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The chattering class is fond of far-fetched theories that lead to lots of intrigue, and one fanciful idea that has been floating around lately is that Scott Brown is ready for a comeback.  

The hypothesis is that if John Kerry is nominated to President Obama’s cabinet, then Brown would be a strong contender to fill Kerry’s seat.  It has even been speculated that Senate Republicans went after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice so harshly just to improve Brown’s chance at a comeback.

If you look at the facts, though, you’ll see that Brown is far from the sure bet to win another contest that Republicans hope he is.  Consider the following:

Who lost by a bigger margin than almost any candidate in a competitive Senate race in the country?

Scott Brown.  The 7.5-point loss he suffered at Elizabeth Warren’s hands was even worse than the 5.5-point loss for Brown’s fellow Republican Richard Mourdock in Indiana—that’s right, the guy who said pregnancy from rape is “something that God intended.”  In short, as convenient as it is to refer to the Massachusetts contest between Brown and Warren as a close race, Brown took a beating.

Who was the only incumbent in the entire U.S. Senate to lose in 2012?

Scott Brown.   Every one of Brown’s colleagues in the Senate who vied for reelection managed to win.  That includes Bill Nelson in the swing state of Florida.  That includes Democrat Jon Tester, who held onto his seat in Montana.  That includes Bob Casey in the perennial battleground of Pennsylvania.  It includes the other Senator Brown—Sherrod Brown of Ohio.  Scott Brown proved himself uniquely inept in his failure to fend off his challenger – and to in fact lose by 7.5%.  And remember, this wasn’t months or even years ago – this was last month.

Who lost to Elizabeth Warren by the same margin that William Weld lost to John Kerry?

Scott Brown.  Weld and Brown both lost by approximately 7.48 points, but Weld was going up against a popular two-term incumbent, whereas Brown was the incumbent facing a first-time political candidate.  For all the talk about his special campaign skills and positioning, nothing in the results was very special.

Who in the Massachusetts Senate election appeared to pick up no last-minute support or votes from undecided voters?

You guessed it: Scott Brown.  Dozens of polls conducted in the seven months leading up to Election Day show that Brown hovered around the 46% mark the whole time.  Of course, 46% is what Brown actually ended up with on Election Day.  In other words, Brown made no progress during his campaign, despite an enormous war chest of almost $40 million to spend on it.

These facts tell only part of the story, though.  What’s most damning to Brown’s future prospects isn't the margin of his defeat.  It’s the campaign he ran and the issues he stood for.

Time and again during the 2012 election, Brown showed that he is dangerously out of step with the people of Massachusetts and more in line with the Tea Party supporters who helped him win back in 2010.  Opposing the Buffett Rule, supporting tax cuts for the wealthy, backing the Blunt Amendment to limit people’s access to contraception and health care—Scott Brown dug in on each of these positions and has shown no sign of changing during the lame duck session in Congress.

And on top of his out of sync policy positions that cost him the last race, Brown also ran a pretty despicably negative campaign.  He shattered his nice-guy image – something that propelled his fluke 2010 victory – by focusing the majority of his efforts on personal attacks against Warren.  And in his final television advertisement, he even went after Warren’s so called support for “illegal aliens.”  At a time when the national GOP is desperately searching for an answer to its Latino problem, it’s hard to imagine why anyone sees Scott Brown as the Republicans’ future more than they do Mitt Romney.

Scott Brown won his special election in 2010 because the people of Massachusetts didn't know who he really was.  Once they did, they made clear by compelling margin that they don’t want him to be their senator anymore.  Pundits have long bought into the hype of Brown’s pick-up truck and barn jacket more than voters, and the 2012 election proved that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Could be the media are flogging the rematch idea (4+ / 0-)

    because he was, bless his heart, such a cash cow in terms of advertising dollars.

    Scott Brown: Bad for Massachusetts, full of win for Mediachusetts. :)

  •  I hope you're right (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, NormAl1792, bear83

    ...but then nobody imagined that the GOP would pick up that seat after Ted Kennedy's death.  The problem was that the Massachusetts Dems nominated an absolutely abominable candidate in Martha Coakley.  Even her name seemed to breathe boredom and mediocrity.  

