October 2, 2012

"I’m not a student in your classroom," said Scott Brown to his lady lawprof opponent.



That happened at last night's debate.
After Warren listed the instances in which Brown voted against Democratic-backed bills, a back-and-forth ensued, as the senator tried to respond with a defense of his record. His line brought him some boos. Brown is pitching himself as the likable candidate in this race. Lines like this one could cut against that image he has carefully crafted.
That's WaPo's Sean Sullivan, spinning Brown's effective quip. Boos? I heard cheering. [ADDED: That is, a kind of "ooh!" that sounds to me like appreciation.] The worst thing to me about the clip, which you should watch for yourself, is that Brown lets it show that he's pleased that he got off the funny, telling alternative to "Let me finish" or "I didn't interrupt you, now, please don't interrupt me."

But let's talk about likeability. (Note: I prefer the spelling "likeable" to "likable," even when the candidate seems lickable.) Brown found a memorable, amusing way to cut off an interruption, which made him look good, at least to some people. The key is to look good specifically to those people who are not already strongly against him or for him. Now, the subtlety here is that the man cut off the woman, and he did it in a way that called attention to her position as a teacher, and that's a bit like calling her a schoolmarm, except that we know she's a Harvard law professor, and thus a powerful, elite sort of professor who exercises power in a setting that is traditionally male. She wields masculine power and presumes to control and channel the speech of less powerful males. That's the image of the law school classroom, as depicted — talk about memorable! — in the movie "The Paper Chase."

Now, nearly everyone watching that iconic scene — just linked — in "The Paper Chase," identifies with "Mr. Hart," the student, who resists the control of the imperious lawprof Prof. Kingsfield. And that's how Scott Brown positioned himself, making him a man of the people and her a member of the entitled elite.

64 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

Aren't they both elites?

wyo sis said...

And her as a member, by fraud, of the entitled elite.

Patrick said...

He won that Senate seat the old fashioned way He eaaahhned it.

ndspinelli said...

I've used that line here several times.

MadisonMan said...

I don't hear boos or cheering in the clip, just a general murmuring, as if people are saying I can't believe he said that!

dbp said...

It sounded like laughing and a bit of cheering. Remarkable! especially considering the venue was at (I think) UMass Lowell--not exactly neutral ground.

TosaGuy said...

The people offended by Brown's comment want to be offended.

Colonel Angus said...

But let's talk about likeability.

I look forward to the day we talk more about a candidate's competence rather than whether I would want to have a beer with them.

Then again its people like you and the media who have turned the electoral process into a contest for homecoming king and queen.

Bob Ellison said...

I like that clip from the movie. Kingsfield goes all "I'm bigger than you", and Hart is all "you stink", and Kingsfield tries to grab it back with all "yes, I do".

traditionalguy said...

The Granny Warren label fits her well.

Warren specializes in acting like a concerned grandmother while she arranges redistribution the private property of others like any common murdering thug pirate.

Scott Brown will win this going away.

ricpic said...

Now, the subtlety here is that the man cut off the woman...

Feminist Althouse is all about being treated equal up to a direct confrontation between a man and a woman, then all bets are off.

sane_voter said...

Warren was also smiling after the quip, so it was a good zinger.

Brent said...

Brown won. Warren is a prig, someone who would be perfectly happy with a party position back in the cold war days in Russia.

But, she's a woman, and Ann is a woman and Ann votes emotionally as she has spent the last 4 days telling us.

Just more proof that a woman President would be a disaster for the United States

sane_voter said...

And it sounded to me like one part of the audience was laughing and the other part was was doing a "whaaat" while supressing a laugh, like when you don't want to laugh but you can't help yourself.

Brent said...

Poor woman! That man was so mean to her!

How can a woman do good work with a man being so mean to her.

Did she go home and cry?

Massachusetts voters should vote for her because a a man was mean to her.

Bad man! Bad man!

Good woman! Bad man! Good woman!

We like the woman! Bad man!

Vote for the woman. She is a woman! She is not like the bad man!

Woman good! Man bad!

Bob Ellison said...

Now, the subtlety here is that the man cut off the woman, and he did it in a way that called attention to her position as a teacher, and that's a big like calling her a schoolmarm, except that we know she's a Harvard law professor, and thus a powerful, elite sort of professor who exercises power in a setting that is traditionally male. She wields masculine power and presumes to control and channel the speech of less powerful males.

That strikes me as anachronistic and paleo-feministic. Women are already a majority of college students, and will soon become a majority of law school students (it's apparently now about 50/50). The law school faculty, with many notable exceptions, is getting more feminine. Do you really think "traditionally male", "masculine power", and like phrases are accurate? Or are you just being sarcastic?

sane_voter said...

