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October 16th, 2009
06:15 AM ET

Is Snowe’s vote really a gift to the GOP?

By Carol Costello and Ronni Berke

Does Republican Senator Olympia Snowe’s bipartisan vote on health care really matter? It's ONE vote for goodness sakes!

But, history shows one "maverick" vote can make a difference. Ever since President Obama publicaly admired her bipartisan "courage,” that "courage" has been publicly excoriated by conservative talk radio.

Rush Limbaugh decried: “This voice by the way is the voice of the new castrati. Those who have lost all gonads, guts and courage, throughout our culture and our political system.”

Still, Snowe has inspired something many politicians have not these days: admiration. On CNN's Political Ticker, half the comments went like this: “Leave it to a woman to keep things moving;” “Good for her. I like independent thinkers;” and “I wish both the Senate and House were filled with people like her.”

Snowe’s vote could end up being seen as less of a betrayal than a gift for her party.

“Olympia Snowe could help rally what remains of a moderate Republican group,” says CNN Political Analyst David Gergen. “That is important – if the Republican Party wants to be a national majority they need moderates.”

Many analysts believe the Republican Party has been hijacked by conservatives – to its detriment. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Poll last month, just 43 percent say Republican lawmakers in Congress would move the country in the right direction.

Still, can one Republican bipartisan vote really change perception?

“I don’t see where the current leaders of the Republican Party are going to rebuild their party around the Olympia Snowe brand,” says Martin Kady, deputy Congress editor for “The folks who are going to be successful next year in 2010, they may very well be Olympia Snowe-type politicians.”

In other words, analysts say conservatives may have the loudest voices right now, but party leaders surely know that including moderates in the Republican tent is a key factor in rebuilding the party.

What do you think? Is Snowe’s vote really a gift to the GOP?

Filed under: Just Sayin'
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Pastor Dennis

    Dear Carol:
    I applaud Ms. Snowe on her voing for this healthcare bill, but I was wondering if you could ask the other Republicans- "Where's your plan for changing health care?" And get some answers, not their dancing as they usually do. I try and stay fifty feet clear of any politician during the course of my life. At the rate of increased health care costs, within ten years, health care will be so expensive that the only people who would be able to afford it would be the untra rich! PD

    October 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  2. MarklE

    Absolutely NOT! The Democratic Leadership rule of “Vote NO on any the GOP puts forth” worked for them. They were able to claim (accurately) that NOTHING GOT DONE when the GOP was in power. Republicans should pay attention and learn something from the Dems success with that tactic. Olympia Snowe is a fool if she believes anything she does will be reciprocated by the Dem leadership. They may kiss her but now, but they’ll throw her under the bus as soon as she is any kind of threat…

    October 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  3. Mitchell

    Why democrat. I for one am really looking forward to living in a bankrupt and socolist country.

    October 18, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  4. Gary

    Today you interviewed an Congressman from Texas who stated that with a public option the government would control what doctor's, hospitals and available to patients. Is he crazy of just stupid? The insurance industry is now controling doctors, hospitals, treatments and costs through their HMO and PPO networks. Additionally, they are by using HMO's and PPO networks limited your availability to select doctors only with in their respective networks and only paying part of the service fees if you go outside the networks for specialized services.
    Obviously, the congresman has been listening to the insurance industry. He should listen to real people trying to deal with insurance companies when health issues arise.

    October 17, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  5. Andy

    Mrs Snowe will get my vote. She's the only one in the GOP that cares about the people. All the rest are more concerned about their status and lobbyist friends.

    Knob Knoster, Mo

    October 16, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  6. Paul Mysza

    it is a sorry day in America when politicians only take action so that they can be reelected. snowe is thinking of the American people, not her reelection possibilities. if more politicians would think of the people and not of themselves, this America of ours, would be a true paradise.
    politicians, in the great history of our country, have had to make decisions which were not popular with their constituents. these decisions cost them their posts, yet made us the great country that we are today. it is time for some soul searching for politicians to change the course of our country for the better.

