Saturday, March 03, 2012

Senator Snowe Retires from U.S. Senate

Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe has announced that she will retire at the end of her term. She has chosen to not seek re-election for a fourth term in the Senate and one reason is that she says she is tired. Mostly she is tired of the lack of will for bi-partisan efforts to get the legislative process accomplished.

Yet more than 200 years later, the greatest deliberative body in human history is not living up to its billing. The Senate of today routinely jettisons regular order, as evidenced by the body’s failure to pass a budget for more than 1,000 days; serially legislates by political brinkmanship, as demonstrated by the debt-ceiling debacle of August that should have been addressed the previous January; and habitually eschews full debate and an open amendment process in favor of competing, up-or-down, take-it-or-leave-it proposals. We witnessed this again in December with votes on two separate proposals for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

The news that Snowe will not seek re-election was met with predictable and unfortunate gloating by those who consider themselves the only true conservatives. These same people do not, however, understand the folly of their own actions.

You can be a jackwagon all you want to be and rail on about how Senator Snowe wasn't consistently conservative enough in her voting record. That's your prerogative. I choose, however, to thank her for her service. In the public arena for forty years, she has been an inspiration to Republican women considering the same path. In the year 2012, there continues to be a greater number of Democratic women in office than Republican women, especially at the national level. It is hard for many younger women today to imagine the obstacles forty years ago for women pursuing elected office.

Maybe you don't think that the pursuit of truly accomplished and intelligent Republican women in office is pertinent. I don't hold that thought. Republican women are sorely needed in Washington, D.C. and it is well past time for both parties to be led by old white men. Or even young white men for that matter. Women in both parties bring a different perspective on some issues and it benefits us all when different thoughts are brought into legislation.

It is important for people in both parties to remember that voters in different regions or parts of our country are different. A conservative Republican in the deep South will not vote the same as a more moderate Republican from the Northeast or from the western states or from the Midwest, for that matter. To expect all politicians in either party to vote the same time after time is silly.

Olympia Snowe is 65 years old now. No doubt the frustration of a broken political system in Washington is not the only reason she is choosing to retire from the Senate. I presume she has other interests that she wishes to pursue now. Who can blame her? She has given forty years of her life to public service. I say we thank her for that service and wish her well.

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