For at least one leader of the Tea Party movement, when it comes to Scott Brown, the party’s long over.
“Brown is a politician, and that is meant in the worst sense of the word,’’ Judson Phillips, leader of Tea Party Nation, writes on a blog today. “He knows self-preservation and self-promotion. He has aligned himself with the [Republicans in name only] crowd, which has no beliefs, other than getting reelected and appeasing whatever base he thinks will help him get reelected.”
The source of Phillips’ anger? Brown delivered a speech yesterday from the floor of the Senate in which he worried aloud about how steep budget cuts could hurt programs for elderly and poor Massachusetts residents. He also wrote in a letter to GOP leaders that the poor and elderly could bear the brunt of the $61 billion in cuts they’re seeking.
“Memo to Scott Brown. If you think budget cuts disproportionately affect ‘low income families and seniors,’ what do you think is going to happen when we have an economic collapse?’’ Phillips writes.
“Do you want to see our future? Go look at Greece or Portugal or Spain. They have a debt crisis. How do you think they got into a debt crisis? Since you were once a model and models are not known for their heavy duty thinking capabilities, I’ll give you a hint. Debt gets you into a debt crisis.’’
Brown posed for a centerfold for Cosmopolitan magazine when he was in his 20s.
The Massachusetts Republican was hailed by Tea Party activists when he won the seat held by Ted Kennedy in a special election last year. The surprising victory followed a campaign built largely on the need for fiscal discipline in Washington.
Since taking his seat, he has largely backed GOP efforts to rein in spending, including voting on March 9 to support the House Republicans’ plan to cut $61 billion in domestic spending for the rest of this fiscal year.
The bill, however, failed in the Senate and the government has been funded instead by a pair of stopgap spending measures. Budget negotiators are looking for a deal that will bridge that proposal with a Democrat plan for much more moderate trims in programs.
Since voting for the extensive cuts, Brown has openly questioned whether some go too far. In particular, he opposes efforts to eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and cuts in the home heating oil assistance program. Struggling Massachusetts homeowners have been hit particularly hard by the spike in oil prices.
Such hesitancy over cuts means conservatives in the Bay State need to find someone to run against Brown in the GOP primary next year, Phillips writes.
“Rumors are the Democrats are not even going to put a top-flight candidate against him in 2012 because his ratings within that state are so good. So Scott Brown used the Tea Party to get elected. Now he no longer needs this movement, and we are tossed under the bus," Phillips writes.
"Perhaps the Massachusetts Tea Party will step up with someone to challenge him in 2012. That, unlike Scott Brown, is not an April Fools' joke. "
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.