Last week, former Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown debuted on Hannity as a brand-spanking new Fox News contributor.
After breaking the hearts of MA conservatives in early February when he confirmed he would not run in the Senate special election, many wondered what the ex-senator’s next steps could possibly be. Predictions of a potential gubernatorial bid hung on the lips of many pundits, but it appears this line of speculation can be put to rest, at least for now. Brown follows in the footsteps of other politicians who, after losing highly visible and public elections, found a home at the conservative cable network, Sarah Palin being the most recent and notable.
Fox News has little to lose with this partnership. Even though Brown’s political leanings probably fall slightly left of those of the average Fox News viewer, they are not so radically left as to alienate the network’s core audience and jeopardize its ratings. In fact, Brown’s more moderate views might actually attract viewers, particularly in the key adult 25-54 demographic, which Fox News has recently performed less well in, compared to CNN or MSNBC. Executive Vice President Bill Shine stated, "Senator Brown’s dedication to out-of-the box thinking on key issues makes him an important voice in the country and we are looking forward to his contributions across all Fox News platforms."
Still, the question on many people’s minds is whether or not this is a wise move for the ex-senator, particularly if he harbors any aspirations of resuming his life as an elected politician in his home state.
Massachusetts is one of the bluest states in the union and very rarely elects Republicans. For example, only four out of 40 state senators are Republican and Brown’s shocking victory in the 2010 special Senate race made him the first Republican senator in MA since 1972. In the recent election, Brown tried to position himself as a bi-partisan moderate candidate but even this proved to be too conservative for the commonwealth. If he actually did have gubernatorial hopes, as many pundits speculated, he may not be able to shed the conservative “stigma” that many in Massachusetts associate with Fox News.
Then again, this position represents an opportunity for Mr. Brown to be a household name. Despite the vitriol spewed at the network by many on the left, the fact of the matter is Fox News is the #1 rated cable network channel in the United States and has been for quite some time. Its total viewership surpasses that of CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC combined. With ratings like that, Brown could skip the governorship and be prime-time for a presidential election. For those worried about his ability to accrue “political” experience through a governorship in order to convince America of his ability to lead the country, lest not forget our current president had barely taken his oath as a Senator before throwing his name into the presidential pot back in 2007.
Getting into bed with Fox News is certainly politically risky for a Massachusetts politician, but it doesn’t signify the end of a political career.