The American Republican Party has produced a parade of illusionists as candidates in recent years. Now you see one kind of candidate, now you see someone entirely different. Only the candidate’s name remains the same. Mitt Romney is an example. To become governor of Massachusetts, he presented himself as a pro-choice moderate, but when the time came to seek the Republican nomination for president, he became a hard-line, pro-life conservative.
John McCain is another example of the way candidates have become transmogrified to appeal to the shifting political winds. The erstwhile “maverick” is campaigning hard to the right as he seeks reelection to the U.S. Senate.
The list goes on and on. To pander to a recent surge in conservative extremism, Republican politicians have undergone complete makeovers. Gone are the “compassionate” masks of yesteryear. The new face of Republicanism reflects the selfishness, bigotry and anti-intellectual brutishness of the Tea Party mob.
The latest illusionist is Scott Brown, the former Cosmo centerfold who is challenging Martha Coakley for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts. In their crusade to break the 60-vote super majority the Democrats have in the U. S. Senate, conservatives campaigned frenziedly for Brown. Far-right organizations from across the country, such as the Tea Party Patriots, poured money and manpower into the Republican candidate’s campaign.
Brown, who had just $367,150 in his campaign account on January 1, pulled in $1.3 million in a 24-hour online blitz. His campaign contributions include $500,000 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and $200,000 from the Tea Party movement.
The resulting campaign has been so persuasive that the latest polls show Brown leading Coakley, and President Obama was obliged to make a last-ditch appeal to the Democratic base over the weekend in a desperate attempt to save Tuesday’s special election.
Brown’s popularity is astounding in true-blue Massachusetts, which has been reliably Democratic for decades. It seems he has somehow convinced the state’s voters that he is a “moderate.” He has disavowed any association with the Tea Party movement, and he was profiled in the Boston Globe as being “basically in favor” of abortion rights.
What puzzles me is why anyone would accept this totally false image. Brown picked up the support of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life because of his opposition to abortion rights, stem cell research and health care reform.
And he is closely linked to the Tea Party movement. For example, on January 2, Brown’s campaign hosted a breakfast that was sponsored by the Greater Boston Tea Party.
There’s no doubt that Brown is just another hard-line conservative dedicated to blocking health care reform and turning back the clock for women’s rights. Yet somehow he has managed to masquerade as a “moderate.”
It is inconceivable that the people of Massachusetts would want the real Scott Brown as their representative in the U.S. Senate. We can only hope that the majority of voters have not been duped by a master of illusion.