“Why Would Anyone in Massachusetts Vote for Scott Brown?”


I’m gonna outsource the sercon (serious, constructive) explanation to a professional, namely, David Bernstein at Boston’s Phoenix:

Now that summer’s over and the sprint is on to the November 6 election, polls and most close observers agree on where the race stands: each candidate has a solid 45 percent of the vote tucked away, and they pretty much cancel each other out. Brown has a slight lead, but that should be negated by Warren’s expected turnout advantage.

This leaves the race in the hands of the middle 10 percent, or some 300,000 persuadable voters statewide.

Who are those 10 percent? Put simply: they like Brown, but they hate the GOP. They plan overwhelmingly to vote for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney — by a six-to-one margin, according to a recent poll from Kimball Political Consulting. And yet people close to the Brown campaign, and a lot of others, believe that in the Senate race, people will ultimately vote the person, not the party.

Frankly, most Democratic insiders used to think so, too. That’s why, even with the expected outpouring of Democratic voters for the presidential election, the state’s A-list Democrats, including all of its US House members, statewide and county officeholders, and state senators, declined to enter the race.

But when Warren jumped in, and immediately shot up in the polls and raised unthinkable sums from progressives nationwide, expectations skyrocketed…

My own version on this divide: Our Commonwealth is politically overweighted with those commentor Davis X. Machina astutely refers to as “American Poujadists” — proud self-proclaimed truck-drivin’, barn-coat-wearin’ blue-collar guys convinced that Haaah-vad professors have conspired to steal all the cushy guvmint jobs for their affirmative-action cronies. If you’ve ever read Dennis Lehane or George V. Higgins, be assured that their characters are fictional only in that a readable narrative requires a degree of logic and coherence the actual voting templates are unlikely to muster.

Goal Thermometer

63 replies
  1. 1
    gussie says:

    I’d feel more comfortable saying ‘motherfucker’ in front of Brown than Warren, and that’s all I need to know.

  2. 2
    Violet says:

    Saw over on GOS that Richard Trumka did another speech, akin to the racism one he gave in 2008, that not voting for Warren because she’s female and voting for Brown because he seems like a guy you’d have a beer with was ridiculous.

  3. 3
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    In before the inevitable “Obama sold her out” post.

  4. 4
    Violet says:

    Found the link. Here’s a quote from the speech:

    Listen to me closely. I’ve said before that there are dozens of good reasons to vote for Barack Obama and one bad reason not to—and that’s because he’s black. Now hear me about Elizabeth Warren. There may be dozens of reasons for us to vote for her, but it’s crazy not to vote for her because she’s a woman, or because she’s a college professor or for any other superficial reason.
    The other bad reason to vote against her is because Scott Brown seems like the guy some of you supported years ago who served in the State Senate. Let me be perfectly frank with you– the Scott Brown you know is not the Scott Brown who’s serving in Washington today. The new Scott Brown votes every time with the 1 percent and the Tea Party. …
    Do we want a buddy who will pat us on the back? Who wears a Bruins jersey with the boys? Or a leader who will fight for our right to form unions and bargain for a better life?

    Love Trumka.

  5. 5
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Why Would Anyone in Massachusetts Vote for Scott Brown?

    Massachusetts is chock full of racist, sexist assholes, who vote for corrupt politicians who hand out favors and/or money directly. How the state got a liberal reputation is beyond me.

  6. 6
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Brown went up with a really ugly TV ad today. Really ugly. I wonder if that will hurt him.

    Warren’s TV ad with that gym-owning guy from Lowell is great, because people need to hear a guy who sounds like that supporting her. I hope it’s enough.

  7. 7
    Geoduck says:

    So.. Scott Brown is actually smart enough to hand out favors and money?

  8. 8
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    How the state got a liberal reputation is beyond me.

    “Don’t blame Mass, we voted for McGovern” — back in 1972. Been riding on that ever since.

  9. 9
    ChrisNYC says:

    The way she talked about this in the debate was just right. So few of them do it but — start with what really happened, for pete’s sake. There was a great sort of normal person vibe — very slightly embarrassed, very slightly exhausted but sort of like, “You know, Scott sue me. This is the story I grew up with.” I found it pretty riveting at the debate, no kidding.

  10. 10
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Ted Kennedy, I guess.

