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“Third Time’s The Charm?”: New Hampshire Says ‘No’ To Interloper Scott Brown

In New Hampshire, the Massachusetts invasion has been staved off—for now.

Incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen has been declared the victor in the closely-fought race against Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator who slid across the border to the state where he keeps a family vacation home, declaring residency and announcing his candidacy in one fell swoop.

Brown had achieved national fame in 2009 when he crisscrossed Massachusetts in his pickup truck, going on to defeat attorney general Martha Coakley in a special election for the Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy. That race presaged the Tea Party wave that was to come in 2010. Brown’s victory was short-lived however; in 2012, he was defeated by liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren.

Brown was a favorite of Wall Street and of moderate Republicans cheered by the possibility that a type of Rockefeller Republicanism was returning to the northeast. In the run-up to the midterms, he publicly flirted with running for president, before eventually being lured into the Senate race in neighboring New Hampshire.

It was a long shot to say the least. New Hampshire remains one of the most conservative states in the Northeast, with Republicans regularly competing in the presidential elections, but it is also fiercely independent, and resentful of the encroachment of the Boston suburbs.

Shaheen often played up her local roots. Brown did himself no favors when, in the campaign’s final debate, he seemed to flub a question about basic Granite State geography, calling Sullivan County north of Concord, when it is in fact west of Concord. The Shaheen campaign pounced, spending part of the next day hitting the hustings in Sullivan County.

“The key is that Brown said what he—and probably a lot of other people—think,” wrote a columnist for the Boston Globe. “That ‘anyplace past Concord’ faces the exact same set of issues.”

Brown tried to counter this narrative by focusing on national issues, describing a nation and hence a state that was left insecure and unstable thanks to President Obama’s leadership, and of course, by Shaheen’s support of that leadership. He combined a number of crises facing the president, including the threats of Ebola and ISIS, mismanagement in the Secret Service and child migrants coming over the border, to argue for a change in direction.

Those attacks though fell flat among charges that Brown was an interloper who would vote to limit the reproductive choices of women in the U.S. Senate.

Things took an especially awkward turn for Brown in the race’s final hours, when the former senator was asked by an MSNBC reporter if he planned to move back to Massachusetts if he lost.

Brown did not answer.

 

By: David Freedlander, The Daily Beast, November 4, 2014

November 5, 2014 Posted by | New Hampshire, Politics, Scott Brown | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Running Against History”: It Looks Like Scott Brown May Have Picked Exactly The Wrong State

Republican Scott Brown is not just a pretty face or the first senator to be seen around the Dirksen Senate Office Building in full biking gear for his afternoon rides. How else is he to keep his tall, lean physique in fighting form in the deliberative body? After all, the once senator from Massachusetts may be the future senator from New Hampshire.

But there’s more to that story than switching states. Brown has already earned a unique place in U.S. political history, despite a slender record of service after winning a special election to fill the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate seat in 2010, as he is the first man to fully face the ramifications of the rise in formidable women players running for high office in the past 20 years. The Senate now has an all-time high of 20 women. If Brown wins, he will cut into that peak, reached in 2012. Does he want to cycle against history?

Brown will likely become the only man ever to run in three consecutive Senate races against three women candidates. You read it here first. I say this despite Mark Leibovich’s wry piece in the New York Times Magazine giving Brown the sobriquet, “Superhypothetical.”

Lest we forget, he beat Martha Coakley, the state’s Democratic attorney general, when she forgot to campaign and even took a vacation shortly before the election. Then he lost to feisty Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren in 2012. And now he comes into the fray again — well, almost. Bowing to party pressure, he has formed an exploratory committee in New Hampshire, where his family has a vacation home. That means that he is taking all the right steps to challenge a popular Democrat, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, in the red-flecked Granite state.

Let’s say that Brown is, for all intents and purposes, jumping into the race this spring. That is roughly the consensus among the politerati. Republican party operatives are delirious at the thought that Brown could clinch their goal of painting the Senate red overnight. And he could, because Shaheen is not the only vulnerable Democrat in this cycle. Two Southern Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Pryor, are in deep danger and don’t want any “help” from President Obama.

If the wily Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky becomes the Majority Leader, even by a margin of 51-49, that will effectively doom President Obama’s chances of getting any major legislation passed in his second term. Big money stands by, ready to help Brown become a powerful contender.