Two points about the debate:

1) Moderator David Gregory is a tool and should not host a debate again. He was much more agressive with Brown than Warren, and he was poor in general with handling the debate.

2) Brown overall was better in the debate. But his one stumble was his answer to DG's question about his favorite Supreme Court justice, answering Scalia. The audience boos and then he throws out a few more names. Warren answered with Kagan (ugh).

rehajm said...
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ndspinelli said...

sane voter, Gregory is known as Howdy Doody in our household.

rehajm said...

...even when the candidate seems lickable...

The blonde professor lady has this right- horny middle age women are an extremely important voting demographic in Massachusetts. Any male Kennedy clan member walks down the sidewalk you have to duck and cover to avoid all the Spanx snapping off any woman over 35 within two blocks. Brown is fortunate he can tap into that group, so to speak.

Bob Ellison said...

David Gregory is 6'5".

I saw him walking in Manhattan once. He really is tall.

Not that that has anything to do with the fact that I'm 5'7".

EDH said...

Althouse: The worst thing to me about the clip, which you should watch for yourself, is that Brown lets it show that he's pleased that he got off the funny...

He seemed to smile at eliciting the groans of the highly partisan crowd. On C-SPAN it sounded to me like Brown was being heckled fairly regularly throughout the debate by a shrill woman in the audience.

Meanwhile, Brown missed a great opportunity when David Gregory asked him if he questioned Warren's scholarship.

Even if Brown didn't charge academic or "scientific misconduct", per se, the history of bias does reveal Warren's slant and the fact she's an ideologue who wouldn't view an issue objectively as a senator. This is the exact contrast Brown has been trying to develop with Warren, presenting himself as the independent thinker.

David Gregory: "Do you doubt in any way her credentials as a scholar?"

Rutgers Law Professor Philip Shuchman:

Most of their study replicates several earlier research publications. These are hardly mentioned. The writers make extravagant and false claims to originality and priority of research. There appear to be serious errors in their use of statistical bases which result in grossly mistaken functions and comparisons. Some of their conclusions cannot be obtained even from their flawed findings. The authors have made their raw data unavailable so that its accuracy cannot be independently checked. In my opinion, the authors have engaged in repeated instances of scientific misconduct.

Jay said...

and that's a big like calling her a schoolmarm

That is all she is. A silly moral scold who is nothing but a hypocrite.

Patrick said...

The debates ought not have moderators. The candidates, a time for an opening statement, some Q & A between the candidates and closing statements. No need for media superstars to be involved at all.

cubanbob said...

This past weekend I was in the Amherst area and what was interesting is that I didn't see any bumper stickers for Warren or Obama and a couple for Brown.

Brent said...

Bad man, Scott Brown!

Good woman, Elizabeth Warren!

Bad , bad man!

Woman good! Man bad!

campy said...

This past weekend I was in the Amherst area and what was interesting is that I didn't see any bumper stickers for Warren or Obama and a couple for Brown.

I drove through south Amherst last week and saw dozens of Warren yard signs, and exactly zero for Brown.

virgil xenophon said...

Brent@9:03 nails it. Warren is the PERFECT example of the party apparatchik; a member in good standing of the Nomenklatura. She would have fit right in, perfectly, seamlessly, in Stalin's Soviet Union in, say, the Ministry of Education...smart enough to be "acceptable" to their Western counterparts, but enough of an ideological fervent true-believer to willing toe-the-line and carry out ANY inane proposal/policy the Party dictates however gruesome the methods needed..

dbp said...

In our middle class outer suburb of Boston, the Brown signs slightly outnumber the Warren signs. Both vastly outnumber Obama and Romney signs, which are about equal with each other, maybe Romney slightly ahead.

virgil xenophon said...

PS: And don't forget the Dacha on the Black Sea while malcontents freeze in Siberia..

edutcher said...

Don't worry about likeable. If they laugh at your zinger, they're already there.

But, yeah, the establishment media types will try to portray the Romster the same way as the WaPo did Brown if he gets off a good one.

Especially if it gets under Choom's skin.

They all know too well what Uncle Saul said about ridicule.

Ann Althouse said...

even when the candidate seems lickable

We can only hope Titus is lurking.

cubanbob said...

campy said...
This past weekend I was in the Amherst area and what was interesting is that I didn't see any bumper stickers for Warren or Obama and a couple for Brown.

I drove through south Amherst last week and saw dozens of Warren yard signs, and exactly zero for Brown.

Interesting. I was in the South Hadley/Holyoke area and didn't see those signs.

Valentine Smith said...

That smile almost humanized her. Before that I thought of her as the KGB's Krebs, shiv in the boot and all. Watch your cojones 007.

Paddy O said...

"She wields masculine power and presumes to control and channel the speech of less powerful males."

