NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 29, 2014

In NH, Brown may find a friendly audience

Bill Plante
Newburyport Daily News

---- — “What’s up? I asked Big Freddy as I settled myself in my side of our booth while he folded his morning newspaper.

“Where?” Freddy asked.

“With what you’ve been reading,” I said.

“I was reading about Scott Brown up in New Hampshire doing a show and tell on the down side of Obamacare,” Freddy said.

“That’s news?” I asked.

“Don’t blame me,” Freddy said.

“They printed it, and while you’re at it, don’t blame them because he’s been up there -- how long now -- playing political footsy over whether he was going to run against Jean Shaheen for her Senate seat or not, which he can’t do on his own without getting the backing it’s going to take.”

“And his chances are what for getting it?” I asked.

“It’s New Hampshire and he’s got a lot of hills to climb. This isn’t a foot race. It also has a lot of women who vote, and an awful lot of them like Jeanne Shaheen.”

“But a lot of those living up there work in Massachusetts,” Freddy said.

“You don’t think so? Go up to Interstate 93 and do a traffic count after four o’clock of those going home on a working day.

“So what?” I asked.

“It’s a safe bet a lot of them were living in Massachusetts before they moved to New Hampshire,” Freddy said.

“Because they wanted to live where the motto is “Live Free or Die?” I asked.

“For more than you think because most want to live where there isn’t a sales or income tax,” Freddy said.

“But they have other kinds of taxes,” I said.

“Not so much as Massachusetts, and they have great roads and highways,” Freddy said.

“And pay as you go on them,” I said.

“Whatever it takes to be independent, which there is more of that there than there is here where our government has its fingers in just about everything,” Freddy said.

“And that has what to do with why Scott Brown moved to New Hampshire?” I asked.

“It’s why he moved back to New Hampshire where you can get a fair shot at winning an election even if you are a Republican,” Freddy said.

“That didn’t work very well for Mitt Romney, and he has a place in New Hampshire,” I said.

“For a summer retreat, but Brown use to live there years back before moving to Massachusetts,” Freddy said.

“I don’t see that as any kind of a leg up on beating Jeanne Shaheen,” I said.

“I don’t see him doing better than Romney,” I said.

“Obama beat Romney by about 40,000 votes, “ Freddy said.

“So?” I asked.

“Back in January, Shaheen was leading Brown by around ten percent, and that was when he was only a maybe candidate,” Freddy said.

“You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill,” I said. “Besides, Brown doesn’t even have an organization.. “

“It’s borderline late, but there’s a momentum stirring for a change in Washington, and Brown’s not a far right Republican. New Hampshire has strong committed voters in the cores of both parties, but the center is there for making a difference when something goes sour. Obamacare has done that to the Democrats, for one thing, Harry Reid has done that in the Senate.

“There’s no way the Democrats are going to take over the House, and they’re going to have a tough time holding on to the Senate, according to all the soothsayers.

“All things considered, it’s a fair bet Brown’s going to get the backing he needs.

“But could he win? You can’t beat somebody with nobody, and he’s not just a somebody who hasn’t been there. Sure, he got clobbered in Massachusetts, but Democrats have a stranglehold on elections.

“New Hampshire’s more picky. That’s what their motto is really about over Obamacare being a dose of caster oil for too many, and Brown could have a fair shot if he gets the backing he needs.”

Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and a former executive editor of The Daily News.