Reaction to Scott Brown: Hope, snark, speculation
Eventually, New Hampshire voters may get to tell the world what they think of Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator now exploring a run for the Senate against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. But in the meantime, political pundits from across the country are weighing in. Here’s a sampling of the chatter:
“Scott Brown’s entry makes the race more competitive. It helps the Republicans expand the battleground for the Senate, but I don’t think Sen. Shaheen is in imminent danger.”
Nathan Gonzales, who analyzes congressional races for the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, in the Wall Street Journal.
“By holding off making an official announcement, Brown could . . . be rebuilding his national brand for a future White House campaign – where the Granite State plays a huge role. There’s no doubt Brown has the political fire back in his belly – that was clear from the unusually animated, podium-pounding speech. . . . But . . . he didn’t mention the name of his potential Democratic opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. There were plenty of mentions of New Hampshire – but Brown’s message was a national one.”
Boston Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld.
“Scott Brown, the Republican who admitted he wore pink leather shorts on his first date with his wife-to-be, is back. And Democrats are scared to death.
“It’s not that Democrats are particularly scared that the 54-year-old former Massachusetts senator is going to get elected as a New Hampshire senator – although it’s conceivable that a charming, carpetbagging, middling politician could jump across the border and unseat Jeanne Shaheen. But Shaheen is popular, and strategists don’t think that flinty ‘Live Free or Die’ voters will welcome the Boston transplant with open arms.
“This is what’s really freaking out Democrats: They know that Brown, after making some real money working for Fox News since his loss to Elizabeth Warren two years ago, wouldn’t even be getting into the race if the political environment weren’t so toxic for Democrats.”
Maureen Dowd, New York Times
“I’d cheer Brown’s chutzpah even if he were running in Hawaii or Texas. Legislating, and whom we choose to do it, should be about an individual’s ability to write and pass sound law, not scarf down garbage plates at the local county fair. Problem is, in his three years as Massachusetts senator, he did little to distinguish himself, either in terms of meaningful legislation or oversight.”
Kevin Mahnken, The New Republic.
“Brown’s run is an example of Obamacare hubris. The Republican bet is that the backlash to the law will be so intense – ‘a wave is coming,’ said Brown – that anyone with a pulse can win on the ‘repeal’ platform.”
David Weigel, Slate.
“A challenge for Brown is to convince Republican voters he is genuinely interested in being a U.S. senator from New Hampshire, not a political opportunist who was looking for the best path back to elected office/the national stage. It’s not so much Brown moving to New Hampshire that could trip him up – after all, (Bob) Smith lived in Florida and ran for the Senate there, so he’s in no position to attack – it’s the uncertainty surrounding his future. Since being voted out of the Senate in 2012, Brown has been coy about his next move. He’s hinted that he wants to be a bigger voice in the party, and has even visited the other early presidential state, Iowa. Brown has to make clear from day one so that voters are convinced he’s not just all in, but all in for New Hampshire.”
Sean Sullivan, Washington Post.
“Fox (News) has been a good platform for Brown since his 2012 defeat in Massachusetts, just as many aspiring and temporarily sidelined pols use cable news deals to maintain their visibility. But he sure waited till the last minute to cut the cord.”
Howard Kurtz, Fox News.
“I think there’s a tremendous relief among establishment Republicans. They are very excited by the prospect of a Brown candidacy. Of course, there are going to some on the far right who are not excited about this, but they’re in the minority. For every detractor, there are 10 enthusiasts as of today.”
Fergus Cullen, former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman.
“Scott Brown may have moved to the Granite State, but we’re not going anywhere. Will you help us raise $25,000 for Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign right now? Let’s remind Scott Brown what he’s still up against if he runs for the Senate in New Hampshire.”
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in a fundraising appeal to supporters.
“I’ve been involved in Senate races for more than two decades, and I have not seen a field of play grow so rapidly since 1980. Scott Brown has the potential to be the 52nd or 53rd Republican senator elected in 2014. He knows the issues, is aligned with the state, can raise money and is one of the best recruits of the cycle.”
Steven Law, president of Republican super-PAC American Crossroads, in Politico.
“It’s highly likely that Republicans pick up the majority.”
Karl Rove on Fox News Sunday.
“In 2012, we would have also said it looks like Republicans are going to take the majority of the Senate. Turned out they imploded.”
Juan Williams, in response to Rove.