I think this TNR piece about Scott Brown does a good job exploring the truck-driving Massachusetts Senator's appeal, but I think the notion that Brown represents any sort of strategy for Republicans is wrong. That Brown is as right-wing as possible without alienating the center isn't cutting-edge Republican politics, so much as the natural posture of Republicans (and quite a few Democrats, albeit from the left). And while Brown's general cluelessness toward policy might indeed help toward making Brown more relatable toward his constituents, I think that Brown's appeal really is sui generis in that I don't think that someone without his looks, charisma, common touch, etc., but with the same cluelessness and political views would have ever had a chance to win.
Ultimately, though, while Brown's milieu seems to be serving him well at this point I think he'll run into significant problems in the next year or two. If he has to run on a Palin-fronted or Romney-fronted ticket in 2012 he's going to be squeezed just like, say, former Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT). Northern Republicans and Southern Democrats tend to do well in years where the other party is in power, but fundamentally the tribal elements of our politics are inescapable.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.