Heads Up for Scott Brown: Watch Your Back

Friday, 05 Feb 2010 09:48 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Brown, the newly sworn-in U.S. senator from the great state of Massachusetts, had better watch his back. The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

Brown, swept into office by campaigning against Washington, is the Man of the Moment. He has good looks and charisma (they usually go hand in hand, you know). He has the necessary wholesome, if camera-ready, family, too. He has it all.

And that's precisely his problem.

I predict that Brown is about to discover, the hard way, that America loves to do two things: build you up and then knock you down. Icons fade rather quickly here in the digital age. People get tired of you real quickly. Brown's good looks eventually may work against him. His charisma may seem shopworn as well.

It's always a shock to the system of a politician when the tide turns. It is happening now to President Barack Obama, who was swept into office himself by campaigning against the Washington establishment. His rhetoric, once supercharged with hope and purpose, subsequently began to sound hollow and cliche-ridden. Now, he has to mount a major comeback just to get back to where he had been. It's madness, right?

Just ask Hillary Clinton. The new best-seller "Game Change" illustrates in anecdote after anecdote just how fragile a politician's hold on the electorate can be.

It isn't only the celebrity politicians on the left, either, who inevitably go through this meat-grinder. Sarah Palin found out exactly how quickly charisma can fade and become your albatross. What had come across as rustic charms quickly morphed into silly platitudes and wacky observations.

And wasn't Sen. John McCain once hailed by the glowing nickname of "Maverick?"

So, what can Scott Brown to make sure he doesn't lose his mojo? He would be wise to take a vacation from the public eye now. He should fly under the radar for awhile once he officially joins the cauldron of the U.S. Senate. He cannot become any more famous than he already is right now.

If Brown doesn't play his card right, he faces the danger of becoming known as a shooting star of Washington, like so many others before him.
Just ask Barack and Hillary and Sarah and John and. . . well, you get the picture.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.

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