Scott Brown is the Most _________* Man In America

*Fill in the blank. He’ll be whoever you want him to be.

If the Wayland High incident were a standalone gaffe, Brown could be excused. But he has said a lot of uncouth stuff over the years. In 2007, he went to King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham to argue once more against gay marriage, and instead turned to comments from a Facebook page that King Philip students had created with the support of a history teacher who backs gay rights. The comments attacked Brown and his family, often vulgarly, and Brown found this to be a teaching moment. With anger in his voice he shamed the teenage authors by reading their comments aloud. The superintendent later said it was inappropriate language for a school setting. Brown agreed — which was why he had read the comments.

Even those who disagreed with the bully tactics could understand why Brown used them. His family had been attacked and he wanted to show that actions have consequences. Other moments of extemporaneous Scott Brown aren’t so easy to comprehend. There’s the plain silly: During his U.S. Senate victory speech he told a televised audience his daughters were “available.” There’s the weird: He came close to condoning the deadly actions of libertarian Joe Stack, the irate Texan who flew a plane into the IRS building in Austin, by saying, “I don’t know if it’s related, but I can just sense…people are frustrated.” There’s the incendiary: In 2001, he called it “not normal” for former state Senator Cheryl Jacques and her gay partner to have children. He then belittled the idea that Jacques could step away from public life for familial reasons, calling her new career her “alleged family responsibilities.” Brown later apologized for those remarks.

THESE WERE ALL STUPID COMMENTS, and perhaps the reason why Brown is so carefully managed these days around members of the media who aren’t right-wing talk show hosts. The murmur around Washington, certainly in the press corps, is that the new guy himself isn’t all that bright. But saying dumb stuff is not the same as being dumb. You don’t climb out of an abusive, nonpedigreed youth to the heights of the United States Senate without having something in the way of intelligence.

The intelligence, however, doesn’t extend to policy Brown has sought to enact. This is borne out by his voting record. Of the 187 bills he filed during his 11 years in the Massachusetts House and Senate, only seven became law, according to InstaTrac and House and Senate journals. All seven dealt with the most mundane of issues: municipal aid, which is rarely, if ever, debated on the chamber floor and almost always passes unanimously. Brown last had a bill signed into law in 2002, which means he went his entire tenure in the state Senate (part of 2004 to early 2010) without authoring a single effective bill. (Six of his amendments to existing bills were adopted during that time, according to InstaTrac and state records.)