Beware of a tall, handsome stranger

Hey, remember that time Scott Brown came to Vermont and held a fundraiser that reportedly lost money?

The $125-a-head private reception at the Rutland Holiday Inn began with veggies, dip and libations. After small talk and speculations about who might run for governor, the party of nearly 50 moved into the dining room for dinner and Brown’s speech.

“Nearly 50,” you say. All righty then, let’s give ’em the benefit of the doubt and round up to 50. That’s a gross of $6,250?

I have no idea how much it costs to run a shindig for Republican bigwigs, but it’s safe to say the event was not a success.

Well, ex-Sen McDreamy just held a big-deal event in New Hampshire, where he’s about to establish residency (in the tony seacoast enclave of Rye) and is doing a high-profile Hamlet act on whether to run for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

And how did the Nashua fundraiser go?

Er…

…protesters outnumbered activists who coughed up $50 to see Brown.

The tally: About 90 people inside; over 200 protesters outside, according to the NH Union Leader. (A majority were gun-rights activists, some dressed in hunting gear and carrying guns.) And Brown, brave stalwart that he is, “snuck in [the] back door,” said longtime political reporter Kevin Landrigan.

Sheesh.

Leaving aside the brutal optics for a moment, just think about the dollars. A prominent Republican ex-Senator who might just be his party’s candidate, giving a speech in NH’s second-largest city, manages to gross a woeful $4,500. Looks like another money-losing “fundraiser” for ol’ Scotty Too Hotty.  

The ex-Senator is supposedly the Great White Hope of the state party, whose other Senate hopefuls include two-state joke Bob Smith and far-right activist Karen Testerman (think of her as the Nancy Sheltra of New Hampshire). But hardly anybody shows up for his event. And his track record of occasional moderation in hopes of flummoxing the Massachusetts electorate now serves to completely alienate the hard-core base of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

I do have a serious thought, in addition to the irresistible chance to have a good guffaw at Brown’s expense. Which is, how much appeal does a “moderate” Republican actually have? There’s a lot of talk about Third Way centrists and moderate Republicans who can recapture the political center. But while that idea has a lot of appeal to the political pundit class, the bumble-stumble-fumble of Scott Brown makes me wonder how many actual voters would flock to a centrist’s banner.

It also makes me wonder whether Vermont’s own avatar of moderation, Phil Scott, really has broad appeal. How would he actually do if he had to run a serious, issue-oriented campaign? How would he manage the tightrole walk of establishing moderate credentials without making himself anathema to the conservative base?

I realize that Scott Brown is not Phil Scott, even though they are very similar in many ways. But you’d think that if Scott Brown is an exemplar for Republican victory in a blue state, then why can’t he headline a fundraiser without losing money on the deal?  

One thought on “Beware of a tall, handsome stranger

  1. at one point NH was known for sending carpetbaggers South, now Mass seems to be sending their share North.  First Jack the Wack tried to get a Vermont Senate Seat, now Brown the Clown is venturing into NH…   I would hope those folks would keep their tradition of not trusting anyone from anywhere and not allow him onto the ballot, but who knows really what NH folk will do????

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