Moderate Republicans Key to Stopping Lame-Duck Threat

Last week I went to Maine to make the case to the most important swing senators on the Republican side: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

AFP-Maine State Director Trevor Bragdon and I called 57,000 Maine households for a telephone town hall, recorded a public access cable show, appeared on radio throughout the state, did a press conference in Bangor covered by all three networks, met with key business and political leaders throughout the states, and met directly with Collins and Snowe staffers.

Our message was clear: it is an inappropriate affront to the democratic process to rush through such enormous issues in a lame-duck session, to circumvent a national election, and to skip the legitimate process necessary to make good policy.

The message resonated. We met with hundreds of people -- not one supported Reid’s lame-duck agenda. As the people of Maine keep up pressure on this key issue, we hope both senators will be inclined to make clear public statements that they will oppose any major policy changes in a lame-duck session.

That on its own would go a long way toward closing the door on lame-duck mischief, because Harry Reid has been unable to reach the 60 votes needed for cloture on any significant legislation since Scott Brown’s election without Collins and Snowe. It would also send a strong signal to other moderate Republicans, including Brown, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and potential senators Mike Castle and Mark Kirk -- the Republican candidates in special elections in Delaware and Illinois, respectively, who have often voted with Democrats in the House.

The bottom line is that Senate Democrats cannot jam through an extreme policy agenda on their way out the door without help from Republican moderates. And there is no good reason for moderates to help them.