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Ear to the Ground

Republican Snowe Drops Out of the Battle for the Senate

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Posted on Feb 28, 2012
John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (CC-BY)

One of the few moderate Republicans left in Congress, if not the universe, Sen. Olympia Snowe said she has decided not to run for re-election because of “an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies” in politics and government.

Snowe stands down with roughly $3.4 million left in her campaign’s coffers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Although she is credited as a moderate, Snowe frequently joined her party in refusing to cooperate with the opposition. For example, she indicated support for, but ultimately voted against, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

Snowe’s surprise departure thrusts Maine into the sights of Democrats and Republicans fighting to control the Senate. Snowe has served in Congress for 33 years, 17 of them in the Senate, and she leaves behind a power vacuum a half-dozen candidates (and counting) are eager to fill.  —PZS

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 2, 2012 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

Good for her I hope she enjoys retirement.

The 17th amendment screwed the states by allowing direct election of Senators by the people for which it wasn’t designed. 

Senators were to be beholding to State legislatures which became irrelevant once the 17th came to pass, in the same year that the Federal Reserve act was passed.

I wish those state legislatures became relevant again and passed term limits on our representatives, nation wide.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, February 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

Oops…LOL

I meant UMS of A.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, February 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze,

What are you thinking after another individual here suggests they hold the answers but, unfortunately, most everyone else is not bright enough, not awake enough, not thawed enough to agree with them?  Do you think that is best left unsaid?  Even if true…LOL ?

Still trying to understand your goal.  You advocate changes which the majority will likely not agree to because you think it best.  Putting aside the glaring issue of “majority rule”, which you seem willing to suspend for now, how will morphing into three United Mega States (USMA) solve your issues?  And doesn’t history tell us that ‘The Peoples House’ often reacts quickly, emotionally, and at times in polar swings?  The Senate, with democratic, horizontal, voice for all 50 States, is designed as a counter to those swings.

Your largest obstacle, it seems to me, is your own argument, no?  The suspension of a majority to meet your goal?  Hard to overcome that.

-

Did you consider a few end results?  Might three Mega-States consolidate the power and purses of the 1%?

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

IMAX - AH, YOU ARE ACTUALLY GETTING WHERE I WANTED YOU TO ARRIVE:

“How long do you suppose it would take New York, Texas and California to annex all neighboring states?  Rhode Island would be helpless in preventing such a move.”

And my answer to you is SO WHAT if smaller states get annexed? This is precisely my point in arguing that we need to totally revamp our Congress. If it takes the larger states to “annex” or absorb less populated states, then so be it. Indeed, who says we must have 50 States? I’m all for reducing government by having fewer goverments…....Why isn’t New England one state? Why have 5 separate state governments (and the overhead) when one will do just fine? Do you honestly think having 8 or 10 senators from New England reflects “more representation?”

I’m afraid that most Americans are stuck in some strage cryogenic time freeze (not my kind of freeze!) in which the U.S. HAS TO look a certain way. Too many Americans think that our system of government is sacrosanct…..it’s not. If it’s not functioning for the benefit of the people, it needs to change.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, February 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze,

Perhaps I don’t understand the reason for asking the question.  Why insist that I be the one to lend a few concrete ‘hypothetical’ examples against your charge that the U.S. legislative system is in need of such radical changes?  Surely you understand the concept of why there are two Senators for every state while why the House is populated by proportion.

I’m not trying to duck the question.  Is it not more appropriate for you to offer some “concrete examples” of the effects of your radical changes?

-

Every state holds equal representation in one of the three branches of government.  This was designed to prevent mob rule.

The state of California is the seventh largest economy in the world.  Texas is the wealthiest oil producing state in the U.S..  You’re suggesting that two of the wealthiest states hold the power to squelch the needs and agendas of the smaller and least productive.  Surely you see the inherent problems in what you suggest.

How long do you suppose it would take New York, Texas and California to annex all neighboring states?  Rhode Island would be helpless in preventing such a move.

I still believe it is your task to lend us some examples of the efficacy in the types of radical changes you suggest.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

IMax - You yourself raised the issue of the larger states running roughshod over the smaller states in your comment about why the Senate/House dynamic makes a “balanced government.”

I’m simply challenging the idea that the small states would be underrepresented if they didn’t have 2 senators (because of sparse populations). You’re quoting an old argument but giving no concrete examples. IMHO, no on is forced to live in a sparsely populated state. Why should areas with large populations have to bend to the will (or representation) of those who live in a place like ME? How would they be negatively affected?

