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Friday, October 28, 2016

Who can blame Olympia Snowe for giving up on the U.S. Senate?

It has become a dysfunctional institution, infected by the same virulent partisanship that long ago claimed the House, hamstrung by rules that elevate petty politics over policy and stripped of the reasoned debate and thoughtful compromise that once characterized its work. Because filibusters now threaten most bills, it takes 60 votes, not a simple majority, to pass even innocuous legislation.

Snowe told MSNBC last week that it’s “very, very difficult to resolve major issues” in Congress, describing the two political parties as “working in a parallel universe with competing proposals.”

It is fashionable among reporters and ostensibly non-partisan observers to parcel out blame for this depressing state of affairs equally among Democrats and Republicans, but that’s simply not accurate. Most of the blame for the current state of affairs in the Senate — as you’ve figured out if you’ve been watching the Republican primary campaign — belongs with a GOP that has becoming increasingly obstreperous even as it becomes increasingly unmoored from reality.

The Republican Party has been taken over by a right-wing faction that champions ideological purity over compromise and bellicose rhetoric over measured consideration. That left Snowe, a GOP moderate who understood that governance requires give-and-take, increasingly isolated within her own party.

A longtime supporter of women’s reproductive health care, Snowe is now the very rare Republican lawmaker who supports abortion rights, for example. That stance makes her an easy target for ultraconservatives, since social issues have suddenly resurfaced as central to party politics.

The New York Times reports that tea party activists jeered at the mention of the senator’s name during Republican caucuses last month. It’s no wonder that she announced last week that she will not seek re-election. (Rush Limbaugh, don of the bellicose faction, described her departure as “no big deal.”)

If you are still clinging to the view that the two major parties are equally to blame for the current state of politics, consider this: Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, is a pro-life Mormon. In other words, the Dems selected as their Senate leader a man who disagrees with the party’s official policy on reproductive rights. Republicans would sooner lose every seat in the Senate than hand their leadership post to a pro-choicer.

  • devonshire

    There are now 7 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 3 Independents running for Senator Snowe’s seat. To be honest,only four of the sixteen candidates are not good old boy politicians. One Republican and 3 Independents. Of the 7 Democrats, only one has the gravitas and intelligence to be a US Senator and that is Democratic State Senator Cynthia Dill and of the other candidates only one other stands out and that is Scott D’Amboise. Otherwise all these other candidates are just gushing over this grand opening in the Senate. They will be more of the same politicians, bought and paid for, unwilling to compromise and will fall lockstep in with the parties philosophy or have not a chance at winning.

  • dlwz3

    The American people are finally coming around to where I have been for the last 10+ years. They are disgusted that U.S. politicians spend more time worrying about election, lining their pockets and how many Republicans / Democrats are in the house and senate instead of doing the job they are elected to do. I will not vote for a single incumbent until this changes.

    I have been reading and watching news and filtering out the crap for years, and all that happens is we get more and more crap reporting. I am personally embarrassed by the way the United States reports, with no sense of morality, factual information without speculation and opinion, or what should and should not be reported because of the overall devastating consequences. The murders in high schools, the violence and murder rates, and lack of morality in this country I believe is largely due to our media. Let’s report on what is important for the nation, not on what “sells papers”. Eventually quality always wins out! Shame on you.

  • Plznnn

    It is the White House and Democratic leadership that have strayed way left, not the other way around. Compared to Socialism, anything Right of Center is considered extreme now? Democrats have been in control for quite some time and the Republicans have tried putting through policy, only to have it rejected without even seeing it, calling it, “Dead on Arrival”. Why would tehy even want to compromise on Debt, Spending, more Taxes, Amnesty, etc. Is balancing the budget and cutting Spending Extreme? When Obama is out of the White House maybe there can be some compromising.

  • san jose

    I don’t see how any thinking person can disagree with Ms. Tucker’s opinion, although the Republican leadership’s shift on the extension of unemployment benefits and the social security tax cut shows that they are aware of the negative impact of some of their extreme positions and may signal a willingness to engage in limited compromise in the future. Let’s hope so.

  • Bigspender

    The GOP and their ardent supports like to throw out words like “socialism” as the great peril facing our country. That’s just absurd. Our economic life has had elements of socialism for most of the past century, unless it now has a special meaning that doesn’t include social security and medicare. The new paranoia on the right is the most serious threat we face in America. Fortunately most Americans appear to recognize the danger. That’s the main reason congress has the lowest stature in over a century. WE MUST get rid of tea party lunatics from government and return to a saner time.

