For 50 years now, ever since Dick Nixon taught them how, Republicans have used the same tactics over and over again to try and win elections: attack Democrats as snobby elites and raise questions about issues like affirmative action to try and appeal to working class white voters who tend to be the biggest group of swing voters. With Nixon and Reagan, that at least made political sense even though it was reprehensible, because they both had close personal connections to the working class. But even with the Bush families' degrees from Yale and long-term family wealth, they still did it. Even with Mitt Romney's two degrees from Harvard and his great wealth, Republicans are still doing it. And with Scott Brown's incredible wealth and his campaign team's close ties to Harvard, they are doing it in their nasty campaign against Elizabeth Warren.
For months, the Massachusetts Republican Party has sent video after video and press release after press release attacking Elizabeth Warren, with great vitriol, for being a Harvard elitist. They have made the accusation in dozens of press releases and videos. Polling shows that the Harvard association doesn't hurt Warren, but the Republicans keep attacking along these lines because it is the only thing they know how to do. Even though Warren's biography shows a woman who grew up in a working class family barely hanging on, that she pulled herself up by her bootstraps through her hard work and determination, they are going to continue to try and distract voters from the important economic issues in this race by smearing her with these whispers about affirmative action and accusations of, horror of horrors, getting a job teaching at the school where Mitt Romney got his two degrees.
They so desperately want to do this that they are starting to be downright funny in their tactics: having their campaign chairman Robert Maginn, using his status as a double degree holder from Harvard, demand an investigation of Warren's history of using affirmative action at Harvard. Given that it has already been attested by her entire interview committee that she didn't, and given that affirmative action is not a crime even if she had, there is absolutely nothing to investigate. But give them an award for pure silliness: getting their Harvard elitist to pull rank to demand they look into this. The Bushes and Karl Rove must be laughing hard at this one.
Maginn has come under fire before for running a Republican-style campaign of saying anything it takes and does to win -- even to the point of encouraging, accepting, and gloating about apparently impermissible corporate donations to the Massachusetts Republican Party. But this is a new low and represents one of the most hypocritical developments yet in a race where Brown's hypocrisy has already been rampant even for a Republican.
This race is going to have a lot of twists and turns. We can count on only two things. First, we know Elizabeth Warren is going to keep taking on the big Wall Street special interests that are funding Scott Brown's campaign. Second, we know Scott Brown is going to keep going to the old school, Dick Nixon-inspired Republican playbook.