From Modelling to the Senate

From Modelling to the Senate

Saturday January 30, 2010

From modelling to the senate

State Side by LIM AI LEE

A former Mr Centrefold shook the US political scene when he won the Massachusetts Senate race, knocking off the state A-G.

IT’S rare for a politician, even in the US, to get an offer from a leading women’s magazine to pose in the buff. But then, not many politicans are Scott Brown, a rising political star once voted America’s sexiest man and winner of Cosmopolitan’s first male centrefold contest.

The Republican sent shockwaves through the nation last week when he defeated influential state attorney-general Martha Coakley to win the US Senate seat in Massachusetts “ a traditional liberal stronghold.

The special election was held following the death of Edward Kennedy who was the Democratic representative for nearly four decades.

Until the race, Brown has stayed out of the limelight, often overshadowed by his TV reporter wife Gail Huff and daughter Alya, a former American Idol semifinalist.

But since the Massachusetts upset, the 50-year-old truck-driving lawyer with pepper hair has become an instant celebrity. Making his Washington DC debut on Thursday, Brown was treated like a movie star and followed by a camera-clicking mob at Capitol Hill.

The media attention is hardly surprising. Victory aside, the triathlete is in great shape, looks good for his age, is approachable and has an interesting past that makes good copy.

As a 12-year-old, he was arrested for stealing an album cover and after being shamed by the local judge, he swore he would never shoplift again. He also admitted to being kind of a jerk with issues.

His parents divorced when he was one, and each went on to remarry three times. Brown himself has stayed married to Huff for 23 years and is a doting dad of two grown daughters.

As a 22-year-old law student at Boston College, he won Cosmo’s first male centrefold contest after posing naked for the magazine. He claimed he did it to help pay college fees.

Not about to let slip a golden opportunity, Cosmo rummaged through their archives for the 1982 centerfold which has since made the media rounds “ from major newspapers to prime time TV news and popular gossip programmes like TMZ and The Insider.

Brown has since been dubbed Hottie Scotty, Scott Six-Pack and Senator Beefcake.

But while he may be the hottest politician of the moment, Brown certainly did not win the polls simply because of his looks or physique.

Earlier dismissed as a political lightweight, Brown connected with voters frustrated with the slow pace of economic recovery, high unemployment, Wall Street bailouts and disapproval over Congress’ proposed health care overhaul.

Brown built his campaign platform on reducing taxes and promised to vote against President Barack Obama’s controversial health care bill.

He reached out to the Tea Party movement “ wealthy backers of grassroots activists “ and in the week before the election, raised nearly US$1mil (RM3.4mil) everyday on the Internet.

An exit poll by Rasmussen Reports found an astounding 73% of independent voters supporting Brown.

As the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, Brown has the power to deprive the Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority and place the health care reform plan in jeopardy.

The Guardian opined that in a different political climate, Brown’s history as a centrefold model might have impeded his chances of winning a Senate seat.

But columnist Paul Abram felt Brown’s centrefold had provided him a bit of notoriety and raised his profile, although his win should not be attributed to his looks.

The psychology is simple “ times are bad. When they are bad, people direct their animosity, even if not blame, at those in charge.

Since the recession began two years ago, Americans have lost more than seven million jobs while unemployment still hovers at 10%.

Democrat Sen John Kerry conceded that Brown had very successfully managed to tap into anger and impatience that’s very, very real.

Consultant Richard Eskow from Campaign For America’s Future observed that when voters in a liberal state rejected the Democratic candidate in favour of a handsome cipher, it showed they’re pretty unhappy with what they’re getting at home.

Political analysts are predicting tough midterm elections for the Democrats this November when more congressional, gubernatorial and legislative seats are up for grabs. The coming polls are seen as a referendum on the Obama administration’s performance.

Early this week, the President sent out a message to voters that he understood their concerns. He has offered repackaged plans to energize the economy, generate more jobs and reduce unemployment.

Obama also unveiled initiatives to help families pay for child care, save for retirement, pay off student loans and care for elderly parents.

Political analyst Andy Ostroy believed there was still time for the Democrats to turn around the situation.

Want a winning theme? Jobs, jobs, jobs.

And what does Cosmo have to say about their first centrefold landing in the Capitol?

Obviously we know how to pick them, Kate White, Cosmopolitan’s editor-in-chief enthused.

We’ve had bachelors go on to be actors, models, and reality show stars, so we’re thrilled that one has gone on to become a politician.

So in the spirit of keeping an open mind, we’d like to invite him (Brown) to talk to us again about what his plans are “ and reprise his sexy, naked centerfold shot.

The respectable Mr Brown has yet to give an answer.

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