The Maine View on Olympia Snowe

D.Eris from the Poli-Tea Party Blog (and you aren’t reading his blog because?) asked my opinion on Maine Senator Olympia Snowe’s comments on Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democrats. I got my scoop on the story from The Moderate Voice. Here is their piece.

from The Moderate Voice:

Maine Senator Olympia Snowe is among the last moderate Republican officeholders remaining. In the New York Times she laments the departure of her friend and fellow moderate Arlen Specter for the Democratic Party, claiming that her party has failed to appreciate the need for moderates as well as conservatives in order to win. Then she pulls out the big guns, quoting Ronald Reagan:

“We should emphasize the things that unite us and make these the only ‘litmus test’ of what constitutes a Republican: our belief in restraining government spending, pro-growth policies, tax reduction, sound national defense, and maximum individual liberty…As to the other issues that draw on the deep springs of morality and emotion, let us decide that we can disagree among ourselves as Republicans and tolerate the disagreement.”

It was Barry Goldwater who, in 1964, said, “Extremism at the defense of liberty is no vice… and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” He lost.

Reagan advocated the big tent for his party, announced that a liberal Republican senator from Pennsylvania would be his running mate if he won the GOP nomination in 1976, and when he became president in 1981, compromised with Tip O’Neill to get his agenda through Congress. Reagan won.

As a Mainer, I’d be really surprised to see Snowe and Collins jump ship. They would have more competition from Dems in the primary. That was part of the reason for Specter to move, Repub primary competition.

Maine is also not the same as the rest of New England. We have the only NE Repub senators left. If you are out of the greater Portland area, life is not easy for a Dem. Plus both Snowe and Collins have some of the highest approval ratings in the Senate.

No, the Republican ship would have to be just about underwater for them to jump in the blue dog lifeboat.

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Is Three A Magic Number for Politicians?

If you follow politics even peripherally you’d know that there has been a lot of political infighting. “Blue Dog” democrats bicker over budget details with more liberal colleagues. Republicans have turned their big tent into a pillow fort. The social liberals/fiscal conservatives in each party are being pushed aside. On of the Republican prophets of a coming change has been Meghan McCain.

from The Moderate Voice

People in our country have much more important issues to deal with on a daily basis. But the experience did reinforce what I learned on the campaign trail in some major ways.

I’ll summarize them in three points:

1. Most of our nation wants our nation to succeed.
2. Most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past.
3. Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future…

..I feel too many Republicans want to cling to past successes. There are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being “more” conservative. Worse, there are those who think we can win by changing nothing at all about what our party has become. They just want to wait for the other side to be perceived as worse than us. I think we’re seeing a war brewing in the Republican party, but it is not between us and Democrats. It is not between us and liberals. It is between the future and the past. I believe most people are ready to move on to that future…

…Simply embracing technology isn’t going to fix our problem either. Republicans using Twitter and Facebook isn’t going to miraculously make people think we’re cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don’t divide our nation further will. That’s why some in our party are scared. They sense the world around them is changing and they are unable to take the risk to jump free of what’s keeping our party down…

…I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican.

What can come of all this infighting? Are we moving toward having one large viable third party? The Repubs are boarding on a “civil war”, mostly over social issues. Dems are in a similar situation, except over fiscal issues. Will the social liberal/fiscal conservatives in each party break tradition and join each other?

While I don’t think this is likely, it makes for some interesting speculation. What would a three party US look like? What would that do to the political structure of this country? Political financing? What would this alternate history look like?

Opinions?

Sunday Editorial on Editorials – Gay marriage and negotiation thank you

Let’s start off this weekend with an editorial from the Portland Press Herald. The writer is critical of a new argument proposed in favor of the gay marriage bills here in Maine. The argument? The bill would produce an economic boost.

from Portland Press Herald

The Williams Institute at the University of California School of Law has issued a report claiming that the Maine economy would see a $60 million boost over the next three years if same-sex couples were allowed to marry.

The study estimated how many couples would take advantage of the law and what they would spend on a wedding. It also estimated how much the state would collect in taxes and fees.

In this tough economy, it’s hard to be against anything that would help generate activity and boost tax revenues, but it is equally hard to believe that this type of analysis would help any thoughtful person come to a decision on this issue.

The gay marriage issue is one of beliefs, not of numbers. The editorial goes on to state that whether people are for or against the issue has nothing to do with economics. If people voted on these sort of things based solely on economics pot and prostitution would have long been legalized.

Linking the gay marriage issue to money only cheapens the discussion. We need to reach out to people’s hearts and minds, not their wallets. Let’s not forget that this is an issue affecting real people, people who love each other, people who are being denied rights that the rest of us, including myself at times, take for granted. There are plenty of solid reasons for people to be for or against gay marriage. Don’t be distracted by time wasting speculation.

Next we have a letter to the editor from the Bangor Daily News. The writer thanks senators Snowe and Collins for showing the courage to stand up for what they believed in and for bringing moderation to the stimulus bill. In a time when moderate Republicans are facing a firing-line of their GOP counterparts this letter is refreshing. I’ll let you read the whole thing.

from Bangor Daily News

Thinking outside the box is a term associated with progress, innovation and even brilliance. Mainers should be proud of Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for showing the courage and responsibility to not only think outside the box, but to vote outside the box on the stimulus bill. To step across a line that had metamorphosed into an almost insurmountable wall was an act of political bravery. But that is what Mainers have come to expect from both Collins and Snowe.

Collins and Snowe have been thinking, responsible members of Congress who put the good of the people at the top of their agenda. If all politicians held themselves to these standards, Congress would be a different place.

Political parties are necessary evils, but if members of those parties cannot be independent thinkers who consider and weigh issues, then the governmental process we pride ourselves on is just an illusion. The party borders need to be elastic and fluid so ideas and actions can blend and merge and the best possible answers and actions can result. Bipartisanism, compromise and negotiate — Collins and Snowe understand these words.

Snowe contributed to the stimulus bill workings not only through her position on the Senate Finance Committee, but also by trading ideas with Vice President Biden. By stepping up to the plate — and into the Oval Office to negotiate — Collins had a major role in the stimulus compromise.

Negotiated bipartisan compromise: the way government should be!

Thoughts, opinions, rants? Let’s hear ’em