    There’s not a single state in the union that doesn’t have its share of assholes, who occasionally ride the wave enough to get one of their own into office. Hell, even New York City elected Rudy Giuliani twice and Bloomberg after him. The dreaded Upstate can’t be blamed for that one.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Brown’s nice-guy persona was one of his strengths. If he’s mean to that nice Elizabeth Warren, that’s not going to help him. She just needs to stay cool and let him hurt himself with that stuff.

    A nice guy might be able to hide that he votes with wingnuts. An asshole guy will have his record inspected a bit more closely.

  12. 12
    Crashman says:

    I heard today that Warren made a stop at the Watertown fair on Saturday. Wish I had known that when I went; it would have been great to meet her! The only pols I saw were creepy life sized cardboard cutouts of The Granny Starver and Mittdroid.

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    @Anne Laurie: When I lived there that’s who I voted for. In fact, I was proud that he carried the state.
    In a lot of ways MA is more conservative that the hypocritical repubs in the south. They believe in family and the importance of education. They also realize that taxes are a necessary evil.

  14. 14
    General Stuck says:

    When professor Warren ousts the smarmy wingnut repub Brown, Colonel Mustard will turn blue in the face.

  15. 15
    blingee says:

    Just like Coakley lost it because Dems just had to go for the female candidate, Warren will lose it again for EXACTLY the same reason. Apparently progressives and the Dems of Mass cannot learn from history.

    This was an entirely winnable seat just like it was last time but despite all the sugarplum fairies and rainbows that progressives and Dems hope for it ain’t gonna happen with a female no matter how many times they tap their toes together.

  16. 16
    Enhanced Mooching Techniques says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Brown went up with a really ugly TV ad today. Really ugly. I wonder if that will hurt him.

    attacking a woman opponent is never a good thing for a male politician. It just looks like being a bully even when she is being a total asshole.

    But then again, Brown is a conservative so no surprise.

  17. 17
    Spaghetti Lee says:


    Sample size of 1! Irrefutable evidence!

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Amir Khalid says:

    TPM’s latest poll shows Warren holding a slight lead over Brown. It will be close but she still has her nose in front.

  20. 20
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    How the state got a liberal reputation is beyond me.

    No death penalty, McGovern, Kennedys, Barney Frank, gay marriage, more good colleges than the entire Bible Belt combined, near-universal health care…

    It’s a good start.

  21. 21
    kerFuFFler says:

    I heard that Warren may be having a harder time than she should in MA because she does not speak with the local accent. I can’t help but wonder how much effect that is having. Brown is from MA originally and unfortunately that may matter in this race.

    I just hope voters there think about the importance of securing more democratic seats in the Senate to put a stop to all this constant filibustering.

  22. 22
    Bokonon says:

    @Enhanced Mooching Techniques: Yes – but this is Massachusetts, and the voters there don’t mind them some fouls and body checks. Ted Kennedy knew how to deliver them, for one …

  23. 23
    General Stuck says:

    ALLAHASSEE — State Rep. Mike Horner, a Republican from Kissimmee, has abruptly resigned his seat in the Florida House following reports linking his name to a prostitution investigation in Central Florida.

    “I deeply regret decisions I made that are causing my family unjustifiable pain and embarrassment,” Horner said in a statement. “While current press accounts from this morning are erroneous, my family still deserves better from me, as do all my friends, supporters and constituents. So today I am announcing I will no longer seek reelection to the Florida House.”

    Want to run wingnuts out of government. Just put up a whorehouse in every neighborhood and district in Murrica. They will drop like drawers at a C Street slumber party.

  24. 24
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Warren is from Oklahoma. Lots and lots of people in/from OK are part this or that or something else. It’s a fact. What’s the big deal?

    I do understand the Professor thing. Academics at Harvard have been called arrogant sons of bitches for generations. Part of the local town/gown conflicts are caused not so much by the students as by the teachers. Harvard students don’t always have good manners, either. On the other hand, some of the townies are assholes, too.

    So what are you going to do?

