An interesting thing is taking place in Democratic circles right now: the debate over whether newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is a frat-boy airhead who's nothing more than Sarah Palin with a penis, or, the next President of the United States ("45," as Jon Stewart even satirized the other night). Though it's surely way too early in "BrownWatch" to draw any firm conclusions, there are, however, some interesting considerations.
Let's start with the theory that he's little more than a lucky pretty-boy who often opens his mouth to change feet. As his two daughters Arianna (21) and Ayla (19) can attest, dear old dad sometimes says some pretty embarrassing things, as he did during his victory speech when bizarrely announcing that they were "beautiful" and "available." Or how about his assertion that it was "not normal" for gays to be parents. Or when he implied that President Obama was born out of wedlock. Fortunately for him, he's yet to say he can see Russia from Cape Cod. As a friend of mine who knew him at Tufts said, "he was just a big dumb jock" who the smart girls didn't take too seriously.
But it's the smart girls and boys in Washington, especially the Democrats, who probably should start taking "41," as he's now affectionately called by Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY), very seriously. And it's not because Sen. Phil A Buster (as I call him) is headed to D.C. to kill health care reform and all things liberal. It's because Brown has those intangible qualities that defy the odds and make him an unlikely winner. He's a very likable, charming, folksy guy who's very deftly created his successful pick-up-truck-drivin, "everyman" persona that's equally attractive to men as it is to women. To men, he's a real sports-obsessed guy's-guy who was probably the one who made them laugh in college with lampshades on his head and massive bong hits (think Tom Hanks in "Bachelor Party" or Will Ferrell in "Old School"). Someone who, like George W. Bush, "is one of us;" an intellectual non-threat. And to women, he's easy on the eye and is, well, a big dumb jock. You'd be surprised how, outside of Tufts, big dumb jocks are pretty popular among the ladies.
But make no mistake: at least at this point, Brown's no Palin. He may say some goofy things sometimes, but so did Bush, and he chilled in the White House for eight years. And so does Vice President Sen. Joe Biden, and he's a pretty powerful figure in Washington. With his law degree, his stint in the Massachusetts State Senate, and in what could now be an incredibly influential role in the U.S. Senate, Brown could grow into quite the formidable opponent to Obama in 2012. Honestly, with the sheer lack of sexiness and excitement in the GOP right now, if I were the party leaders I'd have started grooming this guy for a presidential run yesterday. Stay tuned. I suspect BrownWatch is going to get mighty interesting going forward.