Tired of cookie-cutter political contests between hauntingly similar candidates? Then you’re going to like the upcoming race for one of the Senate seats in the late Ted Kennedy’s haunting grounds. Elizabeth Warren, best known for creating and fighting for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is hoping to challenge Republican incumbent Scott Brown. They’re both qualified, but they couldn’t be more different — personally or politically.
1. It seems a bit of a stretch to say the two candidates “couldn’t be more different personally.” Brown is a 52-year-old married white lawyer with two children. Warren is a 62-year-old married white lawyer with three children. According to Wikipedia, they both had middle-class backgrounds, Brown in Massachusetts and Warren in Oklahoma, and they suffered some personal and financial challenges during their childhood. Brown and Warren may very well have strikingly different personalities but Easterbrook presents no evidence for that claim.
2. It’s even more difficult to plausibly claim that Warren and Brown “couldn’t be more different politically.” Yes, Warren is a liberal Democrat, but Brown is not a conservative Republican. He’s a moderate, and is as liberal as a Republican as you’ll see in the contemporary U.S. Senate.
What’s the evidence that Scott Brown is moderate, not conservative? See here (from Jan 2010) and here (May 2010). There aren’t a lot of moderate Republicans in Congress, but Brown is one of them. See here for details from Boris Shor.
In all seriousness, I think Reuters should fire Easterbook and replace him with Boris Shor. Boris is a professor at the University of Chicago who did the research predicting that Scott Brown would be a political moderate in the Senate. This was a prediction that Boris made publicly, in advance of Brown’s special election. Boris is a political scientist, he knows a lot about politics, he’s a serious guy with interesting ideas. Unless Reuters is afraid of losing their football-fan readership, I think they should invite Boris to write a column for them.
If Reuters really doesn’t want to lose Easterbrook, they could give him a lateral move to their “Life & Culture” section.
P.S. Amazingly enough, Easterbrook’s column was reposted at the Washington Monthly website. I thought the Washington Monthly had better taste than that!