Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) now says he "expect[s] to support" the Democrats' financial reform bill, after single-handedly winning bank-friendly changes in the legislation. With his support, Democratic leaders will almost certainly have enough votes to beat back a filibuster and pass the landmark legislation. But this support for Obama's agenda isn't sitting well with the Tea Party activists and other conservatives who championed Brown's candidacy in January. Is Brown selling out his base? (Watch a Bloomberg report about Scott Brown's switch)
Brown is proving to be a "masterful" powerbroker: Brown says he's the "key vote" on financial reform, says Noam Scheiber in The New Republic, but he's "almost certainly understating his influence." As "the 41st Republican," his ability to break a GOP filibuster gives him enormous power to shape or break most legislation. And he's wielding that power, and his connection to voters "masterfully."
Tea Partiers have good reason to fume: "For all the talk of being the '41st Senator,'" says Adam Sorensen in Time, "Brown sure has a knack for delivering numero 60 for Harry Reid and Co." Yes, he won some minor concessions in the banking bill, but in the end he's still a "clutch vote for a pillar of the Democratic agenda." Who can blame the "Tea Party types who helped elect Brown" from venting their "buyer's remorse" on his Facebook page?
"Scott Brown: Champion of the Democratic agenda"
Being the "deciding vote" cuts both ways: "It's sad to see Brown cave" on financial reform, says Stephen Spruiell in National Review. But it's understandable. If Brown were the deciding "nay" vote, Democrats would slam him when the next financial crisis inevitably hits, like they did with Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX). If he votes yes, nobody will remember.
Is a RINO worse than a liberal? "Disappointed conservatives" should give Brown a break from all the RINO (Republican in Name Only) "taunts," says Dan Amira in New York Magazine. After all, he still votes with the GOP 80 percent of the time. "That's a hell of a lot better than what the Republicans can expect from the Democrat who beats Brown if he doesn't stay moderate enough for Massachusetts voters."
"Scott Brown will vote for financial reform; Cue 'RINO' taunts"