How dare she? Wouldn't catch me submitting to that sort of control!

That's why I like to come here to Althouse and post in the comments section of whatever it is you choose for us to discuss each day.

Joe Schmoe said...

Aren't they both elites?

If being an active Nat'l. Guard member for 30 years (currently a colonel) makes you elite, then yeah, I guess he's elite.

I don't think anyone on the Harvard faculty is an active member of the Guard. I haven't looked it up, but I'm just guessing.

C'mon, man.

Strelnikov said...

WaPo's reaction to this will be repeated ad nauseum following the presidential debates. Each point scored against Obama will be described as a failure - of Romney.

Darrell said...

I think it's best if you just consider Warren undocumented, not practicing law without a license. Same with her Native American heritage. Some things are above your pay grade. Not hers, apparently.

Carnifex said...

Sullivan tryin' to sell shit as shinola...that's how we got Zero as a president now.(and yes the brown colored allusion WAS intentional)

Red diaper doper babies can't handle the truth.

Ps,

I heard gasps, murmurs, laughs. Didn't hear no boo's. None. But then I have integrity, not a journalist.

Joournalist is going to quickly surpass used car salesman as the second least trusted person, with congress critters still firmly affixed at number 1 at being number 2.(just all sort of fecal allusions today)

Maybe I should have posted in the pig eats man thread...target rich enviroment.

Scott M said...

Those weren't boos. There were "OH NO HE DI'INT" noises, more's the pity.

Carnifex said...

If we must have a minority president, I'd vote for Crack in a heartbeat. The man in honest to a fault. That's what I want out of my politico's. Not some mamby pamby, shit spewing intellectual.

I'm gonna' go do somethin' before I get on a rant... see ya'll later tonight.

Comanche Voter said...

Ann you're overthinking this.

Scott M said...

But, yeah, the establishment media types will try to portray the Romster the same way as the WaPo did Brown if he gets off a good one.

Especially if it gets under Choom's skin.


Anyone else getting to the point where they can't bring themselves to watch the first debate? I'm looking forward to reading the text and watching video of the highlights, but to actually sit down and watch? Don't know if I can bring myself to do it this time...and I watched every Obama/Hillary debate televised.

Now, the Biden/Ryan debate? Pass the popcorn and get the shot glasses ready.

Chip S. said...

Scott Brown is marching in lockstep with the Rush-Romney-Ryan war on women. He's actually making clear his intention to beat her in the election.

"Beat," see? Do you hear the dog whistle? I predict a Super-Bowl incidence of domestic violence unless this guy dials down the rhetoric. In fact, he should just stop lying and agree that she's the better candidate.

Matthew Sablan said...

"If being an active Nat'l. Guard member for 30 years (currently a colonel) makes you elite, then yeah, I guess he's elite."

-- How about being a Senator? Note: Brown is -also- a lawyer (from Boston College, if Wiki is right.) So, yeah. Pretty elite. This was two equals sparring, not the little person taking on the big one. Brown still came off better in the exchange, but I just don't see the David v Goliath feel.

ganderson said...
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ganderson said...
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ganderson said...

cubanbob- I live in Amherst- (Dane Co East) Brown signs are thin on the ground. The only Brown bumper sticker I've seen is on my golf/hockey buddy's truck. (I don't have one- as a public school teacher I have this quaint notion that I shouldn't politic in school). Lots of Brown signs in south Worcester County, where I work, though. I'd guess Granny'll win Amherst 90-10, but lose statewide.

BarrySanders20 said...

Those were Ooooooohs, not Boos. Like ooh you burned her. Not an Indian burn, mind you, but a good old fashioned white kid "you got burned" noise.

Like when Lou Whitaker came to bat in Tiger Stadium and the crowd yelled "Louuuuuuu!" Or Luuuuuuuu-croy for the current Brewers.

Only boos if that's what you wanted to hear.

BarrySanders20 said...

Those were Ooooooohs, not Boos. Like ooh you burned her. Not an Indian burn, mind you, but a good old fashioned white kid "you got burned" noise.

Like when Lou Whitaker came to bat in Tiger Stadium and the crowd yelled "Louuuuuuu!" Or Luuuuuuuu-croy for the current Brewers.

Only boos if that's what you wanted to hear.

Lem said...

It reminds me of the Iran Contra Hearings. When Brendan Sullivan told the Committee council, who was urging North to answer the question while Sullivan whispered something in Norths ear...

Sullivan said something to the effect... I'm here to do a job... "I'm not a potted plant".

Ann Althouse said...

"But, she's a woman, and Ann is a woman and Ann votes emotionally as she has spent the last 4 days telling us."

If you were more rational than emotional, you would have done a much better job of reading what I actually wrote. Shame on you for getting the point so very wrong. But you probably have preening pride in your understanding, which you think you look good parading here in an imperious style.

