Friday, September 21, 2012

Warren Almost Blanks Brown


Elizabeth Warren blew one topic in last night's debate, a couple of times. As a progressive sort and long-term UU, I tend to be upfront about my choices' shortcomings. (Clink the link in the lead sentence to watch the whole hour and decide for yourself.)

Sen. Scott Brown hit her twice on the double factoid punch of an asbestos case. She punked out and did not answer his charge. Specifically, he said she made hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees representing an insurance giant that successfully limited victim compensation.

Instead of briefly clarifying, she did what Brown spent the hour playing. She fell back on claims that she was a long-term advocate for ordinary, middle-class people.

There are three more debates. You can be sure Brown tastes blood on this. He'll regurgitate it and she has to be honest and strong in response.

Much of the rest of the hour was a recursive mirror on this, with Brown sidestepping virtually everything. He has an abyssal voting record that puts the lie to all his big claims.

Moreover, his primary alleged proof of his virtues come via heavily pro-Republican, anti-Obama, anti-health reform act groups. He cites the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Both are rife with Tea Party sorts and both donate heavily to right-wing candidates. That they call themselves nonpartisan is absurd on its face.

Warren challenged Brown repeatedly on his specific votes. Repeatedly, he either did not answer the question, merely brought in extraneous, emotionally based comments, or he gainsaid her challenge, with no evidence or logic. When we all know and can easily verify that the Blunt Amendment he cosponsored and pushed would have given any employer and any insurance company carte blanche to deny coverage for any health benefit, including birth control, his saying it was only for Catholic institutions (he even had the nerve twice to say just like Ted Kennedy), it was a lie and an insult to voters.

Perhaps he'll get his attitude straight by the debate at UMASS/Lowell, Monday, Oct. 1st. This time he surely irritated the devil out of voters, particularly women. He played the smirking, condescending frat boy non-stop, trying to trivialize someone with the command of facts and policy (as well as likely 30 IQ points on him). He continued to call her Professor, patronizingly as he has throughout the campaign.

He in a move he seemed to view as clever, but most viewers likely considered bullying and kind of stupid, he opened by repeatedly alleging Warren took minority spots at her schools by ticking a box that she was part Native American on applications. That's crap and even he knows it.

Twice she iterated 1) that's what her parents always told her (I've never asked my mother or grandparents to prove any genealogy statements they made), and 2) the hiring committee heads at places like Harvard have made it plain they had no idea that this box was checked in any materials they got before deciding.

Rather than cut his losses, he kept returning to a demand that she release all of her personnel records. Again absurd, and as a lawyer, even a not too bright a lawyer, he knows that. This is a wispy smoke screen seemingly to avoid discussing his votes.

He claimed ownership of a wife and daughter several times, hiding behind them as though that proved he supported women's rights. He cited his self-lore of standing up for his mother against abusive stepfathers when he was 6 and a teen. He said repeatedly that he was pro-choice as though that covered his numerous votes against bills to give women equality in pay and elsewhere.

In short, while he seemed very impressed with himself, he was obnoxious. Those who catch the debate though will be left wondering why he couldn't answer a single challenge. Warren failed once; I lost track of the number of times he did.

Instead, he fell back on this or that quote from some group or newspaper saying he was more bipartisan than most senators. Those are not credentials nor are they proof of anything at all.

This could have been a good shot for Brown. I suspect only his rabid supporters, those who don't want a progressive, a Democrat, a woman in the office, think he did well.



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