Monday, May 10, 2010

Is Olympia Snowe In Trouble Back Home In Maine?


Maine's senior Senator, Olympia Snowe, isn't up for re-election until 2012. She's generally ranked as one of the half dozen most beloved members of the Senate among voters in her own state; in fact, I think last time I saw that ranking, she was numero uno. A mainstream conservative, she votes more frequently with the Democrats than any other Republican in the Senate. In a state that only gave McCain 40% of its vote, her last re-election margin was a stunning 74%. Maine's both members of Congress are Democrats (as is the governor), but Mainers love Snowe. So why am I writing this post?

Last week, in discussing financial reform and reining in Wall Street predators, Snowe was widely quoted as saying "I'm always willing to be the only Republican if it's the right thing, and it's important to do the right thing on this." That plays really well in Maine, where they love to think of her as a moderate, but not quite as well among Maine Republicans as it does among the much more numerous Maine Democrats and independents. And it is, after all, the Maine Republicans who will decide if Olympia Snowe is their candidate in 2012. Could she fall victim to the same GOP civil war that just saw Bob Bennett ousted from the GOP in Salt Lake City?

Well, while Bennett was being smashed to bits by teabaggers back in Utah-- ultimately not even being allowed onto the Republican primary ballot!-- Snowe was addressing the Maine Republican Party convention in Portland. An A.P. report noted that "There was no formal presence by the tea party movement."
Andrew Ian Dodge, Maine coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, warned the GOP not to take the tea party movement for granted, as has happened in other states.

"The GOP is saying, 'OK, you've had your fun, now sit down and shut up' so we can prepare for November. A lot of Republicans don't understand that the tea party movement is independent and that the people who're involved aren't voting along party lines," he said.

But then something very strange happened. Snowe-- and Susan Collins-- went back home to Washington and the Maine Republican Party all drank the teabagger koolaid. They scrapped the party platform Snowe and Collins had approved and adopted a crazy quilt document a cabal of bizarre teabaggers had concocted.
The official platform for the Republican Party of Maine is now a mix of right-wing fringe policies, libertarian buzzwords and outright conspiracy theories.

The document calls for the elimination of the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, demands an investigation of "collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth," suggests the adoption of "Austrian Economics," declares that "'Freedom of Religion' does not mean 'freedom from religion'" (which I guess makes atheism illegal), insists that "healthcare is not a right," calls for the abrogation of the "UN Treaty on Rights of the Child" and the "Law Of The Sea Treaty" and declares that we must resist "efforts to create a one world government."

It also contains favorable mentions of both the Tea Party and Ron Paul. You can read the whole thing here.

Dan Billings, who has served as an attorney for the Maine GOP, called the new platform "wack job pablum" and "nutcase stuff."

Despite the document's crazy content, Maine Republican Party Chair Charlie Webster insisted to the AP that all of the elements in the platform are things that Republicans support. He claimed to the Press Herald that these issues reflect the values of working-class Mainers.

Many of the Republican candidates who have to run on this nutty document are downplaying it and saying it will e relegated to the trashbin 5 minutes after the convention is over. Peter Mills is a Republican favored to win the gubernatorial primary June 8th and he seemed unhappy about it. "You need mainstream Republicans to come to these conventions," he said. "They won't come if they're not relevant... if you adopt a platform that most Republicans won't support, let alone the independents or Democrats, you're adopting a document that doesn't help anyone get elected."

John Lavoie, a recently unemployed independent voter from New Auburn told us he thinks the Republicans have just shot themselves in the foot. "Just when some voters were starting to take them seriously again, they come up with this crazy stuff and remind everybody why Maine keeps electing Democrats... If the Republicans follow through with this line of thought, they'll drive Snowe out of the party the same way the lunatic fringe drove Arlen Specter out of the GOP in Pennsylvania. There are plenty of Republicans who hate her and Collins. They don't even consider them Republicans. They want the ones like Sarah Palin and the crazy governor of Texas who wants to secede. Or was that South Carolina? I'm sure Democrats would love to run Snowe and see the Republicans put up some kook like Paul LePage or Bill Beardsley."

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At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snowe is part of the criminal wing of the GOP. Lets not feel bad if she gets chased out. Like Lieberman she is with the Dems on votes that go 65-35, but on close votes, she always lets her true colors show.

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How prescient. Olympia Snowe will not run for reelection. What a loss for the country.

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Jacob said...

The collaborating "mainstream Rep" RINOs are the tyrants, and the Tea Party the anti-tyrants.
Charlie Webster is a two-faced bastard. With this platform one day, the next day he steals the Maine vote from Ron Paul. Another statist loser.


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