Sen. Scott Brown is finally willing to gamble. He's betting that running from a debate with Granny Warren will let him hold his seat.
By any objective measure, this is pure cowardice, flavored only with his regular voter manipulation.
From the moment he won the special election for the seat nearly three years ago, Brown has played dishonest and dishonorable games with constituents. First, he announced with every vote that he was the extra vote Republican Senators would need to block health reform or this or that major bill. In other words, "Look at me kids. I'm king of the mountain!"
When he realized after a little over year that he would have to win a full term, he got more clever. He choreographed a Congressional dance, in barn jacket or suit instead of pink tutu. The conceit would be and has remained that he would put his hand over the (R) next to his name. He'd pretend to be independent, voting on each bill's substance and effect instead of political party support.
Not surprisingly, wingers have joined in the fantasy with him. They like his bipartisan ballet. You have to be pretty craven or alas dull witted to buy into this. Search on the net to see thousands of links debunking this pretense. ProgressMass offers a succinct PDF file of the difference in his rhetoric v. reality as well.
The undeniable (except by Brown) facts are that he figures he's gamed the system. By picking bills where his vote makes no difference, he has felt safe in the past year plus in voting against the obstructionist Republicans in the Senate. Thus, his party overlords still get what they want and he tallies up more proof of what he alleges is bipartisanship and independence.
He even goes over the line many times with this ploy. In debates with Elizabeth Warren, he said repeatedly that his or that bill was a bipartisan rejection or passage. He never noted that it would be only a few of the most conservative Dems who'd join his side. Bipartisan? Like hell!
So to the debate that should have happened this week, he's flat out chicken. His website has a tricksy statement in which he claims:
No Stinkin' Debate
- he couldn't find any time from "a long-planned bus tour" instate to prepare for and participate in a debate
- he's "pleased to have participated" in three debates, and
- super-cheap shot, Warren didn't agree to two early-campaign events, neglecting to mention that they were winger-talk-radio ambushes and nothing like debates
So he's counting on low-info and easily deluded voters. He seems to have, to allude to cliché, tiny 'nads.
He's advanced his deceptive, dishonorable and dishonest positions. Confronted by the slight, 60-something grandmother and legal expert with real accomplishments, he has fared poorly. He never addressed his multiple awful votes and has stuck in ads and at the podium to personal attacks.
Brown doesn't seem all that bright, particularly in contrast to Warren. His lack of courage and other standard virtues also should put him way down anyone's voting list.
Yet it comes down to whether his sleazy attempts at being clever are enough. The polls have been surprisingly close. I'm betting Brown coasted through a lot of school and personal interactions with cleverness instead of reasoning and knowledge.
This election will test the limits of that kind of shallowness on a larger stage. Brown is dancing as best he can for one more week.