Scott Brown, the Senate Candidate Brought to You By Obamacare Hubris

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 14 2014 7:04 PM

Scott Brown, the Senate Candidate Brought to You By Obamacare Hubris

After 11 long and tedious months of speculation, half-term Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is, indeed, seeking a full term in the upper house from New Hampshire. Like anything else in life, the strangeness of the endeavor faded over time and was replaced by boredom. News reports on Brown's announcement, at a two-day regional Republican conference, barely mention the carpetbagging. Brown spent so much time listing his granite birthright—"there were summers at Hoyt’s cabins, exploring on the Rocks along the Rye Coast, playing around at Hampton Beach"—that it might have escaped attention.

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In a short announcement speech, Brown mentioned "Obamacare" no fewer than six times. "A big political wave is about to break in America," he said, "and the Obamacare Democrats are on the wrong side of it." And what did that mean? "There’s only one way to get rid of Obamacare once and for all, and that is to get rid of the Obamacare Democrats who rammed it through Congress and forced it upon the American people."

Like Virginia's Ed Gillespie, a first-time candidate with a bio that included stops in those beloved institutions of lobbying and the Bush administration, Brown's run is an example of Obamacare hubris. The Republican bet is that the backlash to the law will be so intense—"a wave is coming," said Brown—that anyone with a pulse can win on the "repeal" platform.

For as long as Brown had been threatening to run, Democrats had been raising money off the threat. In just a few hours, I got these messages from New Hampshire Democrats:

"Rove, the Kochs and Brown’s other shadowy special interest backers look at Brown and see the chance to pick up a seat in a purple state." (Shaheen campaign)

"Scott Brown is for Scott Brown and the Wall Street and Big Oil millionaires that back him, not New Hampshire." (New Hampshire Democrats)

"Rove, the Koch brothers and national Tea Party groups will dump tens of millions into attacks. Brown himself raised $44 million in his last two races, much of it from Wall Street." (Shaheen again)

After 11 months of rote noncampaigning, get ready for seven and a half months of rote campaigning.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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