Wasn’t the Boston Herald Scotty B’s single biggest media booster during the campaign for Kennedy’s seat? I seem to recall 80-point headlines screaming “HE DID IT!” and “YES HE DID!” The reason I ask is because today’s story about him skipping this week’s tea party rally back home is their second attempt in three weeks to frame him as some sort of colossal disappointment who’s betrayed the people who voted him in. Remember this dopey hit piece right after the O-Care vote quoting one GOP analyst, one tea party member, and a bunch of Democrats demanding to know, “WHERE IS HE NOW?” Pssst, Herald: He was in the Senate, voting no on reconciliation, just like he promised. How is it his fault that the Democrats found a way to nuke the filibuster and essentially nullify his vote?

That was the old scandal. The new scandal: He’ll be in D.C., in the Senate, on Wednesday instead of hugging it out with tea partiers in Boston. How will they cope with this knife in the back?

Tea Party members said they don’t feel slighted.

“It’s not about paying favors back,” said Mark Williams, chairman of the Tea Party Express, which organized the rally and invited Brown.

“I’d happily forgo (having him) if he’s truly doing the job of the people.

“He has half a century of Kennedy damage to compensate for, after all.”

Barbara Klain, head of the Greater Lowell Tea Party, said Brown also turned down an invite to speak at their April 15 rally in downtown Lowell.

“He said he was going to be in Washington,” Klain said. “He needs to be doing his job.”

He’ll be home on Saturday for the GOP state convention, which tea partiers are also attending. The only evidence of “controversy” in the Herald story is Larry Sabato observing that Brown surely could get away from the Senate to go to the rally but doesn’t want to be seen clinking glasses with Sarahcuda in a deep blue state with reelection two years away. Which is certainly true — and which, as Sabato admits, tea partiers are surely aware of. A more fairminded story would have recognized that as the real angle, not the “snub”: When push comes to shove, tea partiers are a lot savvier about electoral realities than the media caricature of them suggests. (See, e.g., Nevada, where tea party leaders put out an ad slamming the self-styled “tea party” candidate in the race to keep conservatives unified behind the Republican nominee.) In fact, for all the heat Brown’s getting — or rather, not getting — for failing to appear with Palin, I hasten to remind you that Rubio hasn’t tripped over himself trying to get her to come his purplish state of Florida. Via the Shark Tank, here’s Sarahcuda addressing him over the weekend and asking if she can help. Given the state of the race at the moment, I’m thinking the answer is no. Exit question for Massachusetts readers: I’m unfamiliar with the newspaper politics up there, so is there some reason the Herald’s now trying to drive a wedge between Brown and voters? Aren’t they a right-leaning paper?