Here’s a little test for those that might read this blog from a random Google search or my constant Facebook/Twitter spamming. I want you to go up to someone in your social circle and ask them what their opinion is on politicians. For the most part you will get a very negative response and hear the usual complaints. “They don’t care about us!”, “They are only in it for themselves”, “They lie”, or “They are in the pockets of major corporations”.
Politicians have the approval ratings that they do for a very specific reason. Remember all stereotypes usually have a semblance of truth in them after all. A few good ones tend to slip through the cracks and defy the worst stereotypes of politics and usually have a pretty strong fundraiser base for that same reason.
However Joe Lieberman and Scott Brown do not fit that mold. While different on a few issues and belonging to different political parties, they end up on similar paths as they enter life as a non-politician.
Joe Lieberman was a recount away from potentially being the Vice President of the United States of America. His Vice Presidency could’ve been historic as he would have been the first Jewish Vice President in American history. A fairly loyal Democrat though more conservative, Al Gore’s choice of Lieberman was still fairly controversial given Lieberman’s blasting of Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Then Lieberman was catapulted from nearly being Vice President to probably being the most hated Democrat of the Democratic Party. His staunch hawkish nature towards the Iraq War made Lieberman, enemy #1 of the party’s liberal wing. His highly unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004 only showcased the lack of love the party had for it’s previous VP nominee.
Still while the party loyalists may have despised Lieberman, the establishment was still willing to help him through a tough primary from netroots favorite Ned LaMont. As the Iraq War continued to become a highly unpopular conflict in the nation, Lieberman only pressed harder to become a national security hawk on par with John McCain. Lieberman would lose to LaMont and then would flip the middle finger to the Democratic establishment as he made a successful run as an independent.
But while Lieberman agreed to continue caucusing with the Democratic Party, he still had more bones to throw. He endorsed John McCain for President in 2008 and nearly became his Vice Presidential nominee. He would be one of the biggest thorns in the side of the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act. He also remained a war hawk and continued his friendship with McCain and Lindsey Graham.
All in all, the Democratic Party appears to be much better off without Joe Lieberman in the Senate.
Scott Brown on the other hand came a bit more out of nowhere. A no-name State Sen. in the blue state of Massachusetts, Brown announced his run for the Senate seat that was vacated following the death of longtime Sen. Ted Kennedy. Brown ran a very smart campaign but after a horrendously lackluster campaign by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, pulled off the upset of the year as the “Kennedy seat” became red.
Brown’s appeal was obvious though. He was a telegenic speaker with a twinge of charisma, a good-looking family and had the role of the underdog playing in his favor. But most memorably, he touted that he drove a pickup truck across the state for his campaign and that boosted his appeal amongst independent voters who yearn for someone “like them”.
So of course Scott Brown wrote an autobiography, received hype as a national candidate and his role was touted as being the reason why any health care legislation would not be passed. While the latter was proven incorrect, Brown immediately made a splash as a moderate Republican who was heavily popular in Massachusetts. He wasn’t quite popular with the far-right though and his views on gun control and voting to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
It got to the point where if Elizabeth Warren chose not to run for Senate, Brown probably would’ve coasted to re-election and his seat would be off-limits until 2018. But as we all know, that was not the case and Brown would have to ponder his political future.
To the delighted shock of Democrats and the chagrin of state Republicans, Brown made the stunning admission not to run for John Kerry’s now-vacated seat leaving the Republicans in a bind.
Yet, while the brief biographies of the two politicians showcase careers of defying the bases of both parties; they have gone down the road that so many of their partisan compatriots have.
Scott Brown, first off, joined Fox News. Not exactly a career killer but one that would certainly derail his “bipartisan-y” approach to things. It would probably be a safe guess to say that being a Fox News pundit would be a negative in Massachusetts and with a possible gubernatorial candidacy on the horizon in 2014, Brown got off on the wrong foot.
But then, on the same day, it was announced that both Joe Lieberman and Scott Brown have entered the ranks of “lobbyists”. Lieberman joins the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank, though his exact role appears to not be as a member but as an advisor to an AEI project to find “reshape a bipartisan consensus around American global leadership and engagement.”
Nonetheless, Brown’s career path is much more entangled in lobbying as he has joined Nixon Peabody LLP to “focus his practice on business and governmental affairs as they relate to the financial services industry as well as on commercial real estate matters.” So yes, Scott Brown is now a voice for the banking industry since you know, they are obviously the ones that struggle the most in everyday life.
If anything though, this has proven a few things about these two men. One, Lieberman continues to become a member of the right wing given how the left happily tossed them out. Two, Scott Brown is no longer the average Joe with a pick-up truck as Mr. Brown has now went to lobbying and many millions are in his future.
Maybe that’s all he wanted instead of political fame, but if anything; sell outs don’t win public office.