  25. 25
    jefft452 says:

    @Gin & Tonic:“Brown went up with a really ugly TV ad today”

    Yeah, but I look at it this way:
    After not getting away with ducking the debate, his debate theme and his big new ad campaign is …
    Put away the dog whistle and shout “Fauxcahontis” through a bullhorn

    If he’s trying to shore up support from the Howie Carr crowd this close to election day, he is toast

  26. 26
    Aimai says:

    @jefft452: I agree. I think the problem with covert sexism and fake working class cred is that once you get called out on it, as by trumka or local people, it starts to just look foolish. Brown is attacking warren for both being an affir
    Active action baby and a Machiavellian pro asbestos corporate stooge. But both can’t be true at once. And her little giggle and granny glasses look just don’t go with either role. I have my fingers crossed through election night but if menino puts his machine to work for her brown is toast.

  27. 27
    WaterGirl says:

    I am really burned about this new ad attacking Elizabeth Warren. The ad gives the feel of her being perp walked for having committed some terrible crime.

    I am all out of money for political donations (and food!) this month, but I really want to see Elizabeth Warren win this.

    If you guys will change the goal for Warren from 1,000 people to 10,000 dollars, I will break my own rule and use a credit card (instead of the debit card which has no funds) and will donate 100.00 though this site.

  28. 28
    PreservedKillick says:


    After not getting away with ducking the debate, his debate theme and his big new ad campaign is …
    Put away the dog whistle and shout “Fauxcahontis” through a bullhorn
    If he’s trying to shore up support from the Howie Carr crowd this close to election day, he is toast

    Agreed. Brown’s entire schtick has been “I’m a nice guy” and he’s looking like a bullying asshole going after the nice grandma.

    I don’t think he’s thought this one through.

    Over the last year, she’s covered this state up down and sideways. She’s REALLY worked for this.

    I would add something else. Elizabeth Warren has done what no previous mass politician I can think of: she’s built a ground game. Even in my tiny little town, there’s a very active Warren coordinator, one in the next town, etc.

    Not only are they there for Warren, she’s also asking people to head north and help Obama in New Hampshire. Since something like 80% of the NH population lives within about 20 miles of the Mass border…that’s interesting.

  29. 29
    PreservedKillick says:


    if menino puts his machine to work for her

    He’s in, no?

    I think he’d have to be with the unions coming down on her side.

  30. 30
    Calouste says:

    @General Stuck:

    Allahassee? Is that the capital of the Islamic Republic of Florida?

  31. 31
    Bokonon says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Believe me … in Massachusetts, where you are from matters.

    This is a New England thing (the prejudice against being “from away” is even worse in Maine). And it is also mulish, bloody minded yahoo tribalism thing that is unique to Massachusetts’ political culture. I used to live there … and I still have relatives there. It has deep roots.

    Brown is very, very good at tapping into all of this. And that’s the entire reason Brown is being so rude and dismissive of Warren during the debates. Brown is sneering at Warren’s Harvard professor job, and bringing up her Native American ancestry, and talking about his $*(#@$&@(# truck over and over again … because he is trying to define Warren as the “other”, the privileged wench from away, someone to be dismissed and hooted at and sneered at, and pelted with garbage (the way someone wearing a non-Red Sox hat sometimes gets treated at Fenway by the locals).

    Substance has got nothing to do with it. It has to do with who you are, and where you are from, and what your tribal loyalties are.

  32. 32
    Tokyokie says:

    @Linda Featheringill: As an Oklahoma native, I can confirm that most folks who have roots there probably have a Native American ancestor a few generations back, and it really isn’t a big deal. (At least in the bigger cities. In someplace with a larger, more identifiably Native American population like Tahlequah, it might be, but I never spent much time in those towns.) And as an actual descendant of Becky Rolfe, I’m offended by the use of the “Fauxcahontis” slur. Warren can’t help who her ancestors are any more than I change the fact that one of my 19th-century asshole forebears named all his daughters after Confederate heroes. That my great-grandmother was named “Wade Hampton” doesn’t have any bearing, favorably or disfavorably, on me, just as Warren’s Native American ancestors cast no reflection on her. I don’t know anything about Scott Brown’s parents, and although they could very well be utterly loathsome, he alone made the conscious decision to be an asshole.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    @Bokonon: At some point, enough people who have experienced being labelled as “other” are going to get sick of Brown doing that. Are there enough white men who will vote for Brown to counter all the non-white men and women of all colors who will vote for Warren?

