The Massachusetts Senate race is officially a toss-up. This is a sincere embarassment for Martha Coakley and her tepid campaign; and even if she ekes out a win, it’s a miserable omen for the Democratic party. Feeling good about things, Scott Brown decided to lay out his larger vision for America in a very strange Op-Ed in the Boston Globe yesterday.
Andrew Sullivan hits all the highlights: Brown loves the idea of cutting the federal deficit, but not as much as he loves the idea of “an across-the-board tax cut”. He likes the Massachusetts health care reform, but really hates national health care reform, which is based on the Mass reform. Again, he hates the deficit, but hates the idea of addressing medicare spending even more.
He also claims that the stimulus “failed to create one new job.” This graph is by Steve Benen, and shows job losses per month during the recession:
Of course, the country is still losing jobs, but in light of the stark trend (anything special happen in January ’09?) the stimulus-is-a-failure meme doesn’t seem to be a very fruitful line of attack for Mr. Brown.
Speaking of the deficit that Brown clearly hates so much, what caused it? This graph shows the CBO deficit projection for the next 10 years, and which factors are most responsible:
But don’t squint too hard at it. No need. Scott Brown has a plan for the economy, and it’s simple. “My plan for the economy is simple: an across-the-board tax cut.”
Brown then moves on to terrorism. He sticks to platitudes here, including this gem about the Christmas bomb plot: “…instead of being interrogated by military professionals at Guantanamo, the plane bomber has been given taxpayer-funded lawyers in a US courtroom.” Taxpayer-funded lawyers? Who in the hell does he think funds the military professionals at Gitmo? And the meting out of something he calls “military justice”, which apparently is better than other kinds of justice for reasons unspecified. I imagine a taxpayer-funded waterboard is involved.
What is really striking about this is not that Scott Brown is a very conventional modern Republican (alas, like his ideological ilk, there is nothing genuinely conservative about him). What’s shocking is the idea that his simplistic brand of parochialism, jingoism, and zombie-like invocation of tax cuts is actually resonating with the people of Massachusetts.