    October 16, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  7. Stephen Jackson

    I have been a closet conservative but am out of the closet now speaking up for freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Most of my friends are liberals. I stood by quietly while they insulted President Bush and blasted Rush Limbaugh with venom. I attended the Tea Party on April 15th at the State Capital in Sacramento. It was so nice to be with people who agreed with me who desired to stop deficit spending, reduce dependency on government and increase personal responsibility. The next day and weeks on CNN I heard that the Tea Parties were outrages, terrorist, and racist. At our Tea Party there were friendly people of all ages and race that were there to be heard and to listen to the conservative view.

    CNN has the most news in the morning and I listen to it for that reason. Also, I like the reporters and commentators. But, I expect and get the liberal view. I would like to see and hear both sides of the issues. This morning’s commentary on Olympia Snow talked about the far right taking over the Republican Party and the fear of the moderate republicans to compromise. These are accusations without merit. The President has said that the republicans will not offer solutions to the healthcare problem; CNN commentators say the republicans are the party of “NO.” Where are the reports on the Republican position on healthcare? Where are the reports of the Republican ten points to reform healthcare? Where are the reports that the speaker of the House of Representatives will not allow Republican proposals to advance to committees for consideration? Where is there ever a challenge to liberal statements on CNN?

    Much of the Republican view of reforming healthcare is like the Democratic view. Why doesn’t CNN identify the common, agreeable solutions between the Democratic and Republican views and ask both parties why they don’t form an agreeable solution for the people?

    October 16, 2009 at 10:51 am |

    Not a chance... Snowe is no doubt holding out for some political deal or deals that SHE wants passed.

    I wish the Democrats would just stop trying to cover their butts with a few token Republicans and just pass the health care reform WITH the "Public Option". People are dying while they play political games.

    As for Limbaugh et al, their opinions were proven wrong so many times that the voters put the Democrats in power... now I wish they would just shut up and go away instead of trying to incite the paranoids and feeble-minded into violence.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  9. stacey

    It's the wave of the future; in my communications work book in class it was stated that a study was preformed of groups(individual races groups vs. multicultural groups) to see which groups would come up with the best solutions for given situations. And they found that the best solutions came from multicultural groups. We see the results of the old way of thinking. I feel that Ms. Snowe is on the right track! Coodles! IOI

    October 16, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  10. Mitch Dworkin - Dallas, Texas

    Hi Carol:

    You always bring up the most relevant and interesting topics which is why I really enjoy watching your reports!

    Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in my opinion are both reasonable people who will seriously work in good faith with Obama and the Democrats. They are very fortunate that Maine is not a red state, that there are a lot of Independents in Maine, and that they both have very high approval ratings. Because of this, they probably do not have to fear Rush Limbaugh telling his 20 million plus followers to primary them the next time that they are on the ballot.

    Unfortunately most other elected Republicans in Congress either agree with Rush Limbaugh or they truly fear Rush Limbaugh because they know that he and his followers can do to them exactly what they did to Arlen Specter after he voted for the economic stimulus package which is to primary them the next time that they are on the ballot.

    As long as elected Republicans keep on fearing Rush Limbaugh and keep on apologizing to him (such as former Sen. Trent Lott when he was in office, Rep. Phil Gingrey, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and other well known Republicans who I can mention), then they will never seriously work with Obama and the Democrats in good faith like how Olympia did because they know what will probably happen to them if they do.

    President Obama has a chance right now while he still has huge majorities in Congress to try and implement a back door version of The Fairness Doctrine (such as "local content," "diversity of ownership," and "public interest" rules) which is the one and only thing that Rush Limbaugh and his followers truly fear.

    This will help to greatly reduce the strong influence of ideologues on both sides who are ruining everything for everybody with their extreme partisanship if it can go through. Even if it does not go through, it will be tied up in court for so long that will at least do a lot of damage to Rush Limbaugh, to the far right, and to the far left which will benefit the country for quite a while in my opinion!

