Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown's surprising January special election victory made him an instant Tea Party hero and threatened the survival of health care reform. But it passed anyway, and then Brown voted for every other Democratic bill. Will he survive?
Remember this man, "Scott Brown"? He drove a pickup truck and was usually naked, in magazines. These things were good enough to win him John F. and then Ted Kennedy's Senate seat of 60+ years. On election night, he vowed to kill health care reform, and then tried to auction off his daughters (one of whom was a fameball.) Everyone wanted him to become president immediately.
But two months later, Nancy Pelosi's House passed a version of the health care bill that the Senate had passed before the "Scott Brown Era," and it became law. Ever since, Brown has provided the Democratic leadership with crucial swing votes on financial regulatory reform, the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" repeal, the START Treaty, and... what else? Oh yes, the one that started it all: A "yes" vote on some forgotten "jobs bill" from 10 months ago, which was just a couple of unoffensive small business tax credits.
No primary challenger has emerged, and it is unclear whether a newcomer could wage a serious fight against Brown and his $6.8 million war chest.
But the threat of a primary challenge from conservatives - as well as the potential that national Tea Party groups will withhold financial support - appears to have grown, according to the movement's activists. Brown's votes in the past week follow his crucial support for the overhaul of financial regulations, which remains a particular sore point with conservatives.
"I think that there will be a primary challenge,'' said Christen Varley, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party. "There's enough of an underground movement in the Tea Party movement as seeing him as not being conservative enough. There probably will be multiple people who attempt to run against him.''
Who could beat Scott Brown, the "White Barack Obama," in a Massachusetts Republican primary? Are there any actual smart people in Massachusetts? Maybe that smart Harvard janitor guy from Good Will Hunting. He was smart at math and history. Who was this diamond in the rough? It was Matt Damon. Matt Damon is the only Massachusetts Republican who could beat Scott Brown in a primary.