The act of electing an “independent Republican” to represent Massachusetts in the United State Senate two years ago was, in some ways, a worthwhile exercise. Senator Scott Brown sometimes rejects the far-right majority that has become the brain trust and base of the Republican party. And he satisfies a certain instinct within our electorate to add variety to the range of political perspectives we have in our arsenal.
But in a Republican party that no longer boasts even the modest makings of a moderate wing, Brown has been — and, unfortunately, will remain—a follower, an afterthought, an outlier with little sway in the national debate moving forward. Moderate Republicans have been driven from the ranks by Tea Partiers and other hard-liners whose allegiances to far-right ideologues (see Grover Norquist and his no-taxes pledge) trump any reasoned attempt at compromise.
Massachusetts expects more from its two delegates to the US Senate. It is time for us to send a clear message about what direction we want from our leaders in the nation’s capital.
Simply put, Scott Brown is not the best choice in front of us to send back to the US Senate for the next six years. We need to send President Obama a reliable, full-throated partner to fight for middle-class Americans and against the erosion of civil liberties targeted by the mainstream of Brown’s party.
The Reporter therefore strongly endorses Elizabeth Warren, a passionate, informed, and thoughtful voice for consumers, workers and average Americans who deserve better from policy makers in Washington.
Warren has been relentlessly badgered by Brown and his supporters for her claims to Native American ancestry— claims that neither Warren nor Brown can prove, but that are clearly within her purview to assert. While there is no problem with raising such a “character” issue, in magnifying this line of questioning to the degree that he has, Brown has shown himself to be petty and smaller in stature than we’ve come to expect from our US senators. We’ve come to believe that Brown took this tack because he’s not up to beating Warren on the issues in this election.
Warren’s track record of challenging powerful financial institutions — as evidenced in her efforts to launch a consumer protection agency — is one that will serve her well in Washington. We want our US senator to have the capacity and fortitude to stand up to powerful interests on both sides of the partisan and class divide. We feel that Warren, who has been both a Democrat and Republican (until 1993), is someone who can empathize with a wide range of interests.
Most importantly, we want a US senator who will work closely with the Obama White House to deliver meaningful results in the form of policy and legislation. It’s not enough to dispatch a delegate to take symbolic votes to project the mirage of a Washington where Republicans and Democrats collaborate in any meaningful way— and where a presumed moderate from the GOP can be a power broker. As nice as that sounds, that Washington does not exist today.
The stakes are too high on real issues that we in Dorchester want tackled but have, to our frustration, seen impeded, mainly by the Republican-led House in Congress: Jobs bills scuttled to obstruct the president’s economic agenda; low-level judicial appointments blocked by filibuster; and civil liberties threatened by far-right ideologues who want to strip gay people and women of hard-earned gains. Time and again, Brown presents himself as an independent who can somehow be an arbiter in these matters. But, in reality, he’s a Republican whose ultimate allegiance is to a national party hierarchy that in recent years has only obstructed, not led.
We want a US Senator who will take the lead on large policy questions, be a forceful voice for a progressive agenda focused on sustained job growth, energy independence with a focus on clean power sources, an enlightened national security, and the extension of civil rights to all Americans.
Scott Brown doesn’t fit that job description very well.
Elizabeth Warren is the right choice to represent our interests in the US Senate. We encourage our neighbors to join us in casting a vote for her on Tuesday.
-Bill Forry and Ed Forry