    I don't know anything about internal Massachusetts politics, but I understand there was a factional fight within the Democratic party that resulted in the Coakley nomination.  Somebody reassure me that there is a potentially winning candidate around this time.   Any Kennedys available?  

    •  It's interesting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that Coakley's numbers have flipped since she lost the special, and she's now comfortably in positive approval territory.

      •  Yes becuase Coakley actually is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        doing a respectable job.

        The special election victory by Brown, was more voting against her than for Brown.

        The Senate campaign was lackluster at best, and their no real energy on the Coakley side. Special elections are all about getting the core voters out, in this case there was nothing to excite the D voters about. They just stayed home, and the independents voted for Brown.

        Brown ran a good campaign, he played the moderate. Seemed affable enough and comfortable with the people. While his term showed the opposite, I.e. no town halls etc.  The campaign was well run in 2010.

        Whereas in 2012, Brown should be demanding a refund from the campaign advisers.  They harped on the Warren's OK family history way too much to point of going negative.

        The ads they ran, just eviscerated the nice guy image Brown had. Had he focused on others things(DADT)  he might had a chance. MA might be a very blue state, but it doesn't blindly vote for the D candidate. They actually have to be a good candidate.

        I got a good dose of the ad progression, over that last few weeks. My wife and I watched a lot of TiVoed Season pass shows over the weekend. It was interesting to see how the Browns ads changed from September to October to November.

    •  Yes, it's actually a problem (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608, NormAl1792, decisivemoment, JBraden

      There aren't any obvious strong democratic candidates. Gov. Patrick has ruled out running for Senate, instead we're hearing noises from the proven irresponsible and possibly correct Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who would be a walking target in a Senatorial campaign. The Congressional delegation is quite uninspiring. And the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson would bury Massachusetts in money 3 feet deep. It's not at all obvious that Brown couldn't win. He'll get a certain sympathy vote, he can rehash the "bipartisanship" crap . . .

      The only Kennedy available is a newly elected freshman congressperson who is manifestly unqualified even to be that. So no.

      •  Congressman Ed Markey (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wreck Smurfy, sebastianguy99, JBraden

        Has been rumored to be running.  Word is that only Patrick or Markey are the best know to hold this seat for us.

        Brown ran a disgusting campaign and people won't forget it.  He may have lots of $ from Koch and others behind him but we, in other parts of the U.S., will also send donations for the Democratic candidate no matter who it is.  

        Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

        by Rosalie907 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:49:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not a chance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Brown ruined his reputation w/ his racist and misogynistic campaign. And there were millions of Koch/Adelson dollars wasted on my Senator is a centerfold.

        You are wrong about Mass. Democratic candidates. There is Mike Capuano who lost to Coakley in a four way primary, there is Joe Kennedy, and don't count out Barney Frank, who is retiring from the House w/ a sizeable war chest. Brown's best chance is to wait 8-10 years and hope voters forget his last race.

  •  It's all about turnout (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, NormAl1792, bear83, sebastianguy99

    I could easily see Brown winning a special election again. It all depends on whether our side is as fired up to get out the vote in a lower turnout affair as Republicans are.

  •  But what about his name recognition? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, NormAl1792, bear83

    Who would be a good candidate to pit against him?

  •  The only thing certain in life is death and taxes (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, NormAl1792, bear83, JBraden

    No one could have thought Brown would have own Ted Kennedy's seat at a time when Democrats had just crushed Republicans in a general election and the GOP had single handedly destroyed the economy.

    Shit happens.  And it is clear the GOP is hoping lightning strikes twice.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:19:39 AM PST

  •  I'm not in Massachusetts (7+ / 0-)

    so I my opinion may not matter for much.  But, the impression I got from following the race was that Warren won the seat, while your argument seems to be based on the idea that Brown lost it.  In other words, the result was a testament to Warren's ability as a candidate, rather than some failing on Brown's part.  For instance, Warren polled behind Brown for a good part of the race, which doesn't suggest that Massachusetts voters had a problem with Brown at the outset.

