No crying. We knew this day would come.
“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 said in a statement issued by his office. “This Senate jobs bill is not perfect. I wish the tax cuts were deeper and broader, but I will vote for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work.
“I was disappointed with the continuation of politics-as-usual in the drafting of this bill, as it was crafted behind closed doors, without transparency and accountability. I hope for improvements in that process going forward. All of us, Republicans and Democrats, have to work together to get our economy back on track. I hope my vote today is a strong step toward restoring bipartisanship in Washington.”
Well, look. Obviously he needs to signal the left-leaning indies back home who voted for him that he’ll break their way sometimes. Even armed with a huge war chest for 2012, he ain’t getting reelected as a party-line Republican. In which case, two reasons why this might not be a bad time to throw a vote to the Dems. One: The bill might not pass, even with Brown’s vote. Because of Frank Lautenberg’s illness, Reid only has 59 at the moment with the roll coming up later tonight. If Brown can prove his “bipartisanship” on a bill that’s going down in flames anyway, sweet. Two: Even if it does pass, Reid already had to pare the bill all the way down from $85 billion to just $15 billion to keep the heat from fiscal conservatives off of his caucus ahead of November. What’s left won’t do much to create jobs, but then, that’s not really the point; the point is to give Dems some sort of cosmetic measure to point to in the run-up to the midterms so that they can say, “See, we’re trying to create jobs!” Brown’s strategy, essentially, is to use that logic against them by throwing them a vote he can use to try to keep the seat red in two years.
Stand by for an update once the floor vote begins. All eyes, as usual, are on Ben Nelson. Exit question: On a scale of one to 10, what’s the heart-ache rating on this one?
Update: Cloture passed, with Snowe, Collins, and Voinovich also voting yes. No surprise, really. Like I say, this was a (relatively) cheap way for moderates to purchase bipartisan cred. Or rather, most moderates: Ben Nelson voted no.
Update: Evan Bayh pronounces Scotty B “the cure”:
Retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana said Monday that electing more lawmakers like new Republican Sen. Scott Brown may be the “ultimate cure” for partisan gridlock in Washington.
Brown’s upset victory over a Democrat who held a double-digit lead a week before Massachusetts’ special Senate election last month signaled that voters wanted “more practical problem solving,” Bayh said in an interview Monday on ABC-TV’s “The View.
“Scott Brown is a good example of what I think the ultimate cure might be,” Bayh said. “My read on what happened in Massachusetts is the vast majority of moderates and independents rose up and said enough already.”