I’ve lived in Maine for almost 20 years now, and for 15 of those years, Olympia Snowe has been my senator. So, needless to say, I wasn’t surprised at all by her vote to support the healthcare reform bill. With the exception of national security and some 2nd amendment issues, Snowe is a rather doctrinaire liberal. While her positions may frustrate and/or infuriate more conservative Republicans, Snowe’s views are a good fit for the liberal-leaning voters of this state, which is why she’s won with over 60% of the vote since her first state-wide election in 1994. Although I find Snowe’s views irritating, I have voted for her three times. When push comes to shove, I’d much rather have someone who agrees with me half the time (or even a quarter) in office than someone who disagrees with me all the time. I know that many conservatives do not regard Snowe as much different from the Democrats, but I’d rather have her in office than any of her three challengers.
Were she to get a viable conservative primary challenger, I would vote for that person in a heartbeat. However, I live in a state where the GOP is weak, to say the least. So until the day she is weak enough to defeat in a primary, I will continue to vote for her over the moonbats the state’s Democrat party has run against her in the past.
For the most part, Snowe is responsive to the people she represents and spends a fair amount of time in the state. So while I wasn’t surprised by her vote, I was taken aback by the reasoning behind it.
“When history calls, history calls,” said Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, whose declaration of support ended weeks of suspense and provided the only drama of a 14-9 vote in the Senate Finance Committee.
Nowhere in her statement to the committee does Snowe mention her constituents. She could have easily pointed to those in her state who have advocated for healthcare reform, but chose instead to vaingloriously wrap herself in the cloak of history-maker. Snowe’s statement and vote symbolized the arrogance that has characterized this Congress. Our so-called representatives are moving forward on this bill despite poll after poll showing growing opposition to Obamacare. If members of Congress regarded themselves as servants to the public that elected them, these polls, combined with the anger that Americans displayed during August townhall meetings, should have at minimum slowed the rush to transform our healthcare system. Ideally, widespread citizen concern should have been taken into consideration by members of Congress and the administration instead of being dismissed as the ravings of a ‘racist, wingnut fringe.’
Unfortunately, the current Senate seems to regard itself as a House of Lords, doing what they think is best for those they can’t help but look down upon. Opinion polls, phone calls, letters, and emails against this plan are ignored because in the opinion of the American Lords, the concerns of the proles are subordinate to the wisdom of the elite. The ideals of a representative republic have taken a back seat to the good intentions of those who increasingly seem to believe their role is to look out for us rather than represent our views.
Ultimately, what I find most offensive about Snowe’s statement is the inherent paternalism and ego, the suggestion that she answers not to those who elected her, but to her sense of how history will view her and her actions. Snowe was not elevated to her office by ‘history,’ but by voters like me, many of whom are skeptical of Obamacare. If Snowe runs again, I’m sure she’ll draw a great deal of support. This state is protective of its incumbents, unfortunately.
Snowe’s words display the attitude that had so many Americans protesting at town hall meetings and tea parties this past summer. The anger at government goes beyond simple policy disagreements – many of us have simply lost trust in our elected representatives because they just don’t seem to care about the opinions of those who put them in power. This is a bipartisan problem, and sadly, seems to run in cycles.
Snowe was elected to the Senate in 1994 as part of the Republican takeover of Congress. Voters at the time had lost trust in the Democrat party’s ability to lead. The Democrats had been in control for 40 years. Voters lost trust in the Republicans by 2006, after only 12 years. If present trends hold, the current trust in Democrat leadership will only last four years. The frequency of turnover is actually a good thing, as it shows an electorate increasingly intolerant of corrupt or unresponsive representation.
For that reason, if the GOP takes control of Congress next year, I hope they don’t see it as a broad conservative mandate but as a simple message – voters are tired of politicians who promise change but deliver the status quo. The first party to really understand that all voters want is for the culture of Washington to change and actually works to make those changes will be the party that keeps power for more than a few election cycles.
This isn’t about ideology, it’s about trust.
This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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