Scott Brown's decision to buck GOP leadership and back Senate majority leader Harry Reid's stripped-down jobs bill Monday is playing to a mixed reaction and wildly mixed emotions among conservatives.
Dozens of angry messages filled his Twitter page and Facebook page, charging the Massachusetts senator with everything from being "another out-of-touch politician'' to "Benedict Brown."
On her blog, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin decried Brown's vote and those of the four GOP senators who joined him -- Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine, Christopher Bond of Missouri, and George Voinovich of Ohio -- and gave readers Brown's Washington, D.C., office number, urging readers to call him to ask why he backed a "phony jobs boondoggle."
Other conservative analysts responded with more of a shrug.
“I am guessing that Scott Brown believes that he cannot simply join the (highly effective and admirable) ‘no’ chorus of Republicans, lest he be labeled a pure obstructionist and not an independent kind of guy who's just looking for effective solutions to get the working men and women of Massachusetts back to work," wrote Lisa Schiffren of National Review on her blog.
Brown arrived on Capitol Hill as something of a trophy for the Republican Party and a usurper for some in the Democratic Party. By taking the seat held by Edward Kennedy for so many years, he single-handedly redefined the political calculus in the Senate. The vote to close debate and reject calls for a filibuster in the jobs bill was only the third he has cast.
"It was a vote I felt comfortable making," he told WBZ-TV yesterday. “I got the bill, I analyzed it. We made our determination it was revenue-neutral. It wouldn't increase taxes. It would actually help job creation in Massachusetts."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.