Scott Brown Tops Democrat Wish List

Democrats like to think they'll be able to stop Scott Brown's reelection in 2012.

Party members and labor groups in the state said that beating Brown will likely be their top priority in 2012, presenting them an opportunity to reclaim the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D) longtime seat.

The careful weave of independent votes made by Scott over his first 11 months - including last week's break with the GOP on Don't Ask Don't Tell - protect him from being portrayed as "too extreme" for Massachusetts.

Brown has established a relatively centrist position after almost a year in the Senate. He defied the Tea Party, the grassroots group that helped him win election, by backing the tax-cut extension compromise brokered by President Obama and congressional Republicans.

He also broke with his party on Wall Street reform; a repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; and several other key votes.

Let's not forget that he finished the last election cycle with millions in the bank, and, Scott is a fundraising machine who worked hard for other Republicans around the country during the mid-terms.

He had almost $7 million in cash on hand at the end of September, according to Federal Election Commission reports, and he’s already been the target of an attack ad. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee launched an online ad to criticize Brown for voting against the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for just middle-income families.

And who, pray tell, has the state-wide electoral prowess and charisma to drive a wedge between the voters of Massachusetts and the guy who drove that old truck all over the state?

Contenders for the seat could include various members of the state’s congressional delegation, such as Democratic Reps. Michael Capuano, Edward Markey, Niki Tsongas, Barney Frank or Stephen Lynch.

There's not one person on that list who could begin to generate the excitement the race will require, and only Capuano or Lynch would be likely to give it a try.

The specter of a member of the Kennedy family entering the race also hangs over the Democratic field. Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the senator, passed on running for the seat, and it’s not clear that any other member of the clan might seek to reclaim the so-called “Kennedy seat.”

The fact that Vicki is the frontrunner from the pack of undeclared Democrats shows just how few options the socialist side has available.

The senator will look to cement that image when he releases his memoirs in February. That book, advisers to Brown said, would reveal more about his hardscrabble upbringing.

Brown’s also steadily built a more sophisticated team going into 2012. John Cook, a veteran fundraiser for Republicans in Massachusetts, has signed on as finance director for Brown’s reelection effort.

Democrats like to think Martha Coakley lost just because she was a bad candidate. But part of what made her so bad was that Scott was so good, and they don't have anyone on their bench who compares.