Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 21, 2010

A MESSAGE IN MAINE 'EVEN OUR KIDS CAN UNDERSTAND'.... In the Senate, one of the key impediments -- if not the principal obstacle -- to legislation intended to boost the economy is the delegation from Maine. In a Congress where moderate Republicans have all but disappeared, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are supposed to be the GOP senators who can help break Republican filibusters on measures that matter.

But when it comes to the economy, both Snowe and Collins have decided party loyalty and long-term deficit fears matter more than economic growth and job creation. When it comes to unemployment benefits, key tax credits, and preventing massive layoffs at the state level, Snowe and Collins won't even let the Senate vote.

The ostensible moderates are no doubt facing a great deal of party pressure in Washington, so there's a new effort to place public pressure on Snowe and Collins in Maine. Americans United for Change (AUC) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have launched this new television ad in Maine today, hoping to get the senators to listen to reason.

If you can't watch clips from you work computers, the ad shows a series of photos of children, with a narrator doing a voice-over: "It's pretty simple, the more jobs we create now, the less Federal debt they'll have to carry later. Because jobs not only put food on the table, they put revenue in the treasury and money in the marketplace. More jobs equal less debt, even our kids can understand that. Tell Senators Snowe and Collins to pass the jobs bill now. Not just for us, but for our children."

I like the ad, precisely because it turns the larger argument on its head. For the right, senators can't possibly try to improve the economy, because that would increase the deficit ... which our kids will eventually have to deal with. But the AUC/AFSCME ad offers a more compelling vision -- if you want to help the kids, let's create some jobs. A stronger economy means a lower deficit.

The ad isn't just some web video -- it's part of a six-figure ad buy in Maine. Here's hoping it has the desired effect.

Steve Benen 1:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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Why don't these two women change parties? They would be much more at home with the Democrats.

I used to think that they remain Republicans so as to have greater leverage, but I can't remember a single instance of them holding out for something they wanted.

Posted by: captcrisis on June 21, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK


Why don't these two women change parties? They would be much more at home with the Democrats.

Then they'd just be bluedogz.
These two are natural born republicans.
The reason for their shtick is a profound love for lieberman.

Posted by: cwolf on June 21, 2010 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

At least the Republicans are all on message. Unheard of for the Dems.

Posted by: edr on June 21, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

But little girls, "Reagan taught us that deficits don't matter"!

BTW I hope the rumor that Rahm is ready to roam is real.

Posted by: neil b on June 21, 2010 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

As Barney Frank famously said --

"You can alway count on moderate Republicans when you don't need them."

Posted by: pa on June 21, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

And best of all, it's true.

Posted by: Redshift on June 21, 2010 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

"In the Senate, one of the key impediments -- if not the principal obstacle -- to legislation intended to boost the economy is the delegation from Maine."

Why? They both get one vote, just like everybody else. They're AN obstacle inasmuch as they won't vote for the legislation, but they're not more of an obstacle or less of an obstacle than Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn or Scott Brown or George Voinovich.

The. Maine. ladies. are. Republicans.

And anybody who watched health insurance reform unfold should have learned that by now.

Posted by: somethingblue on June 21, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

On Friday and again today I wrote on this to both of my Senators: Snowe and Collins.
They are scared of the tea partiers on their right. But they might respond to some heat from the left (a/k/a the center), too.

Posted by: twc on June 21, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Are these two up for re-election this year? If not, why are they acting like this?

And Heck No! I don't want these two in the Dem party. I don't like Collins - period. And Snowe is too fickle.

Posted by: Alli on June 21, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

DeMint and Coburn will never come on board. But Snowe, Collins, Brown and Voinovich might.
Maine is a blue state now but one with a strong independent tradition. Right now the tea party has kind of hijacked the Maine Republican Party. But that will probably fade soon and in 2012, when Snowe will be up, President Obama will be running for re-election and he got 58% last time. Collins always tries carefully to keep both sides happy.
I think Snowe and Collins both remain persuadable on targeted issues. They're desperately trying to hang on as Republican "moderates" -- an endangered species.
The spectre of Lincoln Chafee haunts their dreams.

