The New Scott Brown Likes the New Mitt Romney

Romney will campaign for Brown in New Hampshire, undoing the distance Brown kept from the presidential candidate in 2012.

This week came news that Scott Brown has forgotten whatever coolness he felt for Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign and will proudly accept Romney’s endorsement for the Senate seat in New Hampshire. The Washington Post reports:

In an e-mail set to go out to supporters Tuesday morning, Brown, a former Massachusetts senator, says that he will campaign with Romney on July 2 in Stratham. Praising Romney and slamming President Obama, Brown laments the outcome of the 2012 presidential race.

“Oh, how we all wish things had turned out differently!” Brown writes. He argues that Romney was “right about so many things, whether the subject is the still-sputtering economy, an aggressive Russia moving to expand its sphere of influence, or the vacuum left in Iraq by the failure to leave behind a residual force to secure our hard-fought gains.”

This isn’t a reversal in position so much as a reversal in tone from Brown’s 2012 race in Massachusetts, when Romney was set to lose his home state by a healthy margin. Brown had to disagree with Romney’s comments in the infamous 47 percent video. On CNN, he said of his party’s candidate for president, “I’m going to continue to do my job and he can do his.” Brown even showed footage of himself with President Obama in ads.

But, of course, neither Brown nor Romney is playing the same game they were playing two years ago. The New-Old Romney has returned, in some respects, to his moderate Republican ways, playing the part of a voice of reason in the party. He criticized the Republican shutdown effort. He said the New Hampshire police chief who referred to President Obama as a racial slur should resign. Romney lost New Hampshire in the general election, but he isn’t unpopular there.

Brown, meanwhile, is also playing a different game. He’s running for Senate in a different state, one where Romney’s name is not verboten. And rather than court the Democrats, he’s running in an actual Republican primary. (Not even Charlie Baker is doing that in race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.) Romney may have lost New Hampshire in the general, but he won in the primary. Rather than distance himself from national Republicans, Brown needs to burnish his GOP credentials.

So as Brown moves right and Romney swings left, the two seem to be meeting in the middle. And that middle is Stratham, New Hampshire, on July 2, where two Massachusetts politicians will court New Hampshire Republicans. Politics is a strange game.