Ok, I’m going to do this just once.
Olympia Snowe, do a Jim Jeffords; pull an Arlen Specter. Leave the party that left you long ago; show loyalty to principle. Have a Margaret Chase Smith moment. The Republicans have not drifted a bit right; they have jumped to destructive political tactics and downright obstructionism at any cost.
Democratic activists in Maine may not have supported you in elections but we can do math. Many Democratic voters have supported you and Independents with moderate views have also. These two groups are following closely health care reform and identifying Republicans as the party that dismisses real needs, does not care about them, and laces our national dialog with fear and false charges.
The boat is sinking and the other passengers are still poking holes in it; time to jump ship. Come on in, the water is fine, Democrats would welcome you, Independents would continue to respect you, and Republican moderates in Maine will continue to support you. That leaves only an extreme right residue that disowns you already derisively as a RINO.
You can become a Democrat or if that’s a bit too much all at once, declare yourself an Independent. Either way, you’ll roll up an impressive George Mitchell style reelection victory as a result. Not running? We don’t need to know about that but you can retire with respect, dignity, and adding a historic voice to reason.
The real thrust of this proposal is to get you to caucus with the Democrats. Sure, you hold negotiation power now as the fleeting light of possible bipartisanism flashes and surely fades. But citizens are not blind; there isn’t any true bipartisan action on health care and we know it. Despite some declarations, Americans really do not care if there is a technical bipartisan imprimatur on health care reform as long as it works for them.
If you choose to follow your instincts and do something substantive about health care; the right will tear you down to greater degree than presently. Your impact as a Republican will be reduced as that caucus plays to its narrow extremist base. In the Democratic caucus you might not become the immediate darling of every activist but you will have true R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And because the Republicans will frustrate you on every single future issue after health care since you did not assist them in breaking President Obama, you will be in a caucus where you can have impact.