Scott Brown: Independent or lock-step Republican?

Scott BrownIs Scott Brown a “different kind of Republican” as he claims or will his Senate service be just another lockstep member of his political party?

That’s the question the junior Senator from Massachusetts faces as the Republican takes the seat long occupied by Democratic political icon Ted Kennedy.

Vioe President Joe Biden issued the oath of office to Brown Thursday, giving Republicans 41 votes in the Senate and ending the veto-proof Democratic lock.

Brown says he is an independent but his first comments after officially becoming a Senator was standard Republican rhetoric, reciting party line attacks against the economic stimulus program.

Brown was sworn in Thursday a week earlier than he had planned and spent his first minutes as a senator facing questions on whether he will stick with the GOP in the partisan fight over President Barack Obama’s choice of a union attorney, Craig Becker, for a top labor job.

“I’m going to look at everybody’s qualifications and make my own decision,” he claimed.

“He’s clearly independent-minded and I cannot wait to get him here,” Republican Senator Collins told The Associated Press. “I think this is going to be a terrific development for our party.”

But being an independent in the bitterly-partisan Congress is not easy.

Joe Lieberman knows. The Connecticut independent and former Democrat supported Republican John McCain’s 2008 presidential. It nearly cost Lieberman a key committee chairmanship.

“It won’t always be easy because sometimes when you’re independent, you make people on all sides unhappy,” Lieberman said.