Skip to comments.Two Down, Two to Go: Scott Brown Outshines Elizabeth Warren in MA Senate Debate
Posted on 10/02/2012 3:48:39 AM PDT by Kaslin
Tonight marked the second of four scheduled debates between incumbent Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. The topics of discussion ranged from the personal to the substantive -- allowing both candidates ample opportunity to make their pitch to voters. So lets dive right in. The following is my gut reaction to how each candidate performed:
Scott Brown is a gifted debater. He was poised, prepared and aggressive all night -- always ready with a quick riposte to any misleading or factually inaccurate charge leveled against him. And he was relentless. When Elizabeth Warren asserted that she did indeed self-identify as a Native American, Brown raised the incontrovertible fact that at the pinnacle of her academic career -- after receiving tenure at Harvard Law School -- she suddenly and inexplicably stopped publicly listing herself as an ethnic minority in 1995. He further criticized her initial response to this ongoing scandal (for lack of a better term), suggesting she deliberately mislead the public after the Boston Herald broke the story. Again, of course, he called for her to release her personnel records -- a request I highly doubt she will take seriously, let alone comply with. As expected, Brown also noted that his opponent has a propensity to represent big corporations, often times obtaining substantial fees as compensation for her legal services. This challenge effectively took an axe to the otherwise cheery narrative that Elizabeth Warren is somehow a candidate of the people. In short, I felt Warrens rebuttals during this segment were woefully inadequate for the charges leveled against her. And her inability to set the record straight might have tilted the debate in Senators Brown favor.
On a different note, as I discussed in my preview post, one of the challenges Senator Brown faces is that the Massachusetts electorate overwhelming supports Barack Obama for re-election. Doubtless understanding this, Scott Brown -- on several occasions-- explicitly mentioned instances when he reached across the aisle to support The Ones legislative agenda. For example, he noted how he supported the Hire A Hero Act of 2011 (S. 367) -- and was deeply proud to stand with the president when he signed it into law. A good idea is a good idea wherever it comes from, he intoned. He also made repeated references to the fact that he was ranked the second most bipartisan Senator in Congress -- I vote fifty percent with my party and fifty percent with the Democratic Party -- and stated he would continue the tradition if re-reelected. Interestingly, when asked if he would vote to re-elect Mitch McConnell as Senate Minority Leader (or Majority Leader, depending on the outcome of the election) he said he was disgusted by the partisanship in Washington. [McConnell] has a lot to do to earn my vote, he snarked. I suspect this was a deliberate attempt to distance himself from the deeply unpopular Massachusetts GOP -- a party he at times seems to forget counts him as a member.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he sought to portray his opponent as a tax-and-spend Leftist an intransigent liberal Democrat opposed to working with Republicans. And it may have worked. Indeed, Elizabeth Warren came dangerously close to committing the nights first and only gaffe. When asked what Republican Senator in Congress, specifically, she would work with if elected to the upper chamber, she replied Richard Lugar, a soon-to-be retired lawmaker who (involuntarily) lost his primary bid this year. Go figure. Of course, Brown made quite sure the audience understood the implications of her response.
Elizabeth Warrens performance on the whole was quite balanced. She seemed less nervous than last time around -- and it showed. Her best -- and perhaps most expected -- line of attack was accusing Scott Brown of signing an extremist right-wing pledge not to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, voting instead on numerous occasion to side with Big Oil and Corporate America. (Incidentally, Brown correctly pointed out that his opposition to the so-called Buffett Rule, which she indirectly referenced, would only raise enough revenue to fund the government for one day.) That said, I was genuinely baffled when she (once again) argued that Scott Brown voted against three jobs bills that would have brought tens of thousands of jobs to Massachusetts. The reason he opposed them, of course, is because the legislation was (a) fiscally irresponsible and (b) raised taxes on job creators during a recession. It is particularly worth noting that all three bills were summarily rejected by both political parties, according to Brown.
A few parting thoughts:
Conspicuously missing from tonights showdown was an in-depth discussion about womens issues including contraception, abortion and womens reproductive rights. This was somewhat surprising, as it was a major topic of discussion in the last debate. One issue that did come up, however, was whether or not the candidates supported the DREAM Act. As expected, Elizabeth Warren blithely asserted she supported the legislation unequivocally, whereas Scott Brown conceded he opposed it -- on the grounds that it was tantamount to amnesty. Although immigration reform is unlikely to impact voters decisions at the ballot box in November, its rather telling that when Brown suggested his opponent holds far-left views -- namely, she supports in-state tuitions rates and state-issued drivers licenses for illegal immigrants -- she offered no rebuttal whatsoever. Interesting. In any case, kudos to NBCs David Gregory, whom I thought did an excellent job moderating the debate by demanding that each candidate answer difficult and contentious questions directly and without equivocation.
