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Scott Brown needs a dictionary

Associated Press

Earlier this year, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) began criticizing his main Democratic rival, Elizabeth Warren, for being a "hypocrite." The argument went like this: Warren makes a fair amount of money, but she's an advocate for struggling, working families. Ergo, she's guilty of "hypocrisy."

The problem, of course, is that this line of attack is dumb, and reflects ignorance about the meaning of the word "hypocrite." Warren has acquired a fair amount of wealth, after having been raised by a family of modest means and putting herself through law school, but she's now one of the nation's leading voices in representing the interests of the middle class.

Brown can agree or disagree on the merits of her beliefs, and he and his fellow Republicans are free to argue that fighting for the middle class is a bad idea, but when those with considerable personal resources look at the status quo -- a growing class gap, wealth concentrated at the top, rising poverty -- and want a more progressive approach, that's admirable, not hypocritical.

And yet, Brown and his team are still confused.

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown's campaign accused Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren of "hypocrisy" after she admitted to not paying higher taxes than the state requires. [...]

"The problem with running a campaign based on self-righteousness and moral superiority is that you had better live up to the same standard you would impose on everyone else," [Brown campaign managed Jim Barnett] said. ... "This is the sort of hypocrisy and double-speak voters are sick and tired of hearing from politicians, especially those who can't keep their hands out of others' pocketbooks."

Let's explain this in basic terms.

1. Elizabeth Warren makes a good living and pays her taxes.

2. Warren believes she and others in her income bracket should pay higher taxes.

3. Warren would gladly pay higher taxes, but she hasn't made charitable contributions to the government treasury, and she hasn't urged anyone else to make charitable contributions to the government treasury, either.

If Brown and his team think this is "hypocrisy," perhaps Warren could use some of her money to send a dictionary to the Republican campaign headquarters.