“Life doesn’t end when you lose an election,” Scott Brown said at a post election press conference earlier this week. “Aside from my marriage to my wife Gail, and my kids, being a senator has been the greatest privilege of my life.”
Walter mentioned the sad spectacle of the Senator driving alone the empty side streets of suburbia, uprooting campaign lawn signs and throwing them into the back of his famous pickup truck. I don’t think he mentioned it specifically but nevertheless I pictured the scene unfolding in a softly chilling cold November rain. One imagines him, the long campaign behind him and failed, retracing his steps in his mind. And maybe not just to pout.
You see one of the biggest questions Brown was posed at that presser wasn’t about the bitter lesson of the immediate past, but the intriguing prospect of the immediate future. John Kerry’s name has been mentioned in speculation about the next Obama cabinet, as either Secretary of Defense or State. What if the senior senator was named to such a post in the Obama administration —necessitating another special election much like the one that put Brown in office the first time? “I told him personally that I thought he would make a very good Secretary of State,” Brown answered coy.
There’s some interesting dynamics to the politics here. Would Brown have learned something from the last effort and run a better campaign “take II”? In my humble opinion, had he run on his own strengths instead of an insulting attack based campaign he might have faired better the first time out. Maybe he’ll be lucky enough to run against an opponent who he would rather debate than insult.
And that does leave the question for the Democrats. Who do they have of the stature required to meet Brown in a special election. I honestly wonder. I don’t think there’s anyone in the Congressional delegation who could generate excitement beyond the limits of the party’s own machination, the way Warren did. That was the Martha Coakley recipe, the machine candidate whose turn it was. Any loyal participating Democrat could convince them self she was the one. But then there was the matter of the voters. Governor Patrick comes to mind as someone who could meet Brown toe to toe in debate and score meaningful resonant points, but one has to wonder if Patrick is fitted to be a senator, his temperament might be more executive than deliberative. The primary campaign that gave us Candidate-Now-Senator Warren ended without really developing a full throated debate. Strong candidates folded in the face of the persona politics strength of Warren’s brand and left mostly diminished.
You have to admit it would be interesting to see Brown back at it. We’d all have a fine time arguing over who had mandate to do what with what and to whom after that one. Brown would just have to deal with Warren referring to him as the Junior Senator from Massachusetts.