Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine has a reputation for what her supporters call “independent thinking” — which in the past has essentially meant that she only supports her party on matters of procedure in the Senate.
Since Arlen Specter finally switched parties, Snowe has been the leading light of the so-called RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), or, rather, the most infuriating example. What has most irked people of late? Snowe volunteered to head to the White House to ensure that Obama’s socialized medicine proposal continues along its merry way. While commentators on both sides of the aisle have declared the bill rather dead, she is keen to revive it.
This is not the first time Snowe has gone out of her way to be the bugbear of the Republican Party. On Specter, she deemed all Republicans who felt he was in the wrong party constituted the “far right.” She described Club for Growth as “far right.” She has also said:
If the Republican Party fully intends to become a majority party in the future, it must move from the far right back toward the middle.
I am sure that some of her supporters might find it unreasonable to take great exception to her labeling Republicans not in sync with her to be fascist or Nazi, as that is what “far right” is generally understood to mean. It would seem unthinkable that the veteran senator and political operative would not know what her words imply. But then again, this is a person who made it clear she was supporting Sotomayor before all the horse-trading began in the Senate. Snowe was proud to support someone who made statements that would be considered racist in extremis had they come from anyone white.
It’s not just Republicans whom Snowe upsets lately. Those who believe in the First Amendment and internet freedom are worried that she seems to think its entirely reasonable for the president to take control of the internet and limit its access in the case of a national “emergency.” Senator Snowe and a Democratic counterpart pushed this idea, to the consternation of much of the virtual world:
“We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs — from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records — the list goes on,” Senator Jay Rockefeller said.
Snowe echoed her colleague, saying: “If we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.”