Senator Scott Brown, Granite Grok & Dancing the Little Sidestep in NH

Sir Humphrey Appleby: So we trust you to make sure that your Minister does nothing incisive or divisive over the next few weeks.

Sir Arnold Robinson:  Avoids anything controversial.
Sir Humphrey Appleby:  Expresses no firm opinion about anything at all. Now, is that quite clear?
Bernard Woolley:  Yes, well, I think that is probably what he was planning to do anyway.

Yes Minister Party Games 1984

Reporter #1 Was that a “Yes” or “No”?

Reporter #2 That was a possible “maybe”

The Best little Whorehouse in Texas 1982

Last year when Senator Scott Brown appeared in Nashua and a crowd of 2nd amendment people protested him I said he made a mistake by not engaging those voters directly, Brown is a reasonable man and as I recall when he was my senator always had time for his constituents no matter what their views.

Last week Senator Brown took my advice appearing in Hollis NH at the home of Granite Grok’s Mike Rogers with his lovely wife Gail to meet with a group of voters and make the case for him as the next Senator GOP senator from NH.

Mike regularly hosts candidates so people can meet and engage them and I’m often there to cover them.  I missed this one but I commend Senator Brown for making the trip,  but after reading the accounts of the event from Skip & Mike it seems that in giving said advice I left out an important point, something that is inherent to NH GOP politics  that doesn’t come into play very often in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts the GOP is so weak that conservatives are simply delighted to have a candidate contest a democrat in office.  Furthermore Massachusetts is so left you have to go back to Henry Cabot Lodge in the 50’s to find a Massachusetts senator who occupied the seat Senator Brown did who was more conservative than he.

In other words in Massachusetts showing up, caucusing with the GOP and perhaps throwing them a vote now & then is enough to prove your GOP bonafides.

In NH it’s a different matter.

New Hampshire has a long strong GOP tradition.  George Bush took the state in 2000, The GOP held the House and Senate just two years ago and if Scott Brown won the class two seat from Jeanne Shaheen not only would he be the most liberal Senator in that seat (other than Shaheen) since Democrat Thomas J. McIntyre in 1979 but with Kelly Ayotte in the Delegation he wouldn’t even be the most conservative senator serving the state.

To put in bluntly the New Hampshire GOP doesn’t need a savior.  They have plenty of choices from Karen Testerman to Senator Bob Smith and Andy Martin to Senator Brown’s right to Jim Rubins to his left so being “not Jeanne Shaheen” doesn’t cut it.  As Chip put it:

Note to Scott Brown: EVERY Republican is “the anti-Shaheen“. Yes, every candidate for US Senate this cycle is saying “I am the opposite of Shaheen”. Keep telling us that over and over will just lose its efficacy – and gets to be boring and eye-rolling. And again, it wasn’t just me that noticed (and this advice is worth every penny you paid). Stop being Captain Obvious over and over – it will help the stump speech.

So rather than coming in to save the day you instead have to differentiate yourself from your opponents.  Senator Brown as Mike put it took a different path:

All the questions went the same way -whether softball or hardball, they did not elicit any concrete statement of principle or philosophy, but just general platitudes about fixing broken Washington, and getting things done…

…After a few questions, I had a very uncomfortable feeling – like trying to look through a highly polished glass column to see the truth, or see inside a cloak of invisibility, or stand on a teflon floor in low gravity – in other words, it was impossible to get a grip on his positions on anything except “vote for me, I’m the lesser evil”.

Moreover if Senator Brown didn’t want to make a pitch for has candidacy based on deep held positions & principles for fear of trackers, he could have instead make the case for his candidacy pragmatically, to wit:

1. I am the person who can raise the most money, I can go dollar to dollar with Shaheen and force Democrats to spend money here that they would otherwise have available to defend house and senate seats elsewhere.

2. I have the highest name recognition on the GOP side thanks to years of coverage and the Boston Media. I could spend every cent of that superior war chest attacking Jeanne Shaheen rather than introducing or re-introducing myself to the electorate.

3. Since I served in the Senate at the same time as Senator Shaheen I can directly contrast my record to hers.

4. Senator Shaheen was the 60th vote for Obamacare As the person elected in Massachusetts as the 41st vote against Obamacare the ads practically write themselves.

5. Because I’m the most acceptable candidate to the national party I can draw national names and cash to the campaign that can not only help me but the GOP ticket all the way down.

6. Finally the Democrats are terrified of me.  They will never get over me winning the “Ted Kennedy” seat in Massachusetts and inspiring candidates nationwide.  They’re already spending money trying to define me and every dollar, every volunteer, every speaker and every phone call the party has to make to try to defend this Senate seat in NH is a dollar, a volunteer, a speaker and a phone call that is not being made to defend seats in Alaska, Louisiana, North Carolina, Arkansas etc etc etc.

Can someone explain why it it is left to a blogger who has endorsed Karen Testerman for the NH GOP Senate nomination to make this case when Senator Brown could have done the same in a house full of potential voters, contributors and campaign workers?

Maybe he figures an argument is not necessary.  he’s  a very pleasant man, with a good record in the Military, a nice family and a wife that is an incredible asset for a campaign.  Combine that with the with money, name recognition and a divided GOP primary vote and I suspect expensive consultants who are chasing his big campaign chest might have advised him getting the nomination in an open primary state like NH is a fait accompli.

But what those consultants don’t seem to understand is even if they are right about the primary, it’s only half the battle.  If he wins Senator Brown will need as many of those tea party conservatives as he can get come election day because the MSM is going to pull out all the stops to keep that NH seat  a seat they figured on holding.

New Hampshire is not Massachusetts. and the Charles Durning dance simply won’t fly there.

The consultants who are telling Senator Brown to take no firm positions on issues are likely the same ones who asked him to run away from the base in 2012.  Let me as a person who is not taking a penny of Senator Brown’s money (but will happily accept tip jar hits) say that if you actually want to win this election it’s better for you and the GOP both nationally and in NH if you actually stand for something.  I’ll give the last word to Mark Steyn who said these words to NH republicans the day after Senator brown announced his exploratory committee….

We don’t want it to be like 2010, where it was a landmark election and nothing changed, and the way to prevent that is to move the meter from the public debate is.  We are jeopardizing the future of  United States by just stringing along in this way…You have to wait for a Tuesday in November to actually win the vote but you can win the argument  every single day  of the week,  every month between now and election day.

Of course the NH GOP could just vote for Karen Testerman and win with her. Then GOP candidates running in NH House & Senate races throughout the state won’t have to explain away Brown’s positions that might keep the base they need home.


Olimometer 2.52

It’s Saturday. In 7 Hours I’ll be broadcasting live from the Nashoba Club Restaurant in Ayer Ma but no a less pleasant note with 19 hours left to the day we remain a full $222 away from meeting our weekly goal for the first time in nearly two months.

We need 9 tip jar hitters at $25 to end our losing streak and try to get us back on track, and it’s axiomatic that the establishment money isn’t going to come here and do it.

Let’s not start April in a hole, please hit DaTipJar below.


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