The Massachusetts senate race

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Brown is not the centrist he tries to be

By Alex Rothfelder
Scarlet Staff

Upon first learning about the Brown-Warren race in Massachusetts back home in New Jersey, I figured Scott Brown was legitimately a moderate conservative in the midst of an intensely partisan Republican party. After all, to be elected in one of the bluest states in the country, home to Democratic political legends such as the Kennedys, John Kerry, and Michael Dukakis, he would have to have an incredibly moderate political ideology and still champion some typical Massachusetts Democratic causes. But after looking at his platform, watching the first two debates, and reading about the election, I have determined that he is not a bipartisan candidate. He is a plain, mainstream Republican who votes similarly to other Republican senators from across the country. His platform includes repealing Obamacare, continuing all of the Bush tax cuts, and blocking further economic stimulus, like all other congressional Republicans.

There are some exceptions, like his vote for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, his less pointed views on gay rights compared to the GOP norm, and his pro-choice stance on abortion. But Senator Brown does not actually stand up for women’s issues as he should. He voted against an equal pay law that seeks to get rid of the wage disparity of men to women. His excuse was that he did not want to apply additional regulations on businesses during a recession. This statement was a blatant political lie; Scott Brown probably still believes in traditional gender roles that create a stigma for working women, or is seeking to appeal to his conservative base that does. He also voted against the blunt amendment, which effectually seeks to prevent insurers or employers from being forced to apply contraceptives to women. He claims to be a supporter of women’s rights, and then contributes to the right-wing attempt to make it more difficult for women to obtain birth control. It seems fitting for most of the tea party hijacked Republicans to vote for this bill, but not for someone who embraces themselves as a bipartisan, independently minded candidate.

Scott Brown embraces an unbelievably harsh immigration policy as well. At the senatorial debate at UMass Lowell, the candidates were asked by a Dominican immigrant, now a U.S. citizen, whether they supported the Dream Act. Senator Brown responded by saying he opposed the Dream act on the basis that it was a form of “back door amnesty.”  Even more shockingly, Scott Brown voted against pursuing a Federal Supreme court case on SB1070, according to Masslive.com. This demonstrates that he supports the extreme law that essentially encourages racial profiling of undocumented immigrants, which seems to run counter to moderate ideology. Former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential Candidate Michael Dukakis also told the audience at Clark University that when Senator Brown and Kitty Dukakis were discussing immigration, Scott Brown basically said that a typical Mexican family who had illegally came across the border should “go back to Mexico” despite their established life in the United States and fading ties to their original country.

My intent is not to demonize Scott Brown or his Republican supporters, but merely to allow people to understand that the Senator is not moderate, if you look at his compliance to the extreme Republican platform on women’s rights and immigration, and acknowledge that Senator Scott Brown does not break with Republicans on any major economic issue. To truthfully appeal to independents who are looking for a rare bipartisan representative, Scott Brown should support Simpson-Bowles, or another specific deficit reduction proposal. He should also support the modest aide that President Obama’s immigration policy will provide, or legitimately be a pro-choice fighter for women’s issues, instead of touting some random congressional report stating that he is bipartisan.

Bipartisan politicians are greatly needed in the divisive political climate in Washington. Scott Brown should not just label himself as such to win over independent voters in Massachusetts, but should whole-heartedly separate himself from a Republican Party that is obstructing political progress.