In fairness to him, Brown is no Ted Cruz tea partier, but a telegenic New England moderate with some appealing qualities. If Brown declares and engages, New Hampshire will be the most closely watched state on the 2014 political map. Accustomed to the drill, voters there will love the national media trudging through the leaves to take their political pulse. They are an unusually seasoned, sophisticated set of voters in a small state and the outcome is bound to be a close call. For Shaheen, a former governor, the home court advantage could prove decisive.

More interestingly, gender may help Shaheen where she lives; the state’s other senator is a Republican woman, Kelly Ayotte. In fact, the state’s congressional delegation is all female, and the governor is a woman, all of which is the stuff of history. That is hard evidence that Brown will have to pedal uphill in a state that favors electing women, lately.

For Brown, the race will break his personal tie, one way or the other, when it comes to running against women. And it sure looks like he picked exactly the wrong state.

 

By: Jamie Stiehm, Washington Whispers, U. S. News and World Report, March 24, 2014

March 25, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Scott Brown | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mitt’s Legacy”: Health Reform Worked In Massachusetts

On February 8 the Center for American Progress hosted an event featuring Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, where she discussed the success of the Massachusetts health care reform law signed by former Gov. Mitt Romney (R) in 2006.

Attorney General Coakley discussed the framework of the law and explained how it’s played an essential role in providing unparalleled access to health care coverage for Massachusetts residents. She and CAP President Neera Tanden also discussed why the Affordable Care Act’s adoption of the Massachusetts framework fits comfortably within the United States’ constitutional authority.

In her introductory remarks, Tanden said that “the Massachusetts law, though sometimes maligned in our national debates, is actually an incredible success story, and has really demonstrated to the country how effective health care reform can be, and the Affordable Care Act can be.”

She mentioned the new CAP report “The Case for the Individual Mandate in Health Care Reform,” and said that Massachusetts’s embracing of the individual mandate in addition to its nondiscrimination over preexisting conditions has allowed its health care reform to flourish.

Flourish so much, Tanden said, that “98.1 percent of the state’s residents were insured at the end of 2010, compared to 87.5 in 2006, when the health care law started. Almost every child in the state is insured, and premiums in the individual market dropped 40 percent as the Massachusetts law was fully implemented.”

In her speech, Attorney General Coakley described the Massachusetts health care law, saying that “in some, but not all particulars, the Massachusetts Act of 2006 was really the prototype for what has become the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Like the Affordable Care Act, Massachusetts’ reform includes a state-operated health insurance exchange, subsidies for low- and moderate-income individuals, and a mandate that all individuals who can afford health insurance purchase coverage, or an individual mandate.

Coakley said, “The law has resulted in the highest health care access rates in the nation, it has improved both access to and affordability of health care for hundreds of thousands of residents, while maintaining a high level of quality, and I think that’s important.

“We don’t talk about quality so much, but it’s part of what we are concerned about. Access, cost, quality: Ensuring two is relatively easy, if you want to do all three, not so much. And this has been, and is still, our challenge and our goal, and as a work in progress, I think the facts demonstrate that rather than our experiment proving a risk to the rest of the country, Massachusetts as a test laboratory has a lot to offer.”

She said, “We’ve seen significant improvements in the care of our residents. From 2006 to 2010, adults from all income groups, but in particular lower-income adults, experienced a significant decline in reported unmet health care needs due to cost. … we also have seen significant overall economic benefits for our state as a result of this.”

In terms of costs, she said, “[w]e’ve seen a sharp decline in the amount of spending on the so-called ‘free care,’ [when an uninsured person visits an ER, for example, and costs get passed on to the insured in higher rates] about $300 million, and that’s 33 percent less than we spent in 2006.” And nongroup or individual insurance premiums cost 40 percent less.

Attorney General Coakley also discussed why she believes the Supreme Court will not overturn the individual mandate. Massachusetts, she said, is giving a very positive endorsement for the mandate, and it is “a constitutional act by Congress.” It would be quite surprising if the Supreme Court overturned “the 70 years of precedent that have been set” by case law establishing what Congress has constitutional authority to regulate, including commerce such as health care.

After her speech, Attorney General Coakley spoke with Tanden about health reform. In response to an audience question about the constitutionality of the mandate, Tanden said that “when you say that people have coverage when they go to the emergency room, that immediately means that they’ll  be cost-shifting, and the individual mandate is just a way in which people have the same responsibility for their own health care so they’re not shifting costs anymore.”

As Attorney General Coakley asserted, Massachusetts is an essential—and the only U.S. example—of the importance of the individual mandate in ensuring affordable access to health care for all.

 

By: Center for American Progress, February 27, 2012

February 28, 2012 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Health Reform | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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