Skip to content

Olympia Snowe’s huge gift to Democrats

February 28, 2012

“Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.”

The charitable way to read this is that Snowe is tired of pretending to be more outraged by the Obama administration and Democrats in general than she actually is and that she’d rather retire than keep catering to the Tea Party. More realistically, she just honestly believes that D.C.’s current polarized condition is equally the fault of both parties. Again, if she really wanted to work across the aisle and with the White House more, she probably could have, because of the option of an independent reelection candidacy.

But even if she wasn’t particularly helpful to them these past few years, Snowe is doing Democrats a huge favor now. With Snowe in it, Democrats had virtually no chance of winning the Maine Senate race this year. Now they are likely to do so, given the state’s partisan bent. Two Democrats, Chellie Pingree and Michael Michaud, represent the state in the U.S. House now and are potential candidates. So is John Baldacci, who was governor from 2003 to 2011, and Tom Allen, who gave up his House seat after six terms in 2008 to run unsuccessfully against Sen. Susan Collins. The race is not a gimme for Democrats, particularly with the possibility that an independent candidate (Cutler maybe?) could get in and draw substantial support. But it’s very, very winnable for them.

And a pickup in Maine would alter the playing field nationally, where Democrats can survive a net loss of three seats and still retain control of the chamber (if Obama is reelected, with Vice President Joe Biden breaking a 50-50 tie). The party is facing potential losses in Virginia, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico and elsewhere, with only two obvious pickup targets (Massachusetts and Nevada) — until now. If there is a second term for the Obama White House, Snowe may end up being a lot more helpful to it than she was in the first term.

Read the full article at Salon

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: