Editorial | Brown and Warren both strong candidates, but Warren deserves seat
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 07:11
The Senate race between Elizabeth Warren and Senator Scott Brown this year has been intensely contested. Both the Democrats and Republicans have emphasized this race as important for the strength of their national parties. Both parties, along with Super PACs and other outside fundraising groups, have funneled millions into the campaigns, enabling widespread advertisements by both candidates. In Massachusetts, we are remarkably lucky to have two qualified, good choices for Senate. But only one of these two candidates can have your vote, and that candidate should be Warren.
This race has the potential to swing the partisan balance of the Senate. Both Brown and Warren have proven to follow in the tradition of great politicians from Massachusetts, evoking the late Ted Kennedy, who was a champion on behalf of the middle class and a valiant fighter for Massachusetts’ interests as a state. Brown, true to his campaign promises, has straddled party lines during one of the most divisively bipartisan eras in modern American history. Warren has let her record as a “Sheriff of Wall Street” shine while espousing progressive values and policy points on the working class and the importance of public and higher education, for the benefit of Massachusetts residents and Americans nationwide.
Brown and Warren agree on a few issues, but as Brown is a moderate Republican and Warren a liberal Democrat, they disagree more than they agree. Warren, more so than Brown, takes stances on these contentious issues that promise to benefit both the country and Massachusetts.
Elected partially in response to an intended repudiation of Obamacare, Brown has taken a center−right approach, seeking to beat back government debt by limiting spending while simultaneously keeping taxes low. In addition, he helped push a bill through Congress that legalized the type of crowd−funding now popular with groups such as Kickstarter to boost Massachusetts start−ups. But he also opposed the Business Jobs Act of 2010, and told The Boston Globe, “Banks making lending decisions with government funds is not the way to get our economy moving again.”
Warren espouses more progressive values than the incumbent Brown, emphasizing the importance of investing for the future in education, helping out middle class families and holding Wall Street banks more accountable for their missteps. She supports Obamacare as a way of improving coverage for students, middle class families and those with pre−existing conditions. Warren is a strong proponent of the so−called “Buffet Rule” to raise taxes on millionaires, which she believes would make the tax code fairer and help allow the economy to rebound. Her belief that government should spend freely and soundly to help the long−term financial prospects of middle−class Americans reflects the ideal situation in which a government’s investment in its people yields a strong economy and prosperous lives. Warren’s belief in tax fairness grasps the reality of the brutal spending cuts needed to both reduce the debt and sustain low taxes, and turns it on its head, using increased revenue to do both.
On foreign policy issues, the two candidates hold many of the same objectives, but differ in the means they’d like to use to achieve their goals. Brown has supported many of the President’s initiatives in these realms, including the surge in Afghanistan, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia. During their foreign policy debate, Brown and Warren similarly emphasized the importance of defense cuts and preventing Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon, but the two differed from there, with Warren urging an early withdrawal from Afghanistan and Brown urging more confidence in Afghanistan’s security before complete troop withdrawal.
On social issues, Warren has repeatedly reminded the electorate that Brown did not vote for equal pay for women when the Senate voted on the Fair Pay Act. Brown believes that the legalization of gay marriage should be done on a state−by−state basis, whereas Warren pushes for nationwide equality in marriage. Brown opposed the nomination of liberal Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Warren fears a Republican−controlled Congress could nominate a Republican as the next Supreme Court justice, indicating the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Warren’s support of marriage and gender equality for all speaks to her values and staunch belief in the importance of the fight to continue advancing Civil Rights, a core part of Massachusetts’ values.
The similarities of Warren’s and Brown’s values and policies indicate their mutual understanding of what is important to the people of Massachusetts. Both are qualified candidates for Senate, and Brown has held true to the tradition of the Commonwealth’s politically astute statesmen. But Warren deserves our votes in the context of the urgency of our current situation. On a state level, Warren will uphold healthcare−related and economic policies that benefit the bulk of Massachusetts residents. Her nuanced approach to American foreign policy and her belief in institutional equality speak to the values that have made Massachusetts a progressive and prosperous state since the Commonwealth was incorporated. The partisan control of the Senate hangs in the balance, and a vote for Warren will help prevent that body from falling into regressive hands. A Warren victory will help Massachusetts grasp its progressive legacy and lead the nation in promoting equality and growth for everyone.