Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) likes to paint himself as an honest man, true and steadfast in his principles. In 2011, appearing on the Rachel Maddow Show, he uttered this deathless statement of his unwavering principles:
“Those of us in politics like you and me that care passionately about issues — we don’t have to remember what we said yesterday when we talk today because we actually believe something.”
Perhaps Brown doesn’t have to remember what he said, because he doesn’t want to remember what he said. If he did, he would have to admit he’s a hypocrite.
Let’s take a look at some issues on which Brown has absolutely reversed his earlier positions:
1. A balanced budget amendment. Here’s Brown in 2006, posing as a moderate when he was running for the Senate:
I stood up to a president of my own party . . . in support of the balance budget amendment, in restoring fiscal sanity to our government. I agree with Senator Voinovich that Mike DeWine and others have betrayed conservative principles of limited government. I want to go to the Senate and work with Senator Voinovich on sound tax policy that benefits the middle class, without burying our grandchildren in debt.
But in July of last year, Brown in 2011 voted against even considering a measure to balance the federal budget.
2. Cutting taxes. Brown opposed eliminating the marriage penalty tax in 2000, then reversed and voted for it in 2004. He voted for increasing the tax rate for people earning over $1 million, voted against raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M, voted against repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax, voted against retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends, voted against making permanent an increase in the child tax credit, and voted against a tax cut package of $958 billion over 10 years.
So Brown was against cutting taxes, right?
Wrong. When it became clear that the Obama recovery was a dud, suddenly Brown had a change of heart. In January, 2011, he said, “The subsequent $787 billion Recovery Act that passed in early 2009 didn’t do enough, particularly with tax cuts, to get people to spend more or build public confidence in the economy.”
Brown’s office defended this statement by saying few people noticed the $65 per month tax cut because it came in their paychecks rather than rebate checks. This is nonsensical. People do look at their paychecks. But it’s hard to do when you don’t have a job, and the refusal to cut taxes kills the producers who provide those jobs. The people of Ohio can thank Brown for stiffing the economic recovery at every turn.
3. Immigration. Brown voted against constructing a fence along the Mexican border five times as a member of the House, then, in September 2006, when he was running for the Senate, voted for the fence. Which principles was he remaining steadfast to then?
Brown is not to be trusted; for a man to claim he is always faithful to his principles would require a better man than he. Ohio can and should do much better.