Forecast: A chance with Snowe

From KENNEBEC JOURNAL & Morning Sentinel:

The health care reform debate that has polarized the country appears to have no middle ground, yet that’s exactly where Maine’s Sen. Olympia Snowe finds herself.

The Republican is something that has become increasingly scarce in Congress — a centrist who’s willing to work across the aisle for compromise. As such, she has played an influential role on Capitol Hill in recent years.

That role, her current committee assignment and her track record have made her the epicenter of health care reform efforts in Washington.

Original DVD cover

“I think you can argue that right now, Snowe is the most powerful single member in the United States Senate,” said L. Sandy Maisel, who teaches government at Colby College in Waterville.

Numerous national news outlets, from The Washington Post to The New York Times, Politico to CNN, have reported that the White House is in intense discussions with Snowe. Reports suggest that the administration sees Snowe’s public-option “safety net plan” as a backup to Obama’s public option.

Snowe is a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the bipartisan “gang of six” that is working on a compromise health care reform bill. Her office said Snowe continues to work with fellow senators and isn’t brokering a separate deal with the White House.


[…] political experts say Snowe may be seen as the White House’s best chance for a compromise bill.

“She, more than the others, seems to be the person who is putting politics aside and is looking for an answer,” said Maisel. “My view is that’s what the country is crying out for.” Like the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, said Maisel, Snowe seeks to “not throw out the very good because you couldn’t get the perfect.”

The other Republicans in the gang may be less willing to meet in the middle, said Mark Brewer, a political scientist at the University of Maine.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is a “diehard conservative from a conservative state,” said Brewer.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has shown willingness to work across party lines and is not necessarily conservative, said Brewer, but he has a reputation for being “cranky, quirky.”

Brewer said Snowe’s work in the past with the Obama administration indicates a decent working relationship between the president and the senator.


Tarren Bragdon, director of the fiscally conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center, said he has been talking with Snowe’s office and he believes the news reports regarding White House conversations with the senator may be a way to pressure her on health care reform.

Snowe, said Bragdon, brings certain strengths to the debate. She comes from a state that has been “heavily regulating private insurance,” he said, so she understands the implications of “a heavy hand of state government.”


“She really is not beholden to a party ideology — she wants to have a solution that works,” said Bragdon. “It’s not about what’s the Republican position or what’s the Democratic position. It’s about what’s going to work.”

It’s clear that Snowe has gotten a lot of feedback from Mainers during her time in the state in the last month, said Bragdon. He said they have expressed a need for reform that doesn’t bust the budget or have too many unintended consequences.

Maisel said the fact that Snowe comes from a state that has tried to reform the health care system also affects her work on the federal level.

Snowe and Maine’s other senator, Republican Susan Collins, are “unassailable” at home, Maisel said, and have been able to take moderate positions in Washington.

Brewer said that if a health reform package passes and turns out to be successful, it will be part of Snowe’s legacy.


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22 responses to “Forecast: A chance with Snowe

  1. Well, from what I read and heard about what came out of the finance committee today, it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.. so her and Maxie didn’t do a very good job…lol

    I still think they are going to do it without depending on her, if she wants to vote with the dems .. fine, but I don’t think there is going to be anything more given to her.

    • what came out today was just maxie’s work, wasn’t it? snowe didn’t work on it, did she? it doesn’t include the trigger or the safety net. i just hope the speech on wednesday clears up what page obama is on. the speculation is driving everyone nuts.

  2. We don’t need no *snow job* re health care.
    Obama delivered a very encouraging speech re health care today…

  3. I just notice Grassley in the background. He’s a member of The Family. C Street is everywhere!

  4. Safety net? Is that like the trigger we keep hearing about?
    Fuck all that.
    Health care has already triggered the trigger and hundreds of thousands of Americans have already hit the ground from high up.
    Obama should never have promised something he couldn’t deliver, and Olympia Snow is not big enough to save the day.
    If a public option is not included, I hope every Democrat in the senate votes the bill down.
    Enough of this horseshit.
    This is not the change we voted for.

