UPDATED 01-20-10: A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFO ON MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR SCOTT BROWN…
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 3:55 PM (My original post follows my update)
"It’s that arrogance that has the American people ready to pull their hair out to vote every Democrat out of here. This is not just about health care, it’s about the stimulus plan that isn’t working, it’s about the cap and trade bill, it’s about trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see. The American people want us to get our economy moving again because they continue to ask: Where are the jobs?"
"I believe it was Lexington and Concord in which a shot was fired around the world," he said. "Last night a shot was fired around this nation. A shot was fired saying no more business as usual in Washington, D.C. Stop this unsavory sausage-making process called health care reform, where special favors are dispensed to special people for special reasons in order to purchase votes."
McCain also addressed reports that Democratic leaders may ask the House to pass the Senate’s version of the health-care bill, keeping the Senate from having to take another vote.
"Now the rumors are they’ll jam this proposal through the House of Representatives and then bypass what has always been the normal legislative process," he said. "They should not do that! The American people have spoken! The people of Massachusetts have spoken for the rest of America. Stop this process!"
Tuesday’s upset Republican victory in Massachusetts may well have less to do with ideology and more to do with old-fashioned retail politics: Scott Brown was a charismatic candidate with a old truck, an intriguing narrative and a promise to shake every voter’s hand.
The Republican state senator who has claimed the seat long occupied by Democratic lion Edward M. Kennedy:
He is considered one of the more conservative members of the Democratic-led Massachusetts Senate, but he may be hard to pigeonhole in Washington. He supports abortion rights but opposes the procedure some call partial-birth abortion. He supported Massachusetts’s health-care reform in 2006, which resembles the U.S. Senate bill passed before Christmas. Yet he has pledged to give Republicans their 41st vote in the Senate to thwart the bill. Brown says it’s too costly and will interfere with what Massachusetts already has in place.
Brown opposes same-sex marriage, and one of his big political missteps occurred eight years ago, when he said it was "just not normal" for his Democratic predecessor in the state Senate, a lesbian, to have a baby with her partner. That comment was said to have knocked him off the short list as a potential gubernatorial running mate with Republican Jane Swift. Brown is a lieutenant colonel with the Massachusetts National Guard and a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He supported President Obama’s troop escalation in Afghanistan, but has never been deployed to a war zone.
‘A weird upbringing’
Brown, a practicing real estate lawyer, launched his successful electoral career in the early ’90s, and in the last 10 years he has served in the state legislature and Senate. He has long had a knack for attracting media attention. In 1998, running for state legislator, he pledged to walk, run or ride his bike to every house in the district.
A few years later, he and his wife, Gail Huff, an on-air reporter for WCVB in Boston and a former actress, sat for an "At Home With" interview with the Globe, during which the couple told of riding a tandem bike together in New Hampshire, and of her passion for bargain hunting at flea markets. They have two daughters, Ayla, the "Idol" contestant and Boston College basketball star, and Arianna, now a pre-med student at Syracuse University.
Brown has said his childhood was rough. He parents divorced when he was young, and he grew up in Wakefield, Mass., living at various times with an aunt and his grandmother. His parents, he has said, were divorced four times each. "I had a weird upbringing. . . . it wasn’t the most stable home environment," he once said.
More recently, in an emotional interview, he acknowledged getting arrested when he was 12 for shoplifting. "I was a jerk. I had some issues. You know, I was lost. . . . Mom was always working. . . . There was some violence in there where I would be sticking up for my mom and sisters. . . . One day I was out with some older kids. . . . I had a pair of farmer overalls, and I stuck some records in them. . . . I was walking out, and a guy caught me." He said a judge ordered him to write an essay on how his siblings would feel if he were in jail.
Voters have been drawn to Brown’s energetic demeanor and populist message of cutting taxes and reining in the federal government. They interact with him as if he were an old friend trying to get them out of a financial jam. Brown’s GMC truck, with nearly 200,000 miles on the odometer, became the symbol of his regular-guy campaign, but experts say he also ran a smart net-roots effort, mobilizing conservative activists in the same way President Obama energized liberals in 2008.
Last week, he managed to raise more than $1 million in a one-day online "money bomb." He also attracted the support of the fiscally conservative grass-roots Tea Party movement, which rails against big government.
Still, it’s the truck that hit a sore spot with President Obama, who dismissively told Massachusetts crowds Sunday, "Anyone can own a truck."
Perhaps — but the "Daily Show’s" Jon Stewart loved it. Offering a harbinger of what Brown can expect when he gets to Washington, this comedian quipped this week: "The Kennedy legacy goes down to a naked guy who owns a truck."