The Brown effect
He said he wanted to be “a Brown Republican,” but what does that mean? Judging from his voting record from the time he took office in February until June 15, Scott Brown is difficult to pigeon-hole. He is as likely to throw his lot in with Democrats as with Republicans, but most often he seems to be a voting soul mate of the other two moderate Republican US senators from New England—Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine.
Of the 169 rollcall votes he has cast between taking office in February and June 15, Brown was recorded as yes 95 times and no 74 times. He sided with the Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, 38 percent of the time. He voted with his political mentor, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, 81 percent of the time. It was Sen. Collins whom he sided with most often, voting with her 87 percent of the time.
A closer look, though, shows when Brown votes yes, he’s more likely to position himself with the Democrats than party-line Republicans. While he still teamed with Collins the most, with both voting yes on the same bills 94 percent of the time, he votes yes with Reid 56 percent of the time while only 31 percent with McCain. Among the key votes where he sided with Democrats were the jobs bill in March, the bill to regulate Wall Street, and the nominations of a Treasury undersecretary, a District of Columbia associate justice, and an assistant attorney general, all of which were opposed by McCain and the Republican leadership.
And for those who thought they sent the 41st GOP senator to Washington to regularly uphold Republican filibusters and derail the Democratic agenda, you’re in for some disappointment. Brown took part in 13 cloture votes, the parliamentary term to close off debate and end a filibuster. Of those roll calls, Brown cast his lot with the Democrats eight times while voting to block bills or appointments by filibuster five times.
what can brown do for you?
The Massachusetts senator has stayed close to Washington in his first few months in office, but he’s done some campaigning for fellow Republicans around the nation. He’s also taken one official government business trip abroad to Pakistan, Dubai, and Afghanistan, where he met with President Hamid Karzai.
at homeIn 2008, Massachusetts had the dubious distinction of being the state with the lowest percentage of contested legislative races in the nation. But Scott Brown’s victory in the special election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy seems to have reenergized the Grand Old Party in Massachusetts. Republicans have nearly tripled the number of races where they are running for state Senate and more than doubled the number in the House. There are even contested races in the GOP primaries themselves. In 2008, there was just one contested Republican primary for the 160 seats in the House and none in the Senate. This year, there are 15 contested Republican primaries in the House and six in the Senate.