( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
This isn’t an anti-Brown posting by any means. I have no doubt that Massachusetts Republicans are much better off if Scott Brown wins a full term in the US Senate. He serves as both the public face of the party, reminding Massachusetts voters that Republicans do exist in the state, and as an inspiration to Republican foot soldiers. I think everyone ought to do everything within their power to secure his victory in November.
Having said that, is a Scott Brown loss the worst thing that could happen for Massachusetts Republicans? I don’t think so. The MAGOP organization has often been criticized for excessive focus on the top of the ballot and ignoring down-ballot races. We shouldn’t be guilty of the same mistake. Brown is up against a significant headwind in terms of the presidential election. Does anyone doubt that Brown will outperform Mitt Romney here in Massachusetts? Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has been flooded with outside money as the national Democratic establishment works their tails off to help her. From a national perspective, the simple fact that the Democrats are having to devote significant effort and money to Massachusetts helps Republicans in the battle for control of the Senate.
So if Scott Brown’s victory isn’t the most important thing, what is? I’d say it’s securing and expanding upon the gains made by Republicans in the state legislature in 2010. Republicans currently hold 33 seats in the House of Representatives. If they still have more than 30 after the 2012 election, I’d consider that an acceptable result because it would mean entrenching some of the 2010 intake. It’s very difficult to dislodge an incumbent once they win a second term. In fact, Democrats don’t even bother to mount serious challenges to most Republican state legislators in their second term or beyond. If Republicans make net gains in the House, all the better. The 4 Senate seats currently held by Republicans seem safe, and there are possibilities for gains there too. The legislature is important, not just for influence over state policy but because it should serve as the farm team for future congressional and statewide candidates.
Don’t get me wrong. Scott Brown winning a full term in the Senate or one or more Republicans winning US House races would be nice. But ask yourself which situation you’d rather have when you wake up on November 7:
A) Scott Brown re-elected, Richard Tisei defeats John Tierney, Republicans drop to 24 seats in MA House and 3 seats in MA Senate
B) Brown and all Congressional candidates lose, Republicans increase to 40 seats in MA House and 6 seats in MA Senate.
If forced to choose, give me option B.