The Flip-Flopping, Unflappable Scott Brown

Scott Brown’s made a career out of inconsistent consistency. It’s a pretty clever move, which is something you don’t associate with Brown, but there it is: an ideology based in his “independent thinking,” he says, which also frees him to vote out of political expedience whenever necessary. This is how Brown could favor universal health care for Massachusetts and, a few years later, still make a Senatorial campaign out of outlawing its national counterpart; it’s how he can earn an 82 percent favorability rating from environmentalists and, just last week, vote to strip the EPA of many of its powers. Yesterday, of course, he wrote that he’d vote against a Republican Medicare plan, after last week saying he’d vote for it.

His record as a U.S. Senator is consistent with his record as a state Senator and representative, which is to say just inconsistent enough, often enough, to please everybody. I said something last year that is just as true of him today, as it will be five, 10, and 20 years from now: Dress up Scott Brown however you wish, because he’ll be whatever you want him to be. He remains a male model to this very day.

The Democrats who plan to run against Brown next year are trying to use Brown’s Medicare switcheroo as a means of attack: He’ll do anything for a vote. Of course he will. He just did. And he does it with enough frequency to be very hard to beat. As Harvard’s Richard Parker told the Globe this morning, “I think he’s in good shape for re-election.” Or, as Brown’s spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told me last year, “After he’s elected to an office, it’s very hard to beat him. That’s what his history shows time and again.”

No one vote will ever harm him, because there will always be other stances like yesterday’s.