Senator Scott Brown is planning to deliver a speech this afternoon focused on bipartisanship and titled, “Americans First,” but he previewed his thoughts earlier this week during remarks to a pro-business trade group.
Speaking Monday to The New England Council, the Massachusetts Republican not only differentiated himself from the Democrats composing the rest of the state’s congressional delegation, but many of his colleagues in Congress and his likely reelection opponent this fall, Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
“I’m the only guy in the delegation, and one of the only guys in the US Senate, working with any person of goodwill to solve our country’s problems,” Brown said.
Then, taking particular aim at Warren, who once said that she has “thrown rocks” at people who are wrong, he added: “At a time when we have plenty of rock-throwers, we don’t need ideologues, we don’t need partisan players down there. We need good people who want to work with people to solve problems. Period. That’s the deal down there.”
Brown rattled off colleagues who share his approach - including Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, and Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine - before providing his perspective on the rest of the Senate membership.
“There’s probably about 45 kind of rock-solid, in the middle, trying to move our country forward. Then there’s about 20 who kind of float in and out, depending on the issues,” the senator said. “And, then, on the left and the right, it’s like, ‘Really? You’re kidding me? Seriously? Where are you from again? Remind me never to visit there. I’m all set.’”
Brown is speaking this afternoon at Bunker Hill Community College, his latest stop in what has been a busy week of official business and reelection campaigning across Massachusetts.
During his 20-minute speech on Monday, he repeatedly touted a Congressional Quarterly study that said he was the second-most bipartisan senator last year, voting with his party just 54 percent of the time.
Brown said that distinguishes him from the other members of the state’s congressional delegation, and explains why he was able to look on as President Obama recently signed two of his bills into law.
“Every other member of the delegation here votes 97 percent with their party,” the senator said. “Think of it: 54-97. Is there a reason why I was in the White House two weeks ago? Is there a reason that I have five bills (enacted)?”
The CQ study used different methodology from an oft-cited Washington Post review which has found that Brown votes with the Republican Party 75 percent of the time. CQ examines issues only where the two parties are at loggerheads; the Post counts all votes. The differing rankings are often cited by both parties to make their respective points.
As he addressed the roughly 200 business leaders, Brown conceded that he has been “banging heads” with some of them.
But he cast himself as a problem-solver focused on everyday issues affecting the quality of life, including job creation.
“People say, ‘Scott, what have you done to help with job creation?’ Well, I think I’ve done more than most. I really do,” said Brown.
He cited four jobs fairs he has already held across the state, and two more that are upcoming. Collectively, they have attracted about 7,000 people for face-to-face meetings with over 300 employers.
He also highlighted his work to ban insider trading by members of Congress; promote group investments known as “crowd-funding”; provide tax credits to businesses hiring veterans; restructure financing at the US Postal Service; and ensure casualties are properly buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
“Some of you – not all of you – voted for me, I know that, I know that,” Brown said. “But I hope I’ve earned your respect and trust knowing that I read the bills, folks. I understand them, see how they affect Massachusetts, our country, our debt, and our deficit, and I vote.”
The senator added: “There’s a lot of misinformation out there. You think I’m with my party 100 percent of the time. Listen, I don’t work for Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid; I work for you. That’s what you sent me down there for. You sent me down there not to be like the others. And I’ve done exactly what you sent me down there to do.”Glen Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.