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, February 29, 2012 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Big B,

What do you suggest as a form of governance?

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, February 29, 2012 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

mrfreeze, - “As for the larger states running roughshod over the smaller states. Please give an example of how that would look.”

-

I’m sorry I don’t understand the question.

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By Big B, February 29, 2012 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

IMax

From an examination of american history, one can only conclude that the Senate has almost always been the obsticle to change.

Many of our founding fathers thought the senate and an “imperial” presidency were not needed. They were correct.

The time has come for another constitutional convention. Its has become high time that the majority rule this republic again. We are at a pivitol moment in history, and our store bought sentate has outlived its usefulness (if it ever had any).

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 29, 2012 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

IMAX - The Senate no longer “operates.” It stagnates. In theory the Senate is supposed to be the more glacial, sober part of the system; however, it has become a monster operating by its own set of “rules” that have basically hamstrung our government.

As for the larger states running roughshod over the smaller states. Please give an example of how that would look.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, February 29, 2012 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Big B,

I’m not sure you fully appreciate the machinations of the U.S. system of governance.

No law devised by the U.S. Senate can pass without the U.S. House of Representatives.  The U.S. Senate prevents larger states from dictating the priorities of smaller, less represented, populations.  The system tends to mitigate the people’s tendencies to react emotionally and, at times, haphazardly. 

It’s a brilliant balance of power.

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By Big B, February 29, 2012 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

Ms Snowe was just another gutless repug shill. She always fell in lock step with the party.

The Senate and supreme court should be abolished, and the powers of the presidency should be reined back in. Senators from podunk states like wyoming and west virginia weild the same power as senators from new york california and texas, even though they were “elected” by a small fraction of the people. Its why big business has always loved the senate, the supreme court and the presidency. They get the most bang for their buck. Why purchase a house rep that could have been elected by a couple thousand people, when you can have a senator with a million or more votes that has the power to undo anything the house of reps puts forth with a single vote?

We have become a pitiful republic. Other nations openly laugh at the US senate. And the supreme court awards the power of kings to the political crony of the month.

What a fucked up system.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, February 29, 2012 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

mrfreeze,

I too could not care any less about Ms. Snowe.

Isn’t the U.S. House the “People’s House” while the Senate is designed to be the slower, deliberative, ‘balancer’ of power which keeps the larger states from running roughshod over smaller states?

It seems to me the system is as brilliant today as it was 200 years ago.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 29, 2012 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

Blueokie - Yes, my wife thought my notion of changing the whole goddamn senate was silly as well…..but it’s my stupid opinion and I’m sticking with it!

Actually, I do think CA should have more political sway than the smaller states. I get tired of being held hostage politically by the small states. Simply put, no-one forces us to live where we don’t want to in this country.

In any case I threw out the idea to stimulate some conversation. I really couldn’t care less about Olympia Snow’s retirement. Like so many other politicians, she outlived her stay and effectiveness. If it were up to me, Senators wouldn’t be allowed more than 2 terms, house members 3 terms and the president would get 1-6year term.

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Blueokie's avatar

By Blueokie, February 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

Interesting picture of Jay Rockefeller accompanying the article.  My guess is the Dorian Gray effect, or Massey Energy is sending him undercover to Maine to secure some water rights.

mrfreeze - Your proposal seems downright silly.  Are you really saying something like, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming that don’t have a combined population equal to California’s shouldn’t have better representation than California?  That just doesn’t seem fair after the Confederacy won the Civil War and settled that whole state’s rights mess.  As the 1% have shown, we don’t have a problem with minority representation in this country.

I say do like we do in Woody Guthrie Land, elect a Coburn and an Inhoffe.  Sure, it may look like two Senators, but between them they have 1/4 of the intelligence and a 1/10 the humanity of your average benobo.

As for Snow’s retirement, she has been a long time in the Senate, and if I remember Collins had a harder time than was thought to get reelected last time.  Maybe LePage and the other baggers just made it not worth it.  Interesting that all you have to do is not throw feces into the Senate Gallery to be a centrist/moderate Rethug.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

Since Snow’s departure comes at such a turbulent and ugly time in our republic, I’d like to throw out a “big picture” thought:

I believe that our electoral system is broken and badly needs to be reinvented. It is high time that we eliminate the 2 Senator per state system thus removing the ridiculous power that small-state senators wield. The “big-state small state” issue from the founding days is nothing but an historical quirk. In Mr. Freeze’s America all the power would go to where the people are. The fact that WY, MT, ND, SD,ME,VT,AK,HI all have 2 senators is ridiculous.

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