Scott Brown v. Bill Weld not even close by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross-posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.

A WBUR poll this morning about who might run to fill John Kerry’s Senate seat if/when Kerry becomes Secretary of State showed an overwhelming preference for Scott Brown over former Governor Bill Weld for the GOP nomination.  A valedictory op ed by Senator Scott Brown in a recent Boston Globe shows why the decision shouldn’t even be a close one. For all the differences I’ve had with Brown on issues, he really does seem to take the office seriously and is willing to work hard.  That is definitely not Bill Weld. In his valedictory speech in the Senate, Brown hinted strongly he could be back. But, even if he passed on a Senate race to run for governor, there are better choices for the GOP than Bill Weld.

Some in the media, including – or, should I say, especially – Globe columnist Scot Lehigh (with whom I often agree) have drunk the Weld koolaid.  It’s true, as Lehigh posited, that Weld is a “bigger, better thinker” than Brown and may even have a more engaging personality.  But that’s personality in the abstract.  Weld is indeed the kind of guy you might want to sit down and have a drink with. But, as governor, after he took care of the fiscal deficit at the beginning of 1991, he was more often found on the squash court than the corner office.  His inclination toward all-day partaking of the “amber liquid” made him a joke among visitors and press alike. (Lehigh reports in all seriousness that Weld “has given up spirits in favor of wine.” )

Weld ran against the “walruses” in state government and disdained those who chose public service as a career.  He even seemed to take his own role as a joke.  Can anyone forget the year that, as the state’s top official, he stood next to Senate President William Bulger at the microphone at the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in Southie, and made jokes about notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger, now facing charges of 19 counts of murder? Joan Vennochi has written of        Weld’s “state of perpetual bemusement.”

Yes, he can take credit for cutting taxes, but, as did Governor Mitt Romney, Weld raised plenty of fees.  There is, after all, a Constitutional mandate to balance the state budget.  And he certainly can take credit for bringing top-notch people into his administration (Peter Nessen, Charlie Baker, Gloria Larson, Mark Robinson, Kathleen O’Toole come to mind as does his Supreme Court nomination of Margaret Marshall).  But, with the exception of legendary Ted Kennedy staffers, it’s not the staffers whom we remember as key to the senatorial process.  And Kennedy himself grew to be an epic work horse.

Bill Weld had such an aversion to hard work that, when North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms deep-sixed Bill Clinton’s nomination of Weld to be ambassador to Mexico (both because his pal Attorney General Ed Meese disliked Weld and  because he didn’t think Weld would take seriously enough the US-Mexican drug trade), Weld refused a fall-back offer of an ambassadorship to India.  That would have been a more challenging and more important position but clearly more work.

So the dabbler-in-chief took off for New York,  ran a pathetic campaign for governor there, and now has parachuted back into Massachusetts, working at Mintz Levin and ML Strategies with his old bud Steve Tocco. his former economic affairs director.

There’s a lot I don’t like about Scott Brown: his stands on many issues, his quickness to dodge the media, his intermittent self-aggrandizement (“Every day I’ve met with kings and queens”), his anti-intellectual patronizing of “Professor Warren,” his centerfold celebrity tastes and probably more. But what came through in his valedictory message in the Globe was a genuine appreciation of what an “honor and privilege” it is to serve the people of Massachusetts. That concept seems alien to Bill Weld, who has an air of entitlement and who really couldn’t care less for the working stiffs of Massachusetts, who show up every day, put in their time, and don’t have trust funds to fall back on.

I welcome your comments in the section below.

4 Responses to Scott Brown v. Bill Weld not even close by Marjorie Arons-Barron

  1. C R Krieger says:

    As important as I think India is—we should court India ahead of China—Mexico should be our FIRST priority.  Actor and Activist Leo Carrillo pointed that out to my Junior High School classes back in 1957.

    We didn’t do that and we are reaping the results today.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  2. Becky Chandler says:

    Oh my goodness, what a forgetful memory. Weld was such a relief after the Dukakis debacle that Massachusetts refused (probably foolishly) to elect a Democratic governor for twenty years.

    Weld is of the , almost nonexistent, libertarian branch of the Republican Party -which is why he disdains these “public servants” –the fat parasitic political class which rules the Commonwealth.

    Weld’s career in politics came to an end when he was vetoed by Jesse Helms. He was up for, and wanted, an ambassadorship to Mexico. Helms could not tolerate his support of gay marriage.

    It’s impossible to engage in this kind of speculation, but I wonder if the libertarian Weld had gone to Mexico, the country would now be ravished by the federal government funded War on Drugs tragedy.

  3. DickH says:

    When Bill Weld ran against John Kerry for the US Senate in 1996, they debated several times, once at Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester. I was fortunate to attend that evening and clearly remember Weld being asked “If you were elected to the Senate would you, as a Republican, vote for Senator Jesse Helms to be the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” Weld, probably out of personal conviction but also to curry favor with Massachusetts voters, answered that he would not vote for Helms. I immediately thought to myself, “I hope Weld never needs anything from Jesse Helms.” Sure enough, when Clinton nominated Weld to be ambassador to Mexico, Helms vetoed the appointment. I doubt it was because of Weld’s stand on same sex rights; it was pure political payback.