Our opinion: Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate
When Scott Brown ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, the Republican won political points by declaring the position he sought to be the "people's seat." Unfortunately, he has failed to be the people's senator, routinely voting on behalf of the special interests who are favored by Republican Party leadership in Washington. The people of Massachusetts who elected him to office have taken a back seat to those interests.
In Senator Kennedy and Senator John Kerry, Massachusetts is accustomed to aggressive advocates who are players on the national scene even when their political party is in the minority. In contrast, Mr. Brown has been a back-bencher, adopting few causes and checking the prevailing political winds before voting. His Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, is already a player on the national scene because of her successful advocacy for consumer protections following the Wall Street-generated economic collapse. If elected Tuesday, she is likely to pick up where Senator Kennedy left off.
Because tea party Republicans are deeply unpopular in Massachusetts, Senator Brown has tried to sell himself as a political moderate, but his record says otherwise. He voted with party leadership about 90 percent of the time until Ms. Warren entered the race, at which he lowered the percentage to 75 in a Romney esque bid to scramble belatedly to the center. He either voted against or to filibuster three jobs bills, most notably the Re build America Jobs Act, while complaining about the high unemployment rate. He then voted against an extension of unemployment benefits while supporting continued tax breaks for the wealthy. He voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act assuring women are paid equally to men for doing the same job.
Senator Brown's vote in favor of the Dodd-Frank bill tightening regulations on the financial industry was undermined by his efforts to weaken the legislation, and the financial support he receives from Wall Street speaks volumes. In contrast, the financial barons who sent the economy crashing down fear Ms. Warren, and with good reason. The Harvard professor came to Washington to help craft a consumer protection agency, and succeeded in doing so. Denied a chance to run it by a threatened Republican filibuster, she ran for Senate instead. Ms. Warren offers expertise on financial issues, and as she demonstrated during a meeting with The Eagle's editorial board, passion for the cause of helping the middle class survive and thrive in challenging economic times.
In the campaign, Ms. Warren has strongly advocated medical and green energy research, two areas in which Massachu setts can win jobs by moving to the forefront. Senator Brown has been absent on both fronts. As an educator, she knows that the student-debt crisis is hurting young people now and will hurt the U.S. competitively in the future. She will fight for the reforms Re publicans have not allowed to gain traction. Ms. Warren will defend the rights of women under assault from Republicans nationwide. In contrast, Senator Brown supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have placed abortion and contraceptive rights in the hands of employers, and his voting record sabotages his claim to be pro-choice.
Control of the U.S. Senate may be determined in part by this election, and a vote for Scott Brown could be a vote that puts anti-women's rights, anti-environmental protection, and anti-consumer senators in charge of key Senate committees. These extremists have no connection to the views and principles of a vast majority of Massachusetts voters. A vote for Mr. Brown could also lead to a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which benefits Americans by cracking down on the abuses of private insurance companies.
As did Senators Kennedy and Kerry, Senator Brown spoke up on behalf of Crane & Company in Dalton when the dollar coin lobby made one of its periodic appearances, and we believe a Senator Warren would do the same. It was apparent during her recent visit to Pittsfield that she has developed an affinity for the city and county that will be to the area's benefit if she is elected Tuesday.
Senator Brown relies heavily on his pickup-driving, nice-guy image, but that image was belied by the negativity of his campaign against Ms. Warren. His assertions that Ms. Warren used her Native Ameri can heritage to gain advantage in her academic career are unsupported, but it wasn't until his staffers were filmed engaging in tomahawk chops and war whoops to mock his rival that he began letting them go. His claims that Ms. Warren worked against the interests of sufferers from asbestos-related illnesses and their families in the settling of a lawsuit she advised on are wrong, and he didn't abandon them until he had insulted the beneficiaries of Ms. Warren's actions when they spoke up in her defense.
Mr. Brown's harsh campaign should raise suspicions in voters that he has no accomplishments upon which to run. Ms. Warren does as a consumer advocate, and if elected, she will resume the tradition of Massachu setts senators who fight for the average man and woman, not the wealthy and the politically connected. The Berk shire Eagle en dorses Elizabeth Warren for U.S. senator from Massachusetts.
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