The news media / blogosphere have been having too much fun at the expense of the former Cosmo model who could be the key 41st vote if Republicans decide to kill financial reform.
It’s no shock Sen. Scott Brown would oppose it, given the enthusiastic support he got from Wall Street in his recent election, taking the Massachusetts seat long held by Ted Kennedy.
But Brown apparently got a little flustered when a reporter asked him to explain what exactly he was opposed to. It was one of those trick questions: What areas in the bill would Brown like to see fixed?
Brown responded by asking what the reporter thought. “Well, what areas do you think should be fixed?” Brown said. “I mean, you know, tell me. And then I’ll get a team and go fix it.’’
Eat the Press’s Jason Linkins snorted on Huffington Post: “Yes. Some reporter may want to point out the epic collapse of the derivatives market to Scott Brown, and he will assemble a team of... I don't know...sled dogs? To fix it? Is that good? Will that work?”
Brown told the Globe he opposed a consumer financial protection agency because it would add another layer of regulation.
“Which is, of course, true,” pointed out Washington Monthly’s Political Animal Steven Benen. “ That's the point of the legislation. The financial industry went unchecked and nearly destroyed the global economy. That's why the legislation is being considered – to bring oversight and accountability through regulation.”
Brown also faces some hard second-guessing on a novel argument he made against financial reform on Face the Nation last week: it’s a jobs killer. He asserted that it would cost his state 35,000 jobs – about 17 percent of the state’s financial sector workforce.
When the Globe followed up to nail down Brown’s source for that statement, his staff told the newspaper he got the figures from MassMutual, an insurance company based in the state that has opposed financial reform.
But company officials said Brown had misunderstood them; they were talking about job losses the state had already suffered. Even those figures were grossly inflated, the Globe found. According to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the state has lost about 19,000 jobs in the financial sector, which includes the insurance industry, and also at banks, securities firms, investment management companies, and real estate businesses.
A MassMutual official insisted the company agreed with Brown anyway; similar losses could result from financial reform, he insisted. Sen. Brown stood by his earlier statements.
Whatever. A Globe columnist found Brown’s projections, as well as MassMutual’s, preposterous. “The idea that anything in the Senate bill could create additional job losses on a similar scale as the damage caused by the earthquake in the real estate and brokerage industries is simply nuts,” Globe columnist Steven Syre wrote.
Perhaps sensing an opportunity in Brown’s confusion, President Obama put in phone call to Brown from Air Force One.
The president probably didn’t bring up the question posed by Washington Monthly’s Benen: “Do you ever get the feeling that maybe Scott Brown isn't quite ready for prime-time, and that his service in the Senate is more humiliating than it should be?”