Politics

Scott Brown disappoints conservative supporters with vote on Obama jobs bill

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

He’s a hero among the Tea Party activists for showing that the grassroots movement can help get conservative, small government candidates elected.

But Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown’s vote Monday night allowing Obama’s $15 billion jobs bill disappointed some of those grassroots activists who backed him to stand up to, what they say is, out of control runaway government spending.

Brown and four other Republicans joined all but one Democrat in voting for cloture on Monday, which will allow Obama’s bill to come to a vote in the Senate.

“By and large, the Tea Party is a purists’ movement,” said John Loudon, a leader of the Ensuring Liberty PAC that plans to help get Tea Party-friendly candidates elected in 2010. “They don’t want politics as usual. They want limited government and they’re going to see that vote as government politics as usual. It’s more of that, so they’re going to hate it and they’re going to be upset.”

“I’m not personally surprised,” Loudon added. “Disappointed, but not surprised.”

Loudon said Tea Party activists hesitated at first during the Massachusetts Senate race to throw their full support behind Brown, but ultimately “went out on a limb” for him after a “calculated decision” that he could be the 60th vote against health care.

The liberal blogosphere lit up with joy after Brown’s vote. Markos Moulitsas, who runs the liberal blog DailyKos, tweeted on Monday that “Scott Brown was the FIRST vote in favor of today’s jobs bill. He literally couldn’t WAIT to vote with the Dems.”

Eric Boehlert, who writes for the left-leaning press monitoring site Media Matters, sarcastically wrote on his Twitter feed: “Tea Party leaders are drafting a recall Scott Brown petition, right? Right???”

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote on her blog Monday night that “those of us who knew all along what we were getting — a game-changer who vowed to torpedo Demcare, but who was not an ideological conservative — are not surprised.”

“And I pointed out Brown’s moderate record several times on Fox and on this blog during the campaign,” Malkin wrote.

The blog Red State Mass group, a vocal online supporter of Brown during the election, put up a story on Monday suggesting: “Brown’s conservative honeymoon over.” Still, blog operator Rob Eno was not quick to criticize Brown, saying “he has shown his independent streak already.”

“Scott Brown campaigned as an independent populist in Massachusetts. A key component of that was his desire to see people go back to work.  While this bill is not completely what I would hope for in a ‘jobs bill,’ i.e. an across-the-board tax cut, it does include a provision to suspend the payroll tax for those companies hiring unemployed workers. Which I think we can all get behind,” Eno said in an e-mail.

“The vote today on a relatively small $15 billion bill allows him more flexibility to stop more damaging legislation in the future,” Eno added.

Brown’s office could not be reached for comment, but the senator took to his campaign blog Monday night to defend his vote. “I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside, and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families,” Brown wrote. “This Senate jobs bill is not perfect. I wish the tax cuts were deeper and broader, but I voted for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work.”