. Abraham Lincoln was obviously wrong. Perhaps you actually can fool all of the people all of the time – at least enough of them – to win an election – as long as it’s in Massachusetts.
But here’s the thing, Congress is broken and the Country is bankrupt. The people are demanding an end of hyper-partisanship and a return to civility, common sense, communication, and compromised solutions. In Senator Brown we have the very personification of the Senator we say is needed. He is practical, not ideological. He plays well in the Congressional sandbox. Were there 50 other Senators similarly disposed, government could work again. No, you might not get every vote that you wanted from government, but you could be confident that you won’t get screwed in the process either.
What would a Senator Warren add to the conversation to bring about bi-partisanship? Would she advance the conversation or just harden the division?
Frankly, if Senator Brown is not re-elected, the prospect of any Republican getting elected to a Statewide office in Massachusetts is virtually zero, and all the calls for greater bi-partisanship in Washington, and better political balance on Beacon Hill, are merely empty words. Is that what is in the best interest of Massachusetts and America?
There are only about 12% registered Republicans in Massachusetts, many of whom have been disappointed that Senator Brown has been too independent and not more conservative. This means his re-election primarily comes down to the votes of Unenrolled voters and disaffected Democrats. In previous essays I asked if Unenrolled voters were noble, naïve or not interested. What I heard is that these independent voters avoid affiliation with a Party so they can vote for the “best” candidate.
It’s time put this to the test.
Let’s give credit where it’s due. Candidate Scott Brown said he would be an independent voice. He has delivered. He is the best candidate for Massachusetts and America in this race.
As always, I look forward to your comments, especially those from unenrolled voters.