    The bottom line in my opinion is that as long as most elected Republicans in Congress keep on fearing Rush Limbaugh and keep on apologizing to him, then they will never seriously work with Obama and the Democrats like how Olympia Snowe is doing in the short term. In the long term, this country will go right back to the extreme ideology of the Bush-Cheney years if a Republican who agrees with Rush Limbaugh should ever become President. It is that simple and this is the silent elephant in the room that very few people are talking about when the subject of bipartisanship comes up!

    Mitch Dworkin
    Dallas, Texas

    October 16, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  11. Marcus

    I think her vote was significant, because it made other Republicans notice that not all of them are going to say no to everything that has to be done. Snowe also will bring some Republican support when the vote goes to the entire Senate floor. I wish Democrats could go in together and just past health care reform already with or without Republican support. I saw more of the hearings yesterday and you could see that the Republicans could not even come up with questions for the witnesses of underinsurance because their proposals would not do anything to help those people. Republicans need to get on board or Democrats need to unify and get the things they know the American people want.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  12. joseph sesay

    This is no gift its just the right thing, great job LADY SNOWE, it,s time these politicians start doing the right things for the american people, rather than just thinking about their political seats and pockets.This a gift for the American people.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  13. Scott Stodden

    I believe that no Senator Olympia Snowe's vote on healthcare is not a gift to the Republican's. The reason I say no it isn't is because with or without her vote the Democrats would have still had the majority of votes to pass this legislation forward as we seen this week. I just hope by moving this healthcare bill forward that we as a country and our Washington leaders know what there doing because without a public option included in healthcare there can be no real healthcare reform.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    October 16, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  14. Cody

    Olympia Snowe is not a gift to the GOP simply because she supported this bill. Independents and moderate Republicans have spoken their minds on all Health Care Bills drafted with Democrat ideas alone. In this aspect conservative, very conservative, moderates and independents alike all agree a different health care bill needs to be drafted taking into account their ideas and concerns. By her endorsement of the other health care bills she is going against the majority of the US pop.

    Ft. Worth, Tx

    October 16, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  15. Bob

    Actually Carol, Snowe's vote is an insult to the GOP. Everyone knows a woman's place is in the home, not in politics. Women should be seen and not heard. With Women like Snow in our party we are bound to fail, the next thing you know she'll run for president. Leave politics to the knowledgable men who have the guts and experience to trash the liberals, we don't need these types among us.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  16. JohnO

    GOP leadership disparage the socialist tendencies of the Democrats yet, when someone breaks form "the ranks" of the Republican party they go ballistic and bring the heretics back in line. I think it takes a socialist to know a socialist! This is why I believe the GOP will view Senator Snowes efforts as leftist and will move to discredit her and remove her from any leadership position within the party so she cannot infect their plans. What truly should be a lesson that can benefit the GOP will be loudly rejected. That is why, in my opinion, the GOP will become irrelevant with moderate Rebuplicans moving to the Democratic party or forming a third party that "truly" represents the base of the GOP.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:09 am |
  17. Daisy21

    We saw how Democrats treated a moderate within their midst. Joe Lieberman dared to not toe the Democratic Party line 100%, and he was treated shabbily by his fellow Democrats, liberal organizations, and had a challenger put up against him that even some of his elected Democratic colleagues endorsed over him.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:09 am |
  18. Dave Pinkston

    Olympia Snowe has always done things like this. No big news. A moderate Republican lost the race for president. He wasn't the only moderate who lost. We lost our moderate Republican senator here in Oregon. Seems to me a lot of moderates lost all over the US. Moderates won't get elected unless they are fiscally conservative at the same time. Fiscally conservative moderate Is that even possible? We need to get back to smaller government and a lot less spending.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  19. Daisy21

    If the public really wanted moderates in office, we'd have President John Mc Cain instead of President Barack Obama. John McCain has a history and track record of moderation and bi-partisanship. Barack Obama is a committed liberal who had no track record of working across the aisle. It seems the voters, in the last election cycle, were not interested in moderation.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:07 am |
  20. ken

