Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Time

Time, that is, for Olympia Snowe to become an independent-who-caucuses-with-Democrats.

At this point it's becoming clear Snowe is the only reachable Republican on health care. Susan Collins is out. Chuck Grassley is out. Other players who might have been involved at one point or another appear to be out. It's Snowe, or it's nobody. And even if she does vote for the health care bill, she'll get reamed in her own caucus. But at this point, Snowe has much more in common with moderate Northeastern Democrats--people like Tom Carper, Joe Lieberman, and Arlen Specter--than she does with most of the remaining Republicans. So why stay? Does she enjoy commiserating with Collins and George Voinovich that much?

A few weeks ago, commenter "low-tech cyclist" made a very good point: "At some point, the Dems have to stop listening to their inner David Broder and realize they are both the liberal party and the left wing of the opposition party, rolled into one - so that sufficient Blue Dog support makes a bill inherently bipartisan". The health care bill is making this very clear. It's basically been a negotiation between the left-wing party, which would like single-payer but will settle for full coverage and a robust public option; and the centrist party, which is to varying degrees skeptical about the public option and whines about cost. The right-wing opposition party, meanwhile, has decided that the best political course of action is not to govern the country responsibly, but instead to fling feces from the sidelines. Booting Snowe from the GOP would make it clear that that's the current state of play in Washington.
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