What changed since the Massachusetts AFL-CIO endorsed Scott Brown in 2008? Mostly Brown’s positions.
by Laura Clawson
In 2008, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO endorsed Scott Brown in his race for state Senate. In 2012, it’s a different story. In a Labor Day op-ed Boston newspapers wouldn’t run, Steven Tolman, president of the state labor federation, writes that in 2008,
Brown did not try to hide his Republican leanings, but he did stress his support for the issues important to the working people of Massachusetts. He mentioned he was a member of two unions—dating back to his time as a magazine model.
But after two short years in the U.S. Senate—manipulated by extremist Republican colleagues—Brown has changed. He has become much more K Street, Washington D.C. than Main Street Wrentham. He is Wall Street’s favorite senator.
Party affiliation did not matter to him then. Now it clearly does.
Do not believe what you are hearing about Brown being an independent voice. He has turned his back on his Massachusetts constituents, regularly siding with the archconservative leaders of his party to the detriment of those of us back home.
The Massachusetts AFL-CIO has endorsed Elizabeth Warren this time around, of course. But as this op-ed reminds us, it’s Brown who changed, not the unions. Once he was in a position to pull in Wall Street money, he left behind his pretense of supporting workers on the issues that matter to them. Now all that’s left of that is the faux-populist veneer, the pickup truck and the Red Sox fandom. It’s quite a contrast with Warren, who Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention said:
People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: they’re right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs—the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs—still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.
And it’s senators like Scott Brown who make that possible, who give the favors and defend the oil company subsidies and vote to protect the wealthy from paying their fair share.