    Snowe seems to be gving you the snow job. She voted yes in the committee. There were enough votes in the committee to pass the bill without her vote. Snowe and collins always seem to be bipartisan when their vote doesn't matter. She has said she wil not vote for the public option so don't count on her vote when it comes time to vote for a final health care bill.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  21. Bernadette Loesch

    Carol, It doesn't matter what Sen. Snow does or says. The Republicans are just like chameleons, changing color and stripe to get votes for their continued control in government. They will pander to anyone. They are only interested in themselves, self-serving PAC monies and Big Business backing. Enough said!

    October 16, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  22. lou

    the republicans have the haters trademark. thats why nobody likes them.

    October 16, 2009 at 8:02 am |
  23. Abdulqawi

    Olympia Snowe, no matter what the intent may be, this i believe is an example to all politican ( INDEPENDED THINKING), which if followed, can be a plus to all Americans, the embellishment of all partys. Amen

    October 16, 2009 at 7:22 am |
  24. Joan Gilbert-Croteau

    As a retired resident of Maine, I have no reson to be proud of Sen. Snow and Sen. Collins publically stating to the people of this state they both are not for the public option of healthcare reform.

    In August when most senators went back to their states to hear what the people had to say about healthcare reform. Sen. Collins didn't come to Maine. She left it all up to Sen. Snowe to do the talking, while Collins traveled to the mid-east. Collins avoided hearing from Mainers.

    Oh yes, Sen. Snowe came to Maine, but never traveled north of our
    state to hear from those who are really hurting from high unemployment , foreclosures, and loss of healthcare. Many Mainers want the public option, which Sen. Snowe has more or less stated , which in my view has discarded asside like an old hat that isn't of any use anymore.

    As I have seen on TV and heard of the hundreds of free clinics to help thousands of folks who can't afford healthcare , and with Sen. Collins and Sen. Snowes steadfast actions in keeping with the party of no, I have no reason to be proud of either one of them.

    October 16, 2009 at 7:13 am |
  25. Karen

    Hi Carol. Tonight, go home and have your husband rub your feet. You deserve it!

    October 16, 2009 at 6:56 am |
  26. Doug Milliken

    A Gift for the GOP? Please! Rush Limbaugh is the new voice of the Republican party, and he and other leaders of extreme conservatives in America will never allow voices of moderation, or rather REASON, to infiltrate their myopic view of the world. Their vitriolic rhetoric is reminiscent of those fire-and-brimstone preachers of the previous century, or worse...the Socialist party in Germany in the 1930s.

    October 16, 2009 at 6:54 am |
  27. Cgar

    Gift -no!! She knows this is about the American people and nothing else. She is her own person. I admire her greatly for walking around the "big boys". She had to step out for the American people. It's not about "big business". Healthcare has been thrown around most of my lifetime. It's about time it gets taken off the table. The medical community, the insurance community, and politicians have ignored, threatened, and denied many in this country for years. There has to be a level playing field for the American people. Thoses that don't like the government making a level playing field-stop using the services, don't take it off your taxes, go on your own, stop running to the ER, as many I know do that have insurance. Stop talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    October 16, 2009 at 6:44 am |
  28. Peter Savage

    Her "courage" is not going to get her reelected in 2010. It might if she follows in step with Specter and joins her real friends but her "courage" has been misunderstood by you Ms. Carol as loyalty and expected liberalism from a liberal

    October 16, 2009 at 6:41 am |
  29. Dave

    Firstly, Olympia Snowe is a really cool name.
    Secondly, anything that makes a politician look good can not be good especially if it is from the dreaded other side of the aisle.
    I'm sure some bargaining chips were tossed her way by a few Dems in order to get her to vote the way she did.

    In General it could be said that politicians on both sides are slimy, creepy, shady, useless, worthless, piece of crap liars.

    Pgh, PA.

    October 16, 2009 at 6:39 am |