Friday, March 02, 2012
Olympia Snow – Republican Party’s Most Moderate Senator – What her Departure Means in the Grand Scheme of the GOP/DNC Divide
Olympia Snow with Susan Collins - Republican Moderates Maine - image time.com
Three-Term Senator, Olympia Snow of Maine has decided to call it quits, just months before the Maine Primary in June, basically handing a Senate Seat to the Democrats in November. Snow, whose career has endeared her own political party’s opposition, is one of a handful of “moderate Republican’s” in the Senate who caucus most often with their Democrat peers. Snow would have been easily reelected, according to news sources, although she faced two challengers in the GOP primary, there are four Democrats vying for the vacated Senate Seat.
Although snow is blaming “gridlock” and the “tone in Washington” as the reason for her retirement, the few moderates in the Senate, are more responsible for the gridlock than they can personally acknowledge - There is a difference between one being part of a political party and adopting the party ideology – voting straight party lines, and one who holds their convictions, but votes in the interest of their state, crossing the aisle to do so, if the other “team” has a better idea (See Scott Brown (R-MA) – versus the individual who represents a political party, yet votes with the opposing ideology over 70% of the time. In fact, Olympia Snow, rather than being a moderate Republican was more of a Democrat. Had she run as a Democrat, she may not have won those three terms, Maine having a somewhat quasi-Conservative streak, therefore one has to ask – what difference will it make should a Democrat take Snow’s seat – Not much in theory and practice, but on paper – the Republican Party loses a seat, and the media makes hay.
The Democrats are also deluded into thinking that they now will regain control of the Senate and the Congress, given the media accounts of Snow’s seat obviously going blue (and not, perhaps thinking things through, or just using the obvious implications as Public Relations. How Democrats will show this as a loss to Republican’s remains a mystery, but with a little help from the media, it appears they are winning the PR game.
Follow this logic: If one is not specifically tied ideologically to a political party, and they hold a public office, voting consistently with the “other party”, then one can be seen as somewhat of a hypocrite, or political opportunities. One of the two challengers to Senator Snow, Republican Ian Dodge, when disgusted with the Maine Republican primary contest, (and one must surmise other factors having to do with the GOP), he switched party affiliation, and is now running as an Independent (Bangor Daily News). There have been several Congressional Representatives and Senators, since the political party systems began, (which our founders warned against by the way) who switched sides as their ideology or options for reelection have changed. There is a reason why there should be multiple parties within these United States, (and there are, but weak, both in number and financially), in order to offset the “machines” that are the GOP and the DNC, having nothing to do with “the people” rather the power of those who hold the office. Therefore, what we currently have are those in office, either blue dog Democrat or Moderate Republican who are there solely for personal gain, not to serve their people. If they were there to serve, they'd switch affiliation and vote that parties platform.
The Collins-Snow Male Dopplegangers - image cable.foreignpolicy.com
Snow leaving for reasons of “gridlock”, are somewhat amusing, considering, Gridlock is when nothing takes place, there is no forward movement – had she voted on occasion, (with the other Moderates), the process would have moved forward, or not, depending on which “team” had the ball at the time. Gridlock in Washington results when both parties have only a small margin to get enough votes to do anything – and when four or five break ranks and go Democrat (Snow, Collins, etc.), everything stalls.
Therefore, this is much ado about nothing, there is no change, and both parties, will be the better for her retirement, as will the people of the State of Maine.
A Maine Fact: (which may clarify the politics at play) – was part of Massachusetts until the Missouri Compromise in 1820 – Those in the Senate wishing to balance the number of Free versus Slave States, gave Missouri Slave Status, but needed a Free State – Massachusetts was willing to oblige and gave the nation: Maine. Consider the ideology of Massachusetts, although considered a Blue (if not the bluest) state, there is a strong Independent streak, with the majority of the electorate undeclared (declaring a party only when one wishes to vote in a primary – then un-declaring once on has cast their vote. Although there is a remarkably strong liberal leaning, that is not the entire state, but the section West of the City of Westfield and north of the Holyoke – where if one takes a Sunday drive, one can still find little hippy festivals in the middle of summer – throughout the hill towns, as if traveling back in time to the 1960’s.
Is Maine much different when one leaves the coast – where tourism and factory outlets are prevalent?
Or Vermont – complete with the only Communist Senator in the nation?
Therefore, in this opinion, it is not a loss or gain for either party, but perhaps a gain for the pubic, that Senator Snow has decided to retire. Perhaps there are a few more that would join her, or declare themselves Independent, Communist, Green Party, what have you and stop being such a pack of hypocrites (this goes for both sides of the aisle.) As she was heading for victory by virtue of the (r) next to her name on the ballot (if one thinks that the general public pays any attention at all to who their elected officials are, think again), the seat will most likely go to the individual whom the electorate knows more about (by virtue of advertising) or will vote for whoever has the R in front of their name (Similar to MA voter who do the same, name recognition first, party second).
The general election will be another matter. Maine is a state that has some serious economic woes, little to no manufacturing, and a reliance on natural resources and the weather (tourism). November the nation will vote with its pocketbook, and the one individual standing that offers them the “hope” that they will alleviate the poor to what’s’ left of the middle class, financial burden, will get the job.
Snow will most likely be staying in Washington near K Street (where the lobbyist play) (Politico) – in an “attempt to influence the Government from the Outside”(Reuters)(a keyword for lobbyist).