  • manjan

    It’s a sad state of affairs when the GOP’s main objectives are to make sure that the President is a one term president and that women’s health is of no consequence. The Republicans cannot talk about anything else. They offer no solutions, only roadblocks.

  • Howz 1

    Your analysis is straight out of Fox news. Obama is a centerest who is at odds most times with the liberal wing of his own party for trying to compromise with the Republicans. Raising the debt ceiling is a good example. The Republicans refusing to compromise took us to the edge, and our credit rating was lowered. 1st time in history. The fact that they want defict reduction with no revenue is absurd. Every economist, including a Noble Prize winner and not on the Fox payroll, will tell you that. What I still can’t figure out is how that got people like you to vote against your own economic interest and that of your family. Why would any parent want loosen environmental regulations on big corporations that allow more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that acidify our lakes and contaminate our fish with mercury. The fish that kids eat! I know as a Fox watcher this might be a little over your head to understand. Why would any middle class person want to have the 1% make more than the 256% they already make above your salary. We have the largest gap between them and the middle than any of the other industrialized countries. They all have health care and pay a lower premiums why don’t you want that for your family? The reason we these issues and the Republicans are going in the wrong direction can be directly linked to Fox, that distorts the news and is making you believe you are under attack from unkowns, or Obama is a communist, not born here and so on. The Tea party is made up of people that are easily manipulated, are not that bright, and can’t seperate fact from fiction. Their leader Sarah Palin said while visiting Paul Reveres house that he made his ride to warn the British not to take away the American guns, or better yet Tea pary canidate Michelle Bachmann said while running for President that the revolutionary war was fought to free the slaves, or Christine O’Donnell Tea pary canidate from Delaware said she is not a witch as an issue.
    It’s all on Utube so not making this up. No one in the Tea party said Palin or Bachmann were mistaken. So now you know who makes up Congress and why they don’t compromise. They are incapable of listening to facts that interfere with Fox’s veiw of The world.

  • Newborn

    I very much liked the words « obstreperous » and « unmoored » applied to the GOP. At least they will learn something if they try to read this article, and stop throwing words like « socialism » they clearly repeat as parrots.

  • concernedusa7

    Cynthia, you have published a fair and accurate article, Thank you!

    I have admired Olympia Snowe for her honest ability to govern through consensus! We need more Senators with the common sense she has demonstrated during her tenure. I hope she will champion representative government as a private citizen.

  • manjan

    Blame it on President Obama? In less than 4 years he has asked to raise the debt ceiling twice. Reagan-20 times, Bush #1-11 times, Bush #2-7 times, Clinton-4 times, JFK/Johnson-14 times, Nixon-7 times, Ford-10 times, Carter-10 times, Obama-2. Since 1981 when Reagan took office to the present time-GOP-55 increases, Democrats-28 increases. So, let’s quit blaming Democrats for everything that’s wrong with this country’s debt.

  • manjan

    Mitt Romney is a “retired” partner in Bain Capital. Bain Capital is a primary owner of Clear Channel. Clear Channel owns Premiere Radio Networks. Premiere Radio Networks syndicate Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, etc. The fact that Mitt will not condemn the bigotry, racism, and hypocrisy being spewed by the aforementioned makes Mitt guilty by association, in my opinion. I was pleased to read that a few of Limbaugh’s major sponsors have pulled their ads.

  • wayneonly

    It is so easy to play the blame game. We can blame the President. We can blame the Democrats. We can blame the Republicans. Heck, we can even blame the “liberal” press. Now let’s lay the blame where it really belongs. Let’s blame the GREEDY CONGRESS, whether they be Republican or Democrat or Tea Party. Let’s face it folks, most Congresspeople are not there to do their civic duty, they are there to MAKE MONEY. And we (the voter) are just stupid enough to keep electing them term after term so they can refine the “art” of making money from the taxpayer dollar.

    There are lots of books that expose how Congress has let the American taxpayer down while they have set themselves as the PERMANENT POLITICAL CLASS (with our help). They believe they are the “elite” class and are entitled to special privileges and are “above the laws” that govern the rest of us. I suggest that you read three books: Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made The Rich Richer And Turned It’s Back On The Middle Class by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer, and Greedy Bastards by Dylan Ratigan. Yes, these authors are part of the “liberal” press, but do you thing the Republican or Democrat parties will include any of this information in their press releases? Nosiree, and that is why they like to label the press as liberal or radical. It is easier to hide the truth is you can “label” it.

