Scott Brown understands that the Burger King is just a restaurant name, right — not an actual person? And when he sneaks off to the Dairy Queen for an Oreo Blizzard, that doesn’t actually count as a secret meeting with royalty?
Be worried about Senator Brown. Be very worried. It looks like he’s becoming delusional, starting to believe — and worse, trying to convince others — that he’s far more important than any junior senator has ever been.
Remember that embarrassing episode last spring, after Osama bin Laden was shot dead and the Obama administration didn’t want to display the photographs of the corpse in fear of inciting riots in the Arab world?
While every basement-dwelling conspiracy theorist in the country screamed that bin Laden was still alive, Scott Brown told a television reporter, “Listen, I’ve seen the picture. He’s definitely dead.”
Ends up, there were no photographs. Maybe Brown looked at some hoax on the Internet and thought it was real.
Then we have Thursday, when Brown said on the Eagan and Braude show on WTKK-FM, “Each and every day that I’ve been a United States senator, I’ve been discussing issues, meeting on issues, in secret meetings and with kings and queens and prime ministers and business leaders and military leaders, talking, voting, working on issues every single day.”
Problem is, of course, he hasn’t met with kings and queens, not openly, not secretly, and the assertion is patently absurd in a fairy tale kind of way. His spokesman admitted as much by Thursday afternoon. Maybe Brown saw pictures of Kate Middleton in People magazine and got confused.
It is the oddest of contrasts. On the one hand, Brown diminishes the job he holds with those ridiculous television ads that feature him doing housework and fawning over his wife. He also aired a video last week that was summed up in a campaign press release that read as follows: “Ayla and Arianna share some of their favorite Father’s Day memories growing up, including giving their dad homemade coupons with no expiration dates that he still occasionally tries to redeem.”
On the other hand, he’s telling us he’s the most important man in Washington, his schedule jam packed with double-secret briefings and private lunches with monarchs.
Wouldn’t it be better if it were the other way around, a guy who campaigned on larger ideals, but modestly played down his role in the world?
Before his Buckingham moment, Brown had been having a very good week. He accepted the Kennedy Institute debate with the caveat that Vicki Kennedy stay neutral in the race — a clever and perfectly reasonable demand. Democrats kicked, screamed, and refused; Brown won. He looked even smarter when he accepted the Boston media consortium debate, guaranteeing at least three primetime televised forums during the autumn campaign.
He is by most measures an affable and bipartisan presence in a business that lacks much of either trait these days, and for that, there’s a desire to like him.
But time and again, there are hints of inauthenticity about Brown. He plays the Everyman card while raising buckets of money in New York. He describes his role in the body politic that doesn’t gel with reality. He campaigns as a sitting senator on issues and attributes irrelevant to the job.
Voters know what’s real. The question will come into sharper focus in the coming months: Does Scott Brown?
Brian McGrory is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.