Former Sen. Scott Brown shocked and disappointed many here in Massachusetts with his decision not to seek the seat vacated by Sen. John Kerry following the latter’s confirmation as secretary of state.
But in the end, the decision isn’t difficult to understand.
Brown was elected to the Senate in February 2010 to fill out the term of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. Just more than two years later, the Republican was engaged in a brutal and expensive re-election campaign against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. Despite Brown’s moderate, bipartisan record, he was painted as a dangerous Republican extremist by the Democratic establishment. Warren was the victor in November and in January, Brown left the Senate.
Now, just a month later, the other Senate seat from Massachusetts has opened. Again, it is for a partial term. Whoever wins the special election June 25 will almost immediately have to begin a re-election campaign for November 2014.
So it is understandable that Brown would decline to endure three Senate elections in three years. Who wants that hassle? Why would he want to hear, again and again, that he is a foot soldier in the “war on women”? Why would he want to be accused yet again of being a tool of Big Oil and Wall Street special interests? Surely his opponents would once again haul out the 30-year-old Cosmopolitan magazine nude centerfold that helped a 22-year-old Brown pay for law school. It’s all nonsense. But it plays well in Blue Massachusetts.
Brown’s decision exposes the price we pay for one-party rule in Massachusetts. It would be nice to have some diversity of political philosophy in our congressional delegation. It might be helpful to have at least one Republican among our nine representatives and two senators. It would help give the state a prominent voice in Washington whichever party is in power nationally.