Sunday, September 23, 2012

Warren vs. Brown Debate

As usual, I apologize for weighing in so late. With that out of the way, I felt the debate was more or less a tie. Brown did better than expected, GW style (he got big points for stringing together complete sentences) and Warren was OK. You could tell she was a bit nervous, that this was new terrain for her, but she did a good job at handling Brown's attack lines (Native American crap, she wants to raise taxes canard, etc.).

However, it was frustrating to see her miss some golden opportunities. For example, she never mentioned that Brown was one of the top receivers of hedge fund and financial services money -- this despite the fact he was elected during the Tea Party furor with many Republican voters expecting him to change the way things are done in DC. Instead he's been accepting big bucks from the Wall Street honchos just like every other politician that's come before him. Just another hack attempting to convince voters he's different.

Also, Warren repeated many of her points several times, but one point she should've made earlier in the debate: tying Brown with the letter "R". And she should've then pounded that point home repeatedly for the rest of the hour.

The fact is Brown is fairly moderate for a modern-day Republican -- which granted is not saying much given how far to the right the GOP has drifted over the last twenty years. But because his record is not right-wing to the extreme, it's more difficult for Warren to lay out black-and-white differences between the two for voters to appreciate.

However, by starkly aligning Brown with the many kooks in his party, and doing so many times, Warren would've inflicted serious and lasting damage, especially when you consider a state like Massachusetts, where even Republican voters tend to favor non-crazy, more moderate candidates. When Warren made the statement, that by voting for Brown could very well tilt the balance of power in the Senate and thus put the likes of Senator Inhofe in charge of key committees, you could almost see Scott Brown wince in pain. He quickly retorted that she was running against him and not Inhofe, but you could tell then that she drew blood and he was running scared. I think she may have repeated this line of attack one more time, but they then moved on and it was already fairly late in the debate. Too bad and lucky for Brown.

In the next debate, she'll do better. "The Professor" will be more at ease, the Native American stuff is played out, and my hope is she'll do more of what I wrote about above. She should repeat the line that Brown = "R" = possible 51+ Republican Senators, and she should repeat it many times and even expand on it. Everything is at stake with this potential power shift in the Senate. If the Republicans gain control, the list is endless as to what will be affected: the environment, future Supreme Court nominees, etc., and this fact will resonate with all voters in Massachusetts.

Yes, Scott Brown is nowhere near as unhinged as the rest in his party, however that's not the point when the balance of power in the Senate is hanging so precariously. Brown wants this election to be about him alone, but it's not. What truly matters is "R" vs. "D" and unfortunately for Brown he is an "R", nuff said.

I do not mean to say that Warren isn't a superior candidate and that we should vote for her strictly by default against her Republican opponent. But again, no matter what you feel about Brown personally or his record, one can't vote for him due to guilt by association. To vote for him is to increase the likelihood of the lunatics running the asylum come the new year.

Like Warren said at one point in the debate, Brown may not like the answer, but it is what it is. Sorry Scott, but it's your bat-sh*t crazy party, embrace it or leave it.

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