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Sunday, June 24, 2018

When Scott Brown announced on Friday that he will not seek the seat John Kerry is vacating in the U.S. Senate, Republicans immediately became so distraught that you expected Karl Rove to appear on Fox News telling us that it was premature to assume Brown wasn’t running.

The former Cosmopolitan centerfold is virtually the GOP’s only hope of a red Bay State Senate seat.

By Saturday, some Republicans were so desperate that they were floating the idea that Ann or Tagg Romney should run for the seat – even though Mitt lost the state less then three months ago by 23 percent.


Of course, Scott Brown’s brief, ridiculous ascendency to the Senate symbolizes everything that went wrong in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Brown’s win was called the first victory in the Tea Party wave of 2010.

This oversimplified version of history ignores two central facts. Most of what the Tea Party got credit for was actually achieved by Fox News’ unprecedented decision, as the nation’s most popular cable “news” network, to actually organize on behalf of the Republican Party. Secondly, Brown owed his victory more to a flood of Wall Street cash than to any populist movement.

Though anyone who wonders why no executives are in prison for their role in the financial crisis and how we let the big banks get bigger than ever obviously forgets that the Tea Party movement was used to push Wall Street’s agenda, ensuring no banks or bankers ever suffered any real consequences for shattering the global economy. Without a political movement behind them, Congress and the Justice Department melted before the power of a banking industry that had been bailed out and allowed to continue lobbying without restriction.

Brown seized on the frustration of the worst economy in 50 years by promising to be the 41st vote against giving the rest of the nation Massachusetts’ health care plan. He failed in killing the Affordable Care Act but succeeded in the mission that will make him a very rich man.

Wall Street generally liked Obamacare, which mandates the purchase of a private product for a public good.

They hired Scott Brown to water down Dodd-Frank reforms of the financial system, and that he did.

The young senator used Ted Kennedy’s old seat to singlehandedly weaken one of the most important aspects of Wall Street reform – the Volcker Rule.

This rule limits banks’ ability to speculate in the risky investments that led to the financial crisis. To get his crucial 60th vote, the Senate let Brown rewrite the regulation exactly how the banks wanted it and then continued to shape it in their favor it once it became law.