In the end, as might be expected, I thought Scott Brown was the clear winner this evening. But what do you think? Was my analysis spot-on or wildly off the mark?
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below
Just from general observations, but I think Warren is getting zero numbers from the debate, and possibly losing some on independent voters. So, going past one debate might not be smart for her.
Gregory spent the debate interrupting and attacking Scott Brown. It often seemed like a debate between Brown and Gregory, with Warren as an audience member. True, Gregory disputed with Warren a time or two -- but his was not an even-handed approach.
And Boston TV this morning tells me that Warren "won".
So, there you go. Get ready for Obama's smack-down of Mitt Romney tomorrow. The stories are already at the printing plant.
Granny has to know that she’s been found out. She reminds me of a drunk driver who has been pulled over and is failing all of the field sobriety tests. She’s hoping against hope that the cop can’t tell she’s “hammered”... Please turn around and put your hands behind your back, Granny...
The whole of political discourse and debate in Massachuetts is, from the point of view of the people in “flyover country”, somewhere out in a fever swamp, where rules of logic and reason are discarded, and emotion is the controlling factor.
Law and precedent be damned. There is little or no attempt to argue a point on its merits (though Brown does, to his credit, at least mention bipartisanship). This is a struggle between serpent and rodent, each with different modes of defense and attack.
The lesser of two evils, it turns out, is STILL evil, but in the spirit of attempting to domesticate and bring forth a more tranquil existence, is still tractable to some compromise and would, on occasion, relinquish some point that seems like surrender at first, but is only an operational tactic.
It may be that Scott has determined this line is better used closer to election time and/or that he wants more verification and facts to utilize... but come on, it's devastating.
Had Brown not turned his back on conservatives after getting elected to the senate, he would be well ahead in his current race.
Scott Brown never claimed to be a conservative, he has always classified himself as an independent and still does. I'll take him over lyin' lizzie any day of the week because I know that he will vote with republicans at least 80% or more of the time, whereas lyin' lizzie will never ever cross party lines to vote with republicans.
Another Pelosi, she talks with her hands.
You are aware this is Massachusetts, not Mississippi, right?
And not to mention that BO has most likely been given the questions.
CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY THE GOP DIDN’T INSIST ON A CONSERVATIVE MODERATOR FOR AT LEAST 0*N*E DEBATE???!!!
You're kidding, right? Show me when some 100% conservative has ever won in Massachusetts. It just isn't going to happen and if we hold onto that fantasy, we will never elect Republicans in deep Blue states like MA. Brown is conservative enough. The goal in MA is to have a senator who votes for Republican leadership in the Senate. If that's all we get, I'm fine with that.
Tisei is running as a Republican, and is being slammed in television ads for his extremist right-wing views.
Says something about my little state, I think.
Can you imagine Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell moderating a debate?
I find Massachusetts absolutely fascinating. I believe that I read that Boston has more universities than any other city in the US. And the standard-bearer for these universities, indeed for all US universities, Harvard, refuses to fire Lizzy Warren. Harvard’s motto is “TRUTH”. The worst kind of lie you can tell is the lie you tell to yourself. The administration at Harvard is lying to itself about Lizzy. It’s time for them to live up to their motto or shut their doors.
I watched the debate, and was surprised that Brown failed to bring up the issue of Warren’s lack of a law license in Mass...the story has legs...lots of people are now digging into it..so I was perplexed..or is a crafty Brown allowing rthe story to grow, and saving it for the next debate(s)?
Name one in the MSM...
...and while you're a it, please stop shouting...
I’d like to see Matt Drudge moderate a debate.
It's actually quite simple. Democrats will insist on the "objectivity" of their moderators with a straight face, and republicans will not call them on their blatant lie. This is how they get away with their anti-foxnews meme. Looked at dispassionately, Foxnews is only moderately republican leaning, and that is only in comparison with the blatant leftist lean of all the other networks. However, you'll never find any pressitutes admitting this beyond maybe msnbc, which barely gets ratings above the fireplace channel.
The other major issue is that the political establishment sees no benefit whatsoever in allowing an actual conservative point of view be given a nationwide showcase.