Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have all headed to the Hawkeye State in recent weeks to test the Presidential waters. Not to be outdone, former Senator Scott Brown — who has floated runs this year for Mass Governor, Mass Senate and even Senate in New Hampshire — appears to have now set his sights on an even higher office and is jumping into the fray, as he heads to Iowa later this week to discuss his vision for the GOP.
This must be what Reince Priebus meant when he said that this weekend that the GOP was the party that is ‘fresh and new.’
He says voters need to be convinced of the party's ideas.
Nov. 11, 2013 11:19 PM
Republicans might not take Scott Brown too seriously as a candidate for president in 2016, but he sees himself as filling a serious place in the conversation.
“I’m going to talk about my vision of our party and where it’s going, the challenges it’s facing,” said Brown, a Massachusetts Republican who served a three-year stint in the U.S. Senate. “The plan is to convince the American people that we have a plan and that we can be a more inclusive, ideas-oriented party.”
Today, Brown, 54, makes his second attention-getting trip to Iowa this year.
His speech tonight to the Scott County Republican Party’s Ronald Reagan fundraising dinner will center on how he thinks the GOP needs to convince voters that “we are the party of good ideas,” he told The Des Moines Register in a telephone interview on Monday.
Brown was at the leading edge of the tea party revolution in 2009, when national money flowed in to his campaign to fill the seat left open by the death of U.S. Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy. He claimed a 5-point upset victory in January 2010 over Democrat Martha Coakley, but in November 2012 lost his bid for a full term by 7 points to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
These days, Brown promotes himself as a big-tent Republican, even as some conservatives dismiss him as a Massachusetts moderate.
The party needs to warmly embrace all kinds of Republicans, Brown told the Register.
“There is room for people like me and Rand Paul and Chris Christie and Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney,” he said. “And not only is there room for us, but we have the ability to have tolerance, and to get out our message of problem-solving, of living within our means, of following the Constitution and a whole host of other things.”
Brown defended U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who made a 21-hour filibuster-like speech in September to agitate for holding back funding for the Obamacare federal health care plan.
“It’s funny,” Brown said, “when the president changes laws and issues executive orders without the proper legal authority, when the IRS is targeting conservative groups, or when we have a situation in Benghazi or the nightmare of Obamacare, even throw in the debt ceiling and the out-of-control spending, it’s not a big deal.
“But when one of our own gets up and does a filibuster for a period of time because he feels very strongly about an issue, he apparently is a menace to the republic.”
Top Republican leaders have hinted that Brown should run for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, where he owns a home. But he telegraphed interest in the presidency, or vice presidency, with a trip in August to Iowa, home of the nation’s leadoff presidential vote.
For now, Brown is noncommittal about his political future.
“I wouldn’t rule out anything at this point,” he said.
Brown said he has been speaking all around the country about his vision for the GOP — in Iowa, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and elsewhere.
Brown has strong opinions about Obamacare, and thinks Democrats misled Americans about the health care law.
“When the president came to Massachusetts and spoke, it made my blood boil, the misrepresentations he made between what we did here in Massachusetts and the national health care plan — it was infuriating,” Brown said.
“People are smarter now. They’re waking up. They realize they were given a line of BS, and they’re not going to take it anymore.”
On immigration reform, he thinks the U.S. House should tackle the “easy things” for now.
“They should do something with the high-skilled visas, and kids who graduate from college should be able to get a work visa and the ability to stay here and be taxpaying members of society,” he said.
But nothing will move forward until provisions are made to legitimately secure the border and guarantee that immigrants seeking citizenship won’t get federal benefits while they’re waiting in line, he said.
There have been news stories lately about whether Warren, the Democratic foe who knocked Brown out of the Senate, could beat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
Asked his reaction to that, Brown answered: “Yeah, I think that’s really premature. She has to establish a record as a senator first. And so that’s really all I have to say about that.”
Brown’s speech tonight will be about optimism and opportunity, he said.
“There’s an opportunity for us as Republicans, people who like me started from nothing,” he said. “I’m not one of those rich guys who started out that way. I worked very hard, and I remember when I was a Republican at 18 years old, I didn’t look at the GOP as the party for the rich and well-to-do. I looked at it as a party of opportunity. We’ve gotten away from that, at least in the eyes of the public, and I’m going to try to remind people that, you know what, we are better, and we can do better, and the American people deserve better.”