You are an emotional wreck of a man, Brent.

ndspinelli said...

Comanche Voter, Overthinking is Ann's specialty. She thinks it's impressive.

Bob Ellison said...

You are a projection of my emotion, Brent.

ndspinelli said...

ChipS, You're so sexist!!

Beldar said...

Fictional law student James Hart never tried to resist "the control of the imperious lawprof Prof. Kingsfield" in either the book, movie, or TV versions of "The Paper Chase."

He started off, as a 1L, by being mystified and intimidated. At the top of the story arc, he was publicly humiliated by Kingsfield: the famous scene in which Kingsfield calls him to the front of the class and says, "Here's a dime, Mr. Hart. Call your mother and tell her there are serious doubts that you will ever become a lawyer." (Or something close to that; going from memory here, not imdb.com.) Hart does not throw the dime back in Kingsfield's face, but slinks away. And then Hart suddenly "gets it": he suddenly understands the majesty and the awe of the law and Prof. Kingsfield's place in its hierarchy, whereupon Hart becomes the top student in the class and Kingsfield's research assistant, favored student protege, and top admirer.

McTriumph said...

So if the Senator Brown is "Mister Hart" and Prof. Warren is "Kingsfield", does that also mean the Senator is knocking the bottom out of Warren's daughter? If so he deserves the "Kennedy seat".

sleepless nights said...

Someone at an MBA class at UCB asked the professor whether women do as well in negotiations. She said the most recent studies show they do as well, but their likeability is much lower which can effect future negotiations indirectly. IOW, the guys could be much more aggressive or passive and would still be perceived as likable. The women had a much more narrow perceptual sweet spot they had to hit.

Smilin' Jack said...

But let's talk about likeability. (Note: I prefer the spelling "likeable" to "likable," even when the candidate seems lickable.)

No, let's talk about the important thing. It's a tough call, but I'd rather lick Warren.

Emery Calame said...

"You are an emotional wreck of a man, Brent."

Law school pop psych health diagnosis.

Sort of like astrophysics from an auto-shop class, or statistical theory from a drama prof.

Baron Zemo said...

Lieawatha is a female professor who is used to schooling pimple faced weasels who want to grow up to be ambulance chasers.

You should recognize the tone boys!

John Anderson said...

Interesting that you'd think of "Paper Chase." The dean of Harvard law marked the 40th anniversary of "The Paper Chase" last week, with a discussion with the author, which led a group of anonymous bloggers at the school to run a poll on whether or not one of Warren's main defenders, Larry Tribe, is the "Anti-Kingsfield" of the post-modern "Paper Chase," borrowing an idea from Instapundit. More here and here:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/09/annals-of-political-correctness.php

http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/09/mass-lawyers-weekly-readers-want-investigation-of-elizabeth-warren-license-problem/

The student blog is here:
http://harvardlawschoolisbogus.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/the-anti-hero-of-harvard-law-school

The Crack Emcee said...

Those were boos with a *little* cheering.

You're seeing what you want to see now.

Worrying,...

harrogate said...

Wow, here we entertain a moment where a voter might think, even subconsciously (in relation to this clip or *any* clip): "Scott Brown, Man of the People."

I really do think he was going for something like that, in the clip. But it takes a suspension of everything we know about him, and Warren, to actually take the bait on it.

Joe Schmoe said...

-- How about being a Senator? Note: Brown is -also- a lawyer (from Boston College, if Wiki is right.) So, yeah. Pretty elite. This was two equals sparring, not the little person taking on the big one. Brown still came off better in the exchange, but I just don't see the David v Goliath feel.

So you have a story and you're sticking to it. Brown has only been a Senator for a couple of years because he came out of nowhere to win a special election for Teddy K's vacated seat. (The special election was a result of a Democrat-sponsored law to take the appointee power away from the governor; they did this prior to 2004 in case Kerry won the prez and the incumbent Repub guv, who happened to be Mitt Romney, would've appointed a Repub to the Senate. I've never enjoyed such a political petard-hoisting as I did with Brown's win.)

So you seem to think they are equal elites. Brown didn't live in a shoebox, but he doesn't have anywhere near the pedigree of Harvard law prof Warren. Also, are you familiar with Mass politics? Do you understand that a Republican Senator is unheard of there? His win in the special election was the equivalent of the Canadian army securing Normandy beach on D-Day in WWII. You might think he fits some sort of elite label, but he's not the one attending the salons and soirees in the Back Bay and Nantucket. Continuing with the Canadian Army in Occupied Europe, this election is him precariously holding the beachhead while also trying to advance inland a few miles. Such is the landscape of Massachusetts politics. The Dems have a stranglehold on it the way the Axis Powers did on Europe circa 1942.