by Bill Kavanagh: Frank Bruni's NY Times Magazine piece on Scott Brown makes one think more gently of the new Senator from Massachusetts. While Brown says little in his interview with Bruni to change a general impression of intellectual shallowness and political opportunism, he is nonetheless a subject engendering personal sympathy. I'm not sure that's what Brown was going for as he embarked on a career in the US Senate, but while the Republican flavor-of-the-month isn't going to win any policy initiative contests, his personal history makes for great copy.
The weird stuff we've all heard about, the Cosmo centerfold, the reckless insinuations about the President's parentage, setting up the general public with his daughters, this stuff isn't really better understood after reading Bruni's piece. What is interesting, however, is the illumination of a childhood seriously lacking in male role models, coupled with Brown's ability to overcome lots of emotional (and physical) blows to his young pysche. Brown, like Bill Clinton or any number of love-starved political stars, seems to have started out as the kind of kid you couldn't help rooting for, a boy who managed, despite a troubled childhood, to make good and to win over teachers and neighbors, who helped him to become a successful adult.
One wonders if we wouldn't all be better off if guys like Brown (or Clinton) ended up as grownups helping to resolve the personal and societal issues that made them who they are, perhaps publicizing efforts to combat domestic violence or promoting summer educational programs, instead of looking for substitute love from the electorate. But, hey, that's American politics— and we'll probably see guys like Brown forever, till we get off the politics-as-celebrity kick...assuming that ever happens. Meanwhile, we're taking bets that Brown's dysfunctional story hasn't completely played out in public yet...
Check it out here.
(Kavanagh cross-posts at Bill's Big Diamond .)