The battle between Senator Scott Brown and progressive challenger Elizabeth Warren has spilled over the Massachusetts border into Rhode Island, and those who have missed the volley of advertisements are either altogether abstaining from TV or hopelessly engrossed in what happens next to Honey Boo Boo.
Those in the latter group have probably stumbled upon this article by mistake and may wish to return to searching for video footage of pocket sized canines dressed as famous seventies sit-com characters. For the rest, however, the pro and anti candidate propaganda has become as familiar as it is nuclear in nature.
But in the spirit of fairness, Elizabeth Warren’s media blast to her political universe is purely self-defense. Senator Scott Brown, along with his super PAC America 360, has launched a campaign of misinformation, misdirection, racism and lies. And the sad part is, to an unfortunate extent, it is working. They are not dubbed “low information voters” for nothing.
He has drawn attention to her Native American heritage. This is something Mrs. Warren was informed of by family members as a child and grew up believing to be true. It may have been a family tie of which she held some pride. Or, it may have been a legend that was misconstrued among the oral history passed between generations, as is the case in many families. Who knows? Who cares? This much, however, is guaranteed: to be Native American has certainly not been advantageous for Native Americans since the first Europeans decided to claim this land as their own. So, for Brown to allege that Warren has achieved her success due to her claiming a small percentage Native American heritage is merely fueling distrust and racism. It has even led to such bigoted name calling as “Little Liarwatha,” and “Granny Pocahontas.”
If that is not enough to make one’s blood boil, Brown has accused Warren of cheating victims of asbestosis and their families out of settlement money during her time as an attorney with Travelers Insurance and profiting from their misfortune. The slanderous statements are a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. In fact, Mrs. Warren fought for the victims and their families and set aside a half-billion dollar trust to compensate the workers affected by the asbestos, both present and future. True, she earned wages for her legal services rendered as most working people do. But it was only after she was no longer employed by the insurance company responsible for the case that Travelers weaseled out of payment of the trust. Mrs. Warren no longer had any say in the matter. Furthermore, it is suspected that, upon separation with her former employer, she signed a confidentiality agreement forbidding her from commenting on this or any other legal matters.
Are Brown’s ads only slamming Mrs. Warren? Is he taking any measures to promote himself? One might think that, in a political climate where likeability is often more important that facts, how is Senator Brown attempting to win the hearts of his constituents? Keep in mind, the Massachusetts political universe is deeply and sincerely Democratic and the seat currently held by Senator Brown was previously occupied by the beloved and quintessentially Democratic, Ted Kennedy.
In fact, Brown has been distancing himself from certain political personality traits associated with the Republican party. His television ads show him as being just a regular working guy as a means by which to paint his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, as elitist and out of touch with working class people. He is seen driving a truck and wearing plaid and eating a hot dog at a farmers market. Personal experience has confirmed that, in fact, many voters actually think he is running as an independent.
One of Brown’s television spot shows his support of women, a voting demographic that encompasses a large percentage of the registered independent voters in Massachusetts. The advertisement is composed of a montage of women extolling Brown’s virtues as a strong supporter of women’s rights.
Scott Brown is pro-choice, and he supports a woman’s right to choose. I like that Scott Brown is independent, he really thinks for himself. His record shows that he supports women, he supports families. When my daughters grow up, I want to make sure that they have good jobs with equal pay, and I know Scott Brown will fight for that. I support Scott Brown because I know he wants to get our economy moving forward again. I’m a mom, I have a family, and I know that Scott Brown will fight hard for families.
This is a different Scott Brown from the Senator we have seen before. In fact, his record shows that many of these statements are either misleading, coded or just plain false. The Senator voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, in spite of the ad’s promise to “fight for” equal pay. He was a co-sponsor of several bills related to ant-choice positions, including the Woman’s Right To Know Act, which would force a woman to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion and view pictures and literature about the fetus. Senator Brown was in favor of the Blunt Amendment, designed to allow employers and insurers to deny women any health coverage they might find morally distasteful. Furthermore, Brown has also voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. And, while it might not be in direct relation to women’s issues, the repeated use of phrasing pertaining to “families” suggests both strong anti-choice and anti-marriage equality sentiments.
Elizabeth Warren makes no secret of her support of Unions and growing the middle class, not from the top-down as proposed by supply-side economics, formerly known as “trickle-down” economics. She believes in a level playing field and government providing a strong safety-net role in economic regulation to promote fairness and job-development. Warren sees affordable education as a real and necessary foundation to growing a stable workforce. She was the architect of the Consumer Protection Act that has led to punishment for predatory banking and credit card practices.
Scott Brown, on the other hand, was called “Wall Street’s favorite congressman” by Forbes Magazine. Perhaps it was because during the December, 2010 debate on terms for extending the Bush tax cuts, Brown voted against an amendment to keep the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, but end them for people making over $1 million a year. Or maybe it had something to do with the May, 2011, vote to block a bill that would reduce the federal deficit by closing special tax loopholes that benefit oil and gas companies. This specific measure was designed to target only the world’s five biggest oil companies, not small producers, and could have reduced the deficit by nearly $21 billion over ten years.
What has he done for his home state of Massachusetts? Brown voted against a bill to keep 2,400 Massachusetts seniors from losing in-home care and assistance with basic living activities, and protect vulnerable children.He voted for a bill cutting Pell Grants for approximately135,000 Massachusetts students and for budget cuts that would have cost Massachusetts 17,000 jobs and job training for 27,000 residents.
Perhaps Brown is moderate by Tea Party or radical Republican standards. One probably will not catch him saying that pregnancy occurring as a result of rape are is God’s will or referring to Mrs. Warren as acting unladylike. But make no mistake, Scott Brown is a GOP man through and through and when it comes to the decisions that will define the plot of this nation’s drama, Brown will have no qualms about playing the protagonist that leads the rising action to the right, to the one percent and to a tragic outcome for the dwindling working class whom he sees fit to do nothing but fill the cheap seats.