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Massachusetts is chock full of racist, sexist assholes, who vote for corrupt politicians who hand out favors and/or money directly.

    God but I can’t wait for those fucking assholes to just secede already! Just get the fuck out!

  35. 35
    Hal says:

    So how conservative a Senator is Scott Brown? If he can’t by default be all that conservative because he is a MA Senator, than what do Republicans and the Tea Party get out of his being a US Senator?

  36. 36
    Bokonon says:

    @Violet: It is Massachusetts, Violet. As a former Massachusetts resident (and as an “other” that moved there from away) … all I can say is I dunno.

    It isn’t necessarily a matter of this attitude being confined to white men either.

  37. 37
    pete says:

    All this foofaraw about the Native American heritage means … well, they are having another debate aren’t they? I look forward to Warren looking Brown in the eye and saying: “I know what all this going on about my family means. It means you got nothing.”

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    @Bokonon: I’ve lived in several states and have found that attitude in a lot of them. “You’re not from around here” etc. Is it particularly worse in MA than in other places?

  39. 39
    Bokonon says:

    @Violet: Yes. It really is worse in Massachusetts than lots of other places I’ve lived. And there is no reasoning with it.

    It is more subtle than the bias against non-locals in the southern states, but similar.

  40. 40
    Steeplejack says:


    Second the motion to change the thermometer goal from people to dollars. Who cares the exact number of people who donate? It is the dollar amount that matters.

  41. 41
    WaterGirl says:

    @Steeplejack: Well, that’s 2 out of 2 people. 100% of people who responded are in favor of this. Let’s get it done!

  42. 42
    General Stuck says:


    I would like to claim I was clever enough to do that on purpose. But lo, twas highlight fail. But I think we should run with it no matter.

  43. 43
    Violet says:

    @Bokonon: Ultimately the people of MA will have to decide if it’s more important to have a guy with a truck who was born there representing them, but who will vote to shaft them every chance he gets, or more important to have a representative who will work hard for them, but who only moved there 10-15 years ago (or however many).

    Is it a “guy you want to have a beer with” election or a competence election? Maybe Romney stink will wash all over Brown.

  44. 44
    Steeplejack says:


    Um, the “Fauxcahontas slur” is that Warren doesn’t have any Native American ancestors but falsely claimed she does.

  45. 45
    Violet says:

    @Steeplejack: I thought some geneologist found that her great-great-great grandmother (or father?) was described as being a Cherokee in some paperwork. Or something. I know they don’t have her listed in their rolls.

  46. 46
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Steeplejack: But then it turned out that she actually did, correct? The whole thing is peculiar. I tried to explain it to my wife and she just had a quizzical look on her face like, “Why is this supposed to be a ‘controversy’?”

  47. 47
    Linnaeus says:

    The final line that Warren says in that commercial is killer.

  48. 48
    Tokyokie says:

    @Steeplejack: I realize what the intent is, but having the name of one of my actual ancestors used by a scumbag Republican as a pun for his nasty, race-baiting slur is profoundly and personally offensive. Having said ancestor turned into a Disney cartoon character was bad enough.

  49. 49
    aimai says:


    Yeah, he’s in but he’s been in and lukewarm before (e.g. Harshbarger). But I read that Biden called him up and (reading between the lines) read him the riot act so I think he’s all in for Warren because, really, what good can Brown do him that Warren and Kerry can’t double and triple up on at the national level?


  50. 50
    Josie says:

    @Hal: What they get is another vote to filibuster and gum up the works in the senate, including any nominations that the president might make.

  51. 51

    Yep, this. He hits all the right notes.

    I’ll add that Scott Brown has literally transformed into the Physical Avatar of the Local Internet Comment Section, at this point. Bile made Manifest.

    I have a hope that Clinton or Biden will swing by the State. But they are a bit busy these days.

  52. 52


    You forgot Prop 2-1/2, Saint Barbara Anderson, and thirty years of gilbertarian talk radio.

  53. 53
    Anne Laurie says:


    So how conservative a Senator is Scott Brown? If he can’t by default be all that conservative because he is a MA Senator, than what do Republicans and the Tea Party get out of his being a US Senator?

    He votes the straight Tea Party line on all “important” votes, and is allowed to offer the occasional ineffective, go-nowhere amendment affirming that maybe banksters shouldn’t actually be encouraged to steal public money in return.