    So the question I have is whether there are other Warrens waiting in the wings, or will it be a repeat of Martha "you want me to go outside in the cold?" Coakley?

    To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

    by sneakers563 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:24:36 AM PST

    •  Brown had 60% favorability in the exit poll (3+ / 0-)

      Actually better ratings than Warren, although I think you're right that Warren won the seat rather than Brown losing it.

      In part, the Warren campaign convinced voters that a vote for Brown was a vote for Republican leadership in the Senate. That argument is available to any Democratic candidate, although it would have less force in a special election now that the Senate no longer hangs in the balance.

      I agree with you: it takes a pretty good candidate to beat Scott Brown if he decides to run again.

      Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
      Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

      by HudsonValleyMark on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:40:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Coakley (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hoosier Al, rb608, NormAl1792, JBraden

    Couldn't she at least start calling herself "Marty?"  

  •  Not to mention that Coakley was a terrible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, NormAl1792

    candidate for a legislative position. Prosecutors, I suspect, generally are.  We think they are knowledgable about the law, but often, it seems, they are merely frustrated at not getting easier conviction rates. Prosecutors don't necessarily respect the law, but see it as an impediment to their own success.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:26:52 AM PST

  •  Good odds for Brown in special election, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NormAl1792, bear83

    I canvassed a lot for Warren, and there were a lot of voters that could have gone for Brown.  It's hard to say how a low-turnout special election would go, hard to see a Dem candidate with the winning profile, and hard to know the circumstances we'll face at the time.  A special election featuring a debt-moron like Brown held in the depths of a govt shutdown forced by Republicans could be easily nationalized one way or the other.

  •  The first sign (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NormAl1792, JBraden

    of insanity, is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome. Which has Repub written all over this. In MA we really don't want to revisit that planet, but if it comes, the Dems better have a REALLY good challenger.

    Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

    by misschris on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:42:23 AM PST

  •  Isn't it possible for the Massachusetts (0+ / 0-)

    legislature to make replacement senators be appointed by the Governor?   Seems to me they've done it before.

    Or maybe I dreamed that...

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:17:09 AM PST

    •  In 2004 (0+ / 0-)

      When John Kerry was running for President and Mitt Romney was governor, the Democratic legislature here was worried that Romney would appoint a Republican if Kerry won the White House. That kind of thing happened in New York in 1968 when RFK was assassinated and many other times.

      So the Mass. legislature passed a law requiring a temporary appointment, but a special election to fill the remainder of the term within a few months of the vacancy. In 2009-10, when Sen. Ted Kennedy's death caused the vacancy and we had a Democratic governor, the new law was costly for the Democrats. It may be again.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:40:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Brown would have the advantage in a special (0+ / 0-)

    election for several reasons. The speical election would be held in a short amount of time (90 days?), leaving Democrats little time to deal with all the things Brown already has set up and ready to go:

    - he has a campaign organization already built and ready to  go.

    - he has widespread name recognition and positive personal ratings.

    - he has an existing fundraising base and would draw essentially unlimited amounts of $ from national Republicans anxious to retake a Senate seat.

    It's Massachusetts, so Brown's not going to run away with it, but to dismiss him as a formidable candidate would be foolish.

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:29:45 AM PST

  •  Obama Should Quit Friggin' Appointing Senators (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's nuts. He keeps blowing up Senate majorities with his appointments. It's well and good to say that Scott Brown may not win. Tell that to Martha Coakley--who might, God help us, run again. There are lots of qualified folks who could become Secretary of State--most of whom would be far less wooden and tone deaf than John Kerry. Kerry's been a very, very good senator. For the good of the country and for the future of the Senate he should stay there.

  •  Barney Frank would make a great Mass. senator (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirk McQuigley

    He's now available.

    As are a number of other good Democratic representatives from Massachusetts who might be interested in becoming the junior Senator if Kerry leaves.

    Virginia Common Sense

    •  Frank not running (0+ / 0-)

      He's been clear he's done and won't even accept temporary appointment until the special election can be held.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:42:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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