Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) was really, really super sorry, but due to all the Very Important Work he had to do in the Senate (read: he was one of many adult Senators on both sides of the partisan aisle acting like brats and indulging in obnoxious pissing contests over a fairly routine spending bill, because perma-toddler Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) proposed an amendment to cut U.S. aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan), he was pretty sure he might have to miss his September 20th debate with Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren (the first of their four highly anticipated showdowns).
You know, if those Democrats were mean enough to schedule voting on this Very Important Spending Bill too late in the day on Thursday.
He was really gutted about it, y’all. “[T]he people have sent me down here to do my job — and that’s to vote,” Brown told the Boston Globe. “Voting is “the one thing that I can’t delegate to the staff,” he said in a hallway interview. “I’ve only missed one vote,” he said, blaming the missed vote on a delayed flight.
While it is certainly admirable that Brown is so conscientious about voting, wiser citizens and pundits know that it is what you actually vote for and against that counts. So, points and a gold star for having almost perfect attendance, but demerits for the actual voting record.
Wouldn’t you know it, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada),who has been transmogrifying into a Tough Old Mormon Sonuvagun more and more recently, thought that Brown was trying to weasel out of having a face-to-face debate with Warren and to blame Democrats for any failure on his part to appear as scheduled.
Reid said “fuck this noise” (translated into Mormon swears, that’s “Oh my heck; not so fast, you scrud!”) and swiftly descended from a roiling grey storm cloud to appear on the Senate floor (accompanied by the sounds of rumbling thunder and strains of O Fortuna). Reid then interrupted a surprised, and slightly disgruntled, Sen. Al Franken (who was giving a speech about jobs) to announce that he was scrapping votes for the night:
“We have no more votes today,” [Reid] said. “No more votes today. It’s obvious to me what’s going on. I’ve been to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious there is a big stall taking place. One of the senators who had a debate tonight doesn’t want to debate. Well, he can’t use the Senate as an excuse. There will be no more votes today.”
Here’s the video:
Without an excuse to stay, Senator Brown slunk out of Senate chambers with his tail between his legs and was soon en route to Boston, where the debate organizers ensured that the proceedings continued on as planned.
As Meredith Shiner and Joshua Miller from At The Races put it:
After Reid’s announcement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) attempted to get a unanimous consent request to hold multiple votes tonight leading up to a vote to clear the pending continuing resolution to fund the government. Reid rebuffed this offer, repeating his knock on Brown — without naming the Massachusetts Republican.
“He’s on his way to the airport,” Brown campaign spokesman Colin Reed said. “He’ll be on a 4:30 p.m. flight, and he looks forward to debating Elizabeth Warren.”
Four recent polls found Warren leading Brown, while a fifth found the incumbent with a slight advantage.
Earlier today, local media reported that powerful Boston Mayor Tom Menino will endorse Warren on Friday. Menino, who controls a powerful get-out-the-vote operation, had been mum on who would he endorse for months.
Later that night at the debate, Sen. Brown had his ass handed to him in small, bite-sized niblets by Dr. Warren.
You can watch C-SPAN’s recorded video, read an article by WBUR’s Dan Payne, or check out what other everyday folks think in some DailyKOS reviews like Joan McCarter‘s play-by-play or lynne1‘s commentary.
The best bit from the debate? When Brown answered in the affirmative about believing in global climate change, Warren pointed out that the Senate is up for grabs…and climate and science-denier Inhofe would be overseeing the EPA in a Republican-controlled Senate. Point, set, MATCH! That is exactly the sort of argument that will make the ticket-splitters think twice. (source)
Apparently Brown spent much of his time trying to defend his voting record and attempting to convince viewers that he was really into “bipartisanship” (despite little evidence of that). He also spent time obsessing over Warren’s Native American ancestry (Cherokee and Delaware tribes) and demanding to see her papers, which seemed inappropriate, irrelevant and even slightly racist to several reviewers.
If the next few Brown-Warren debates are equally intense, they ought to be cracking good.