Last night, I watched the debate between Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Scott Brown, who are both running for Ted Kennedy’s old seat in Massachusetts, and two thing surprised me.
1. How conservative Scott Brown really is; and
2. How disrespectful Scott Brown is of women generally, but teachers in specific.
How conservative Scott Brown really is
You can tell just from this one debate that Brown’s talking points are two-fold. First, say you’re an independent. Second, call Elizabeth Warren “professor” all the time in order to evoke the impression that she’s a teacher.
As for Scott Brown being an independent, he was asked at one point during the debate who on the Supreme Court would be his “model justice.” Brown immediately said “Scalia.” The audience booed, while Elizabeth Warren tried to contain a laugh. Brown clearly realized he’d stepped in it and then tried covering his tracks by mentioning other justices, including Sotomayor, who’s name he mis-pronounced to sound like Soto-Meir, as in Golda.
Elizabeth Warren trying to desperately not to crack up, as Brown cites “Scalia,” is priceless:
How disrespectful Scott Brown really is
The other thing that was painfully obvious about the debate was how disrespectful Brown is of Elizabeth Warren. Brown was clearly told by his staff to always refer to Warren as “professor,” in an effort to belittle her in some way. He also repeatedly referred to her as a “teacher,” again in an effort to belittle her.
It’s not entirely clear why Scott Brown feels that a teacher is a pejorative, but perhaps it’s because teaching was traditionally a woman’s job, and Brown is subtly, or not, suggesting to Massachusetts voters that Warren is “just a woman.”
Regardless, it’s a strange insult, and NBC’s David Gregory didn’t bother asking Brown about it.
To give you a sense of how bizarre the insult is, and how much Brown is fixated on it, look at what the candidates did when asked to say something they admire about the other. Warren mentioned Brown’s family, and the fact that he crossed party lines to support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Brown, however, says that Warren is a good professor, and he goes to make sure she stays one.
So, basically, Scott Brown was asked to say something nice, and he used his insult-talking-point twice in response.
“She’s a very hard working accomplished professor…. so I’m gonna do everything in my power to ensure that she can be in that position.”