Posted by: twc on June 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

I don't much about politics in Maine but unless these two senators research the word "Statesman" the Democrats ought to mount a strong campaign against one or the other.
I think they are still wanting to be Margaret Chase Smith. That Republican party no longer exists.

Posted by: hornblower on June 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Olympia Snowe owns the institutional Maine Republican Party. Her husband is the state's last GOP governor. She is extremely unlikely to change caucuses. She'll just wait the crazy out, and return to her accustomed throne.

Collins has been persuaded by her staffers -- and she is as big a creature of her staff as any Senator -- that after the party goes off the cliff to the right in 2012, she can lead it back to the White House in 2012, playing the McCain hey-I'm-a-maverick card -- not a southerner, not a God-botherer, pro choice, anti-ANWR drilling, first woman president, etc, etc. The anti-Palin.

So there's a limit on how far off the reservation she'll stray.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 21, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

...oops. For '2012', read '2016'

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 21, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

The Senate is collectively insane. My hope is that the tipping point is close.

Posted by: Trollop on June 21, 2010 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans, whether to the right or to the far right, only care about deficits when Democrats are in control.

Posted by: qwerty on June 21, 2010 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Why don't these two women change parties? They would be much more at home with the Democrats."

Why do you think that they would be "much more at home with the Democrats"?

Posted by: jefft452 on June 21, 2010 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

I have a guess as to why these two are voting this way, though it's a very cynical one.

Neither are up for re-election this year, but there is a race for the governor's office. The departing governor was quite unpopular in office, and though the Democratic nominee is quite popular, she's facing a lot of antipathy toward the last administration.

If the populace of Maine is made to suffer because of Snowe and Collins, most people in the state won't really perceive that the cause is the Senate. They're more likely to just assume it's due to poor management in Augusta, and will become increasingly angry about the incumbent and the status quo. (The Democratic nominee is the president of the Maine Senate.) Discontentment in Maine is more likely to swing voters toward the anti-incumbent, "outsider" GOP nominee (the mayor of Lewiston, who ran on a Tea Party-esque platform).

Anyhow, that's just my guess as an observer from within the state.

Posted by: Dan on June 21, 2010 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I read several on-line Maine and Connecticut newspapers about once a week. One thing that stands out is the lack of editorials, op-ed pieces or letters to the editor complaining about the obstructionism of Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins or Joe Lieberman. The people in Maine and CT must be fully employed, in perfect health with all of the health care coverage anyone could need.

Either citizens of Maine and CT don't really care what their senators are not doing for their people or the newspapers won't print any citiizens complaints. The newspapers owners are obiously happy.

Posted by: Sammy on June 21, 2010 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think LePage is the mayor of Waterville, not Lewiston. He's a part of the lunatic Tea Bag fringe, about whom a friend says is the only person ever declined admission to Husson College. But he may win, not least because the Democrats have put forth weak-tea Libby Mitchell, for whom even a lifelong Democrat like myself cannot vote.

Which is a roundabout way of getting to the point- Collins and Snowe can play their pseudo-independent game because Dems in the state let them get away with it. Instead of beating them over the head with their loyalty to the failed policies of the Bush administration- far more loyal than most realize- the Dems here in Maine are too lame to do anything remotely resembling "politics." A great example was the summer of '08, when surrogates for Susan Collins' re-electin campaign spent the summer and fall painting Tom Allen, the Democratic Senate candidate, as in the pocket of mob-like labor guys. Allen's response? Not a damn thing. It was almost like he didn't want to win the goddamned race.

Maine is a blue state, of sorts, but only by default, as the GOP here (like it is pretty much everywhere these days) has been bitten by braineating zombie nutjobs.

Posted by: bucky on June 21, 2010 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK
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