    But he’s not running as a Republican — his incessant tv ads identify him as a proud independent who independently makes his own independent choices, for freedom! and the independent working-class American voters, who totally cherish their independence!

    There’s an actual Independent voting tradition here in New England, but it’s degraded to the point that nobody’s calling out Scotty as a professional gubmint lawyer eliding his party affiliation because he knows it’d lose him votes.

  54. 54
    El Cid says:

    This was a bad-ass ad.

  55. 55
    Steeplejack says:

    @Violet, @FlipYrWhig:

    I was describing the slur, not the actual facts.

  56. 56
    jomike says:


    Ultimately the people of MA will have to decide if it’s more important to have a guy with a truck who was born there representing them, but who will vote to shaft them every chance he gets

    If the boyos really think that that laughably pliant tool of Wall Street will represent the Commonwealth better than Elizabeth Warren… well, as Mencken said, “democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” Also, too, P.T. Barnum.

  57. 57
    redshirt says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: MA is filled with a particularly high percentage of assholes, but they are often liberal assholes, which I can tolerate better than wingnuts.

    But then, much of New England is filled with assholes, and as a whole (I’m looking at you NH), it’s still the best region of the country, liberal wise.

  58. 58
    priscianusjr says:

    @Violet: @Violet:

    not voting for Warren because she’s female and voting for Brown because he seems like a guy you’d have a beer with was ridiculous.

    If you really wanted to have a beer with Brown, what difference would it make if he were senator or not? Actually, you’re more likely to have a beer with Brown if Elizabeth Warren is senator, as Brown would have more spare time.

  59. 59
    Amanda says:

    @Linnaeus: Agreed. It is a great ad, the woman has serious skills. That last line is almost Clintonian, imo. I just got home from work a bit ago and finally got to see it, but all afternoon was scared to watch it, hoping it would do the trick. How wrong was I to be worried!

    So glad my increased regular donation to Warren today (I had to do something to not feel so pissed off all day!) will go toward running this fantastic ad over and over.

    And to those who marvel at the racism and sexism still so evident in Massachusetts, welcome to my lovely state. Heck I encountered blatant sexism at my local Democratic caucus earlier this year, directed at Warren (and myself), from a supposed Democrat, one of the local good ‘ol boys. It is rampant. Deval Patrick has helped us chip away at it — the party is much much more diverse since he got elected. My sincere hope is that when Warren wins, she creates at long last the space for women of all stripes to run and win statewide in Mass — and to beat down some of this sexism crap.

  60. 60
    betty, air says:

    Um, you obviously have not hung out at the Gut in Hull, where so many blue collah guys kept bitching against the wind turbine proposed (1st in the state?). They mocked the town manager, saying, “‘I have a vision! A vision, I tell ya…a television.'”

  61. 61
    blingee says:

    @Amir Khalid: If it was a reasonably strong Male candidate he would probably be way out ahead.

    Warren is a very strong candidate but the fact she is a woman is an automatic handicap in Mass. I’m just the messenger so don’t hate on me. Those are just the facts.

    Just because progressives love her doesn’t mean she should be the one running. You need 2 things and one of them is the ability to win. I don’t think she will but if she does it would be by a hair which is just waaay too much of a gamble. Every senate seat is precious.

  62. 62
    Anne Laurie says:


    Every senate seat is precious.

    And you’d have an actual argument, if any of your certified Dem bhoyos had been willing to risk their current positions to run against Brown. But, if you will remember, Warren’s competition in the Democratic primary were a raging firebagger with a long history of losing, a dilbert who seems to have believed Mass Democrats were looking for their very own Tea Partier, and the perfectly lovely woman who’s now running for President on the Green ticket.

    Timing is everything in politics, and the fustercluck of the national Republican party wasn’t predicted by the Democratic professionals who are now bitching that Professor Warren isn’t “local” enough to be running. Sux to be those guys, but my sympathies are severely limited.

  63. 63
    mwing says:

    I’m thinking of an older guy I work with, in Boston, who swears up and down that he doesn’t have a problem with female politicians in theory. But in practice he has a huge problem with every single actual female politician he has ever heard of,sometimes saying “I just don’t like her, I don’t even know why”. When I point this discrepancy out he just laughs and doesn’t argue.

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