And you thought tomorrow's big news would be the
threatening blizzard? Nope - Olympia Snowe is going to be the big headline.
She's leaving the US Senate, in a move that apparently surprised even
her own staff. It changes the political landscape in Maine and around the country.
She is a key Republican moderate whose vote was often coveted on both sides
of the aisle (an influence she may have
overhyped for electoral benefit).
Sadly, it didn't work. Snowe, it's your turn.
Jason Linkins over at HuffPo has an interesting piece on how independent Susan Collins is not, of late, and particularly on important issues. As I reported two years ago, she's pretty strongly co-dependent. She voted with GW Bush 77 percent of the time overall, and 88 percent of the time on his economic policies. Now she wants to know what his dad thinks about nuclear weapons.
Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post has a clear-eyed take on the political skullduggery that Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have been engaged in, trying to play both sides of their "moderate Republican" position in an increasingly extreme political age. Of course, Phoenix readers know exactly how "moderate" they are, having voted with George W.
Look, we know Maine senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins only appear moderates by contrast with their rabid, attack-dog, mama-grizzly Republican coreligionists (I've reported on that before). But seriously, Olympia and Susan? Opposing Obama's tax plan because it cuts taxes for 95-percent-plus of Americans, but lets tax breaks expire for people making over $250,000 a year?
The New Republic has a running series about how health-care reform was ultimately passed in the form we got. Today is part four of the five-part epic, in which the publication reveals that despite hours upon hours of one-on-one conversations with Senate leaders and even President Obama, Olympia Snowe ultimately opposed the deal because it wasn't debated enough.
The Associated Press reported late Friday that Senator Olympia Snowe still wants to be involved in crafting health-care reform in Congress.
In part, she's objecting to the process, which has largely not involved Republicans, many of whom have called Obama's plan akin to "socialism" (though they have conveniently forgotten that term is exactly what their beloved Medicare is).
Olympia Snowe (whose fashion sense is the subject of a survey here) says she will vote for the Finance Committee's healthcare reform bill today, according to Ryn Grim. She's not promising how she'll vote on anything down the road, and we know the thing will be reworked substantially, but it's a move in the right direction.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos has predicted how Senator Olympia Snowe will vote on the Finance Committee's healthcare-reform bill today.
Most interesting - the 15 percent chance he gives to her taking a pass on the most significant committee vote of her career. Do you think he's right?
CrooksAndLiars.com has a sharp analysis of Olympia Snowe's proposal for a "trigger," which she has painted as a compromise on the public-option debate for healthcare reform. The basic idea is that Snowe wants to give the insurance companies one last, real, final, we-swear-no-more-after-this, no-backs chance to provide competition in the marketplace.
Senator Olympia Snowe, whom I said a couple of weeks ago appeared to be failing to understand the point of healthcare reform, is showing a small sign she might be starting to get it.
A Friday story in the Bangor Daily News has her supporting what she calls a "safety net plan," a public option that would compete with private insurance from the very beginning (without any sort of delay allowing the private companies to again prove they won't fix the problem themselves).
I joined a conference call with state representatives Diane Russell (D-Portland) and Adam Goode (D-Bangor) this afternoon. Also speaking on the call were Harriett Spencer of AFSCME Council 93, and Maine citizens Judy Morgan and David White. The point of the call was to mark President Obama's first 100 days in office, and also to express appreciation for US Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and Reps Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree.
Though Jeff wondered yesterday if Maine's Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are far behind Arlen Specter in defecting from the GOP, Snowe's New York Times op-ed today indicates that she's more focused on reforming her party and making sure it learns lessons from this most recent blow.
"When Senator Jeffords became an independent in 2001, I said it was a sad day for the Republicans, but it would be even sadder if we failed to confront and learn from the devaluation of diversity within the party that contributed to his defection," she writes, before blaming the GOP's lack of perspective for "the disasterous elections of 2006 and 2008."
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter just did, citing "a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable" between himself and the Republican Party that became clear during the debate over President Obama's stimulus package. The only two other Republican senators to vote for that package are from Maine.