In his first year in the Senate, when he was all that stood between Democratic priorities and a Republican filibuster, Scott Brown got in the habit of waiting for the debate to come to him. It’s a less useful trait now that he’s no longer in that position. Sometimes, the debate passes him by. That’s what seems to be happening now, as Washington struggles with the debt ceiling. Yesterday, Brown finally came out and said he would support either Harry Reid’s Senate bill or John Boehner’s House bill. But in the intense discussions leading up to this moment, it would have been helpful to know if Brown, who carries a reputation for common-sense moderation, would accept the closing of tax loopholes to raise revenues, or would consider trimming benefits to entitlement programs. Too often, he prefers to wait until the meal is fully cooked before deciding whether he wants a bite.
Brown’s modesty can be appealing; it’s a relief that he’s not another politician in love with his own words. But times like these call for him to speak up earlier, and with a stronger voice.