Joan Vennochi Poor Scott Brown - once again, he is stuck dealing with fluff, otherwise known as the unemployed. Senator Brown and his fellow Republicans are itching to get to the important stuff - extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. But before they play Santa to the rich, they must play scrooge to the jobless. As Christmas lights twinkle, Republicans want to cut off benefits that are paid from the revenue that workers produce. With carollers crooning about peace and goodwill, the GOP supports tax cuts that will add to the deficit they supposedly want to reduce. This yuletide pageant is a study in shameless hypocrisy. What Republicans are doing is using the unemployed as a bargaining chip for getting what they really want. That would be ending up with a Merry Christmas for all - the extension of the Bush tax cuts for everyone, not just the middle class. And, after all the posturing, thats what will happen. The outcome has been clear ever since White House aide David Axelrod told The Huffington Post: We have to deal with the world as we find it. After the mid-term elections, that world is more complicated for Democrats. But, it is also more complicated for Brown. Massachusettss junior Senator now looks like a man trying to straddle a picket fence. He is trying to please out-of-state Tea Party activists and moderate independents back home. Ouch....Thats a long stretch that severely tests what it means to be a Scott Brown Republican. In a recent speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Brown complained that Congress wastes too much time on fluff, and should focus instead on the very important things that can get our country and our state moving again. Whats very important to Brown? Tax cuts, he told those Boston business leaders. Brown also told the Chamber crowd he knows there is a target on his back, and he is right. It is no accident that Governor Deval Patrick, who just won re-election to a second term, is urging Brown to vote to extend unemployment benefits. Although he said that he is not interested in the job, the Governor is already on the list of those mentioned as possible candidates for the Senate seat that Brown won last January. This is a question of character, of national character, and I hope that Scott Brown understands it that way and does what needs to be done, Patrick said on WTKK-FM. Thats framing it in a way that really puts Brown over that picket fence. Being a deficit hawk, albeit a phoney one, pleases one constituency, but in the Bay State, it could be trouble. Meanwhile, for a guy who is supposedly tired of fluff, he has a way of wallowing in it. During that meeting with Boston business leaders, Brown dodged questions about cuts to social security and medicare. It is much easier to be against earmarks, because they are all supposedly wasteful, at the same time he supports a multi-billion dollar weapons programme that General Electric wants to build and the Pentagon considers useless. This week, as Brown moved to block unemployment benefits, he delivered a meandering floor speech that was a reprise of his earlier complaint about priorities. Criticising the time spent on a food safety bill, he implored his colleagues to concentrate on the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs. While expressing sympathy for the unemployed, Brown said that he opposed extending benefits without an offset. He wants to use federal funds already authorised by the Congress, but not yet spent by federal agencies. Are we going to do it from the bank account, or are we going to put it on the credit card? he asked. If that is a good question for the jobless, why is it OK to put $700 billion in tax cuts on a credit card to benefit the rich? That is not fluff. That is serious deficit spending. Boston Globe