    • i saw a commercial today from cpr, the conservative group owned by that crook, rick scott. it said that obama’s health care plan might make it so that you lose your present insurance, lose your present doctor, and mean less care. which one might not happen if your boss decides to switch insurance companies or drops insurance entirely? there’s no guarantee of keeping your doc, even if you stick with the same company. years ago, under one hmo, i had a primary doc who i liked and had been seeing for a few years. with no warning whatsoever, he dropped me! it’s not like i ran to him every other day. i rarely went to the doc. however, he said he was dumping me, because he thought my condition called for me to have a specialist (i didn’t have any life-threatening diseases, and i didn’t beg for referrals to other docs. i had back surgery gone bad, but by that time, nobody was treating it). now, we all know that hmos don’t allow you to have a specialist as your primary care physician, so the explanation i was given was bullshit. my guess is that the hmo gave him quotas, and he was getting rid of patients he thought might need too many referrals to specialists. i called the hmo, and was told there was nothing i could do but pick another primary doc. the idea that patients are in control of their own medical destinies now is nothing but a myth.

  5. Isn’t Snowe the one pushing that friggin ‘trigger’? If so, she is useless in my humble yet vocal opinion.

    • she’s about the only rethug who has come out with somewhat of a plan for punishing insurance companies. it’s not much, but it’s something. i think she’s the least partisan of the rethug bunch in the senate.

      • No, don’t get me wrong…I appreciate the hell out of Olympia. I just think the ‘trigger’ bullshit..well, is bullshit.

        • the trigger might be the only thing we get, at least according to lawrence o’donnell. i have to watch the rerun of countdown, because i didn’t see the whole thing, but i think that was the gist of what he said. 😦

          • The trigger is a way to give the insurance companies more time to fuck us all. It gives the insurance companies years to get their shit together and the whole thing won’t even start until 2013.

            I would hope the progressives will vote NO for any bill that includes that dumbass trigger.

            • I was arguing with some dumbass rightwinger on facebook so I will rewatch it later too. 😉

            • the trigger is just kicking reform down the road again. if the trigger were to take effect in a year, i might be okay with it, as it will result in a public option if the insurance companies don’t behave. however, making it a 5-year deal is out of the question. the insurance companies will just figure out a way to squeeze everyone dry as they think up a new scheme to rip off the public. instead of a trigger, why not fines (mighty mikk0mouse’s idea, not mine)? make them pay a fine each time they reject a valid referral, refuse to pay in a timely manner, or dump someone who is costing them too much. that could be implemented in a matter of months, not years, and it would have a more immediate effect than any threat of a trigger years from now.

  6. Dusty

    Fining the Insurance co’s means they will pass on the costs to their customers. Like the friggin oil companies, they will pass on to us any taxes, fines or other unusual costs of ‘doing bidness’.

    The co-ops are pure crap. They would have to have millions of customers to realize any real savings to the people who use them.

    Keeping the insurance companies in the mix really doesn’t do shit as far as offering American’s affordable health insurance.

    They do not make anything, they do not do anything except play middleman. They need to be out of the business of running health insurance.

    I know..that will never happen.

    • exactly. the insurance companies do nothing but line their own pockets. they serve no good function. if you took away all the money handed over to the insurance companies, health care would be paid for everyone.

  7. The speech is about to start and John Boehner just kissed Hilary Clinton on the cheek. Her head exploded. Way to go Boehner, you jerkoff.

  8. Postmortum: This week Snowe announced that she had negoitiated in bad faith and had never seriously considered voting for HCR. That on top of that loopy editorial Collins gave on the radio about the pantybomber. Go figure. Marginalized by the Imperial White House for years, they seemed to have some rational independent though and insight. In the end, just the moronic party line. Very disappointing.

    • just 2 more teabagger victims. while all the news channels are reporting that dems are wringing their hankies and worrying about reelection, they aren’t reporting that the previously somewhat moderate rethugs are just as nervous, because the teabaggers are gunning for them. i thought sue and limpy were safe enough up there in maine, but i guess their arms have been twisted, too.