Tales from the Trail

Scott Brown’s latest channels poet Langston Hughes

Scott Brown, locked in a tight race to hold onto his Senate seat from Massachusetts, has become the second Republican in the current election cycle to channel Langston Hughes, the African American social activist poet with Communist sympathies who is also regarded as a literary hero by many in the gay community.

A new video from Brown, soliciting donations for his neck-and-neck campaign against Democrat Elizabeth Warren, is headlined “Let America Be America Again” – the title of Hughes’ well-known 1935 poem, first published in Esquire magazine, that suggests the American dream never really existed for many Americans, including the lower classes, blacks, Native Americans, and other minority groups.

“There’s never been equality for me/Nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free,’” Hughes writes in an aside between verses. “America never was America to me.”

The Brown campaign’s two and a half minute video tribute to small business, complete with stirring music and iconic images such as flags and white picket fences, chronicles what it portrays as a change in the United States from the words of John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson – Democrats all – as well as Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, to current President Barack Obama and Warren, his uber-progressive rival.

After showing Old Glory lying sadly in a grey landscape, the video cuts to soundbites from Warren and Obama talking about how those who succeeded in business had help along the way.

Scott Brown jabs Elizabeth Warren’s Hollywood supporters

Republican Scott Brown, in a close race to keep his Senate seat in Massachusetts, is mounting a new fundraising drive using donations to rival Elizabeth Warren by a bevy of Hollywood talent as catnip for potential donors.

“What do actresses Charlize Theron, Sally Field, Kyra Sedgwick, Kate Capshaw, and Reese Witherspoon have in common? ” Brown asked rhetorically in an email to supporters on Thursday. “They’re all big bankrollers for Professor Elizabeth Warren who raises money like she wants to be the first United States Senator to represent Hollywood.”

The Brown campaign is smarting after trailing Warren in the second quarter. For April-June, Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and former Obama administration official, raised $8.67 million to Brown’s $5 million. Brown still holds a $2 million advantage in cash on hand for the final months of the closely watched Senate campaign.

Scott Brown trails Elizabeth Warren in Q2 donations

The race for the Senate seat from Massachusetts is shaping up as one of the marquee Congressional contests of the year, and likely the most expensive, as both candidates keep up a frenetic fundraising pace.

On Thursday, the campaign of Republican Senator Scott Brown said it hauled in $5 million for his re-election campaign in the second quarter – a strong result, but well short of his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, who on Monday announced she had pulled in $8.67 million for the quarter.

Warren raised $3.1 million for June alone, suggesting a weeks-long controversy over whether she had claimed Native American heritage to further her academic career did little to dent her popularity.

Elizabeth Warren recalls Girl Scouts armed with sharp knives

Monday is the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts of the USA, an organization that has made it their mission to help young girls develop their full potential. So what better way to mark the occasion for Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, than a fund-raising solicitation?

Democrat Warren, who is in a close race with Republican Scott Brown, reminisced in a note to supporters about the days when her daughter and some-time collaborator Amelia Warren Tyagi was a Brownie and Warren was a troop leader.

“When the girls were about eight, we decided to do a several-week project on cooking, culminating in each team of girls making an awesome mac-and-cheese. And the girls made other masterpieces: jello-with-canned-fruit, pancakes, biscuits, and barbecue sauce,” said the Harvard Law School professor and former Obama administration official.

Robert Pozen says not running for Senate – but perhaps could be convinced

Boston correspondent Ross Kerber interviewed mutual fund industry veteran Robert Pozen and they talked politics.

Pozen says he’s not running so far for the Senate seat from Massachusetts once held by the late Edward Kennedy. But he does appear to be positioning himself as a possible centrist candidate for Democrats mulling how to defeat Republican Senator Scott Brown in next year’s election. USA/

“I’m not running for Senate unless the Democratic Party asks me to, if they want someone who is socially liberal and fiscally disciplined,” Pozen told us in an interview at his office at MFS Investment Management, the Boston fund company where he is now Chairman Emeritus.

Snowe says “yes” to Wall St. bill

The decision is in….snowe2

Senator Olympia Snowe has ended the suspense, announcing that she will support the financial regulatory reform bill.

Snowe, a moderate Republican from Maine,  joined fellow Republicans Scott Brown and Susan Collins – the other senator from Maine — in saying “yes” to the measure that most in their party strongly oppose.

Their backing leaves Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democrats just one vote shy of the 60 needed for the measure to advance.

Will she or won’t she?

USAThe suspense continues…

All eyes are on Senator Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican from Maine, who has not yet decided on how she will vote on financial regulatory reform.

Snowe’s could be the crucial 60th vote after Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown said on Monday that he will support the bill.

On Saturday Snowe said she hadn’t decided and that the most important thing was “to get it right.” Her view had not changed so far today, a staffer tells me.

Palin serves up plenty of red meat at Boston Tea Party

Conservative darling Sarah Palin had no trouble stirring up Tea Partiers at a rally in Boston, not far from the site where colonists staged the original Tea Party revolt centuries ago.

USA/The problems in the United States are “nothing a good old fashioned election can’t fix,” she told the crowd of several thousand on the Boston Common. “The first test will be at the ballot box in November.”

The former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate, who wore a red leather jacket, brought plenty of red meat rhetoric to the anti-tax Tea Party.

Maddow to Brown: Wrong, “I’m not running”

Political commentator Rachel Maddow is used to having her say. This time she used a full-page ad in The Boston Globe.

The popular liberal TV host came out swinging on Friday against the new senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, who has suggested in a fund-raising letter that Maddow will run against him in 2012. SENATE/BROWN

“I’m not running against Scott Brown … It’s just not true. Honestly. I swear. No, really,” Maddow said in the ad.

Frum Obamacare to Waterloo: Where do Republicans find themselves?

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Have Republicans really met their Waterloo? George W. Bush’s former speech writer David Frum thinks so. And he may have a point, though making it in public has proved costly.

Only six months ago, Republican opposition to healthcare reform was whacking away gleefully at President Barack Obama’s approval ratings. An army of conservative Tea Party activists were flooding Washington’s National Mall in a show of force against the Obama legislative agenda. And Republican nice guy Scott Brown was on his merry way to a Senate upset in bluest of blue Massachusetts.

Now healthcare reform is law and newly energized Democrats are moving to counter those evils of Wall Street that voters love to hate. The grass-roots army has brought Republicans one or two liabilities. And Obama’s job approval rating shows signs of firming up.