Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mr. Brown Goes To Washington

I was wondering how long it was going to take for noted centerfold model Scott Brown to be seated as a United States Senator from Massachusetts. Three weeks after the election, I asked myself, "Geez, the Republicans in the Senate have to delay this, too?" :-D

Actually, the Republicans had nothing to do with this. It took time for the Massachusetts Secretary of State to certify the results of the special election last month. Brown was sworn in today. Originally, he was scheduled to be sworn in on February 11, and he was willing to wait that long, but he ultimately changed his mind and asked to be seated sooner to take part on key votes. The Democrats - who haven't shown any spine since 1967 - were pleased to oblige. John Kerry and outgoing interim Massachusetts senator Paul Kirk escorted Brown to the Senate floor today, where he took the oath from Vice President Biden.

Kerry was off his crutches. I hope this is a good sign.

Without a supermajority, the Democrats have to work with Republicans in a spirit of bipartisanship to get things done. The majority party doesn't have the votes to overcome filibusters, and they expect the Republicans to offer solutions and cooperation to pass legislation, now that the GOP has a greater say in the lawmaking process. Republicans counter that they need the filibuster to block any sweeping legislation they feel the country is not ready to digest.

The conventional wisdom is that Senate Republicans can't keep saying no to everything without offering alternatives on the legislative issues of the day if they don't want to be accused of obstructionism. Yeah, right. All the public sees is a party with a large majority - 59 out of 100 is still pretty big - and if the Senate can't pass anything, that party, the Democratic party, is likely to bear the brunt of the blame. And when you consider that the Democrats have been offering opportunities to the Republicans to get behind legislation such as job programs, rather than just take the bull by the horns and pass something themselves (like health care reform), perhaps the Democrats will deserve the shellacking forecast for them in the November elections.

All eyes are on Scott Brown to see whether he can help bridge the gap between the two Senate caucuses and get things done. Until he manages to deliver - something the rest of the Senate hasn't been able to do - he's just going to be seen as a Cosmopolitan pretty boy.

To be fair, Brown was a legitimate fashion model in the 1980s, having done a good deal of print ad work through a Boston agency. In fact, here's an example from his former career, from when he was 31.

I must say, he does look senatorial. :-D

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