Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Olympia Snowe Republicans"

University of Maine Professor Mark Brewer coins a new term in the fresh issue of York Weekly. And he's onto something.

Don't get us wrong: In this blog's first post, we argued that Sen. Snowe has done more than her share of Bush-enabling over the years. And we still believe that.

But Maine's senior senator has carved out a niche as that rare Republican who is willing--at least occasionally--to buck the Bush administration when it counts.

Listening to the Maine media (or what's left of it) you'd assume that Sen. Collins is a prime, even quintessential, example of Olympia Snowe Republicanism. But the facts tell a different story:

--Only one of Maine's senators has opposed setting an Iraq withdrawal timeline.

--Only one Maine senator supported President Bush's irresponsible 2003 tax cut package for the rich.

--Only one Maine senator voted for the habeas-shredding Military Commissions Act of 2006 and then against reinstating habeas corpus in a later bill.

--And only one Maine senators opposed an airline passengers bill of rights, $200 billion in food stamps and extending tax breaks for alternative energy.

These were all critical votes on matters of pressing importance. On the line were core national priorities, fundamental legal protections and American lives. And a few of them were at the very top of President Bush's agenda.

Snowe found a way to side with the interests of Maine and the nation even though it meant standing up to the leader of her party.

Collins chose a different path.

Of course, the junior senator might argue that--far from voting to enable a radical, dangerous President--it just so happened that on each of these votes she agreed with George W. Bush on the merits. That's an argument I'd be eager to hear.

In the meantime, don't let anyone tell you that Maine's two senators are two peas in a pod.

It just ain't true.

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