Wait a Second, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown?
With the Washington Post‘s report that President Obama is considering nominating Sen. John Kerry to be his next secretary of defense, Massachusetts politicos at last have some solid footing on which to base our favorite game: “What if there’s a Senate vacancy?” (It’s like Cranium, only less fun.) Though Kerry is widely thought to desire the secretary of state position, the Post reports that according to “senior administration officials,” Obama will appoint U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to the job and reserve Defense for Kerry. Among the funniest outcomes is the prospect that we might end up with Senators Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, making the last several months of deliberation between the two seem awfully moot.
Though we’ve already played the “what if there is a Senate vacancy in Massachusetts game?” before, this report seriously ups the odds that Gov. Deval Patrick will actually have to appoint a temporary successor and the state will have to undergo another special election. The Globe‘s Glen Johnson notes that a special election gives Scott Brown all the advantages he had in his 2010 race: he won’t have to fight a wave of Democrats coming out to vote for a presidential candidate. Plus there’s no heir apparent among Dems to run against him. So wait … after one of the most expensive Senate races ever and what seemed like endless months of deliberating on the choice of Scott Brown or Elizabeth Warren, the state might actually end up with both Senator Scott Brown and Senator Elizabeth Warren. This is like some cosmic joke. Here’s how Johnson predicts this would work out:
Brown win in the special election would create a situation where the two Bay State colleagues would most likely cancel out each other’s votes on critical issues expected in a second Obama term.
They include any tweaks to Obamacare, any changes to the tax code, and any votes on women’s issues, whether they be related to abortion rights or new justices to the Supreme Court who might decide on any challenge to Roe v. Wade.
That’s kind of unfair given Scott Brown is pro-choice, so we imagine the two wouldn’t diverge on every single women’s issue vote. Also with Democrats picking up Senate seats in November, the addition of a moderate Republican wouldn’t likely change the outcome of any of those votes.
Anyway, a lot stands between Brown and his old Senate office. David Bernstein at The Phoenix describes the obstacles:
The big question everyone has is whether Scott Brown would run. Note that the winner of the special election would need to run again in Kerry’s regular re-election year of 2014 — for Brown, that would be four full-scale, state-wide elections in less than five years. That’s pretty daunting even for someone as indefatigable a campaigner as he is.
So Kerry has to receive and accept the appointment. And Brown has to decide to run in and win an election. But after today’s scoop in the Post, it’s at least a little more likely that we just witnessed a Senate race between our two future Senators.