Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is deservedly taking some hits for his cooperation with the Democrats on a so-called jobs bill. I point out in the current issue of the print magazine (not yet online) that Brown is likely to do some things that disappoint conservatives. He’s up for reelection in two years, he represents a Democratic state, he ran hard on his independence and the need to return bipartisanship to Washington, he’s hired some of Ted Kennedy’s immigration staffers, and he’s not going to be able to afford voting with the GOP leadership 90 percent of the time.
That said, some perspective is in order. This $15 billion compromise is going to look like small change if Brown contributes to the defeat of a $1 trillion health care bill. Brown wasn’t the only Republican to support this jobs bill. And he still could vote against it if it is larded up with more pork before final passage. Brown should be taken for what he is — a positive sign for Republicans, a good example for people more conservative than he as to how to win elections in this political climate, and an occasional brake on Democratic excess. Prematurely crowning him a conservative hero, a Ronald Reagan with a Boston accent, is likely to lead to disappointment.