    It is time that we(the voter) demands a Congress that is not controlled by Wall Street, big banks and multinational corporations. The only way that the “real” Americans will ever have representation in Congress is by voting out the Congress that has become controlled by the corruption of money from Wall Street, big banks, and multinational corporations. We (the voter) need to lay aside party politics (after all that is what has given Congress such a bad rating lately) and quit being duped by the political rhetoric of the parties and vote out every incumbent Congressperson as they come up for reelection. We need to let each new Congressperson elected know what we (the voter) expect of them and that they are elected to represent us, not special interests or their pocketbooks. It will take 2 or 3 election cycles, but WE (the voter) CAN take back OUR government.

  • KwameOseiMoyo

    Stupdity is defined by Wikipedia as a lack of intelligence, understanding, reason, wit, or sense. It may be innate, assumed, or reactive – “being “stupid with grief” as a defence against trauma”, a state marked with “grief and despair…making even simple daily tasks a hardship. Three questions 1. In the Gop debates how many times have the candidates discussed healthcare? 2. How many times have the candidates discussed the creation of jobs? 3. How many times have the candidates discussed tax reform? They don’t talk about these issues because their master strategist Karl Rove has found out that attacks have consistently resulted in victories.

    Their platforms have always consisted of division, hate and separation. They go back before Reagan with the Willie Horton campaign against Dukakis, the wringing hands used by the master racist Jesse Helms against his then Senatorial opponent Harvey Gantt as well as the swift boat attacks against John Kerry. My point is that amongst Republicans fear and anger have always proven to be fruitful. Obviously the chickens have come home to roost because they seem to be backfiring as of late. The American public is sick and tired of the ceaseless attacks created by Mitt Romney and his Republican cohorts. It seems that we’ve reached a point that his money has stopped working and he’s become far more transparent than he’d like to be, In other words we see right through him and his “severely conservative” announcements.

    Republicans know very well that George Bush and Dick Cheney left this abortion of a financial collapse but those who hated this man Obama because of his skin color could seize the opportunity to lambaste and literally crucify him. He has been blamed for from coffee prices in Indonesia as well as the traffic light malfunction in Boise Idaho. Every thing he’s been blamed for as well as the economy is improving so fast that it’s silencing his critics. The banks have rebounded after the bailouts, the auto industry has been resurrected from the dead and is showing massive profits. Most of the bailout money has been repaid and Americans are returning to work in great numbers, Now what do you say you prophets of doom and doom; those of you who have cursed the darkess these past three years. He’s still Superman because he represents the people.

    I must admit that our work (yes I’m one of his campaign volunteers) will be getting the photo IDs for the millions of folk who have no transportation or ways and means to do so however we will meet the challenge. Republicans have tried for ages to disenfranchise the poor and the minorities by creating ways to nullify their votes. The good news is that after shooting themselves in both feet; they’re now looking at arms and hands. They’ve thrown everything at Barack Obama except the lawnmower and don’t have anything left. They have become the biggest joke on Main Street America almost to a point of pity. They don’t have a front runner and it may boil down to a good old fashion fist fight between Romney and Santorum. Santorum and his warped views are as dangerous as Cheney and has already said he’d literally bomb Iran beofre he took the oath of office.

    Romney does’nt have clue and could never relate to mainstream America. He still thinks the average American earns over $300,000 a year. Seems to me that their most intelligent choice would have been Gingrich but alas he married a mistress and this is his third time around. Clearly there’s no leadership in this party of hatred and fear. There’s a chinese proverb that states ” as the pendulum swings forth, it also swings back”. They are reaping exactly what has been sown in this country by them now for over one hundred years. Stupidity dictates that this isn’t working anymore but insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I will continue enjoying watching them with my popcorn and still consider them to be the greatest show on earth

  • Obozo Must Go

    All of this is just a distraction from the absolute failure that is Obozo. The only person that should be happy about Obozo winning the election in 2008 is Jimmy Carter because he is no longer the biggest disaster in the White House in American history. Obozo now has that title. Stay focused on what is important. This election will be about Obozo’s record of failure. Dont let the leftist spin masters redirect proper thinking. Have a nice day!