Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Monday, March 21, 2005

Is Snowe Beatable?

The PPH examines the risks and rewards for Democrats challenging Maine's most electorally successful politician.
Attorney General Steven RoweSandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center at Colby College, doubts that Allen will take the bait next year.

"I don't think you take on a challenge like going after Sen. Snowe when the downside in terms of your current career is so high," Maisel said. "I think Sen. Snowe has nearly reached the stage of being an institution in Maine, where she's virtually unbeatable. I don't think Sen. Collins has."

For Rowe, a former speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, the equation is somewhat different.

Because Maine's attorney general is elected by the state Legislature, Rowe has never campaigned beyond his former Portland district. Even an unsuccessful challenge to Snowe would make him more visible statewide.

"It seems to me that Steve Rowe in particular is in a pretty good position," Maiman said. "Even if he loses, he hasn't knocked himself out of the box." [...]

Other potential challengers might be intimidated by Snowe's perfect track record. She's won 10 straight races since first running for Congress, though her re-election bids in 1990 and 1992 were nailbiters.

Every once in a while, a popular incumbent does go down in Maine. It happened in 1972, when William Hathaway ended the career of the legendary U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith.

Visit the new Maine Politics.


Snowe's previous electoral record gives me a fair degree of confidence that her seat is safe; it seems to me that, like Republicans in Connecticut, Democrats in Maine are going to have a hard time fielding Senate candidates, never mind winning.

Since her original election to th eUS House in '78, Snowe has won every election she's fought, and only come close to getting beat twice; in other other seven races, she's cruised comfortably past 60%.

Results, historically:
2000 Senate (69%); 1994 Senate (60%); 1992 House (49%); 1990 House (51%); 1988 House (66%); 1986 House (77%); 1984 House (76%); 1982 House (67%); 1980 House (79%); 1978 House (51%).
(Source )

And, the numbers aside, as you'd expect me to say, I think she's an excellent Senator - smart, independent and on the right side of the issues - who makes good judgement calls for America and works hard for Maine. As much as I'd like to see her take the White House, it was her performance in the Senate that originally caught my attention, and I think that Snowe - independent and deliberative - is exactly what the Founders had in mind for members of the Senate.

I'll get off my soapbox now. ;) 

Posted by Simon Dodd

3/22/2005 12:46:00 PM


" who makes good judgement calls for America"

Snowe was one of President Bush's cheerleaders as he rushed the nation into war based on false intelligence. The results of thie "good judgement" have been devastating to families in our state. For this reason alone, she must go... 

Posted by David

3/24/2005 06:52:00 AM


...Or another way of looking at it would be that Snowe was one of the cheerleaders for removing two regimes that had to go: the corrupt UN sanctions regime, which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the 1990s to enrich Saddam and UN officials, and the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein.

Granted, that was not why Senator Snowe voted to give the President the authority to go to war should the UN fail to do so. Personally, I wasn't interested in WMD, I supported the war because I agreed with the PNAC argument, but Snowe voted based on the information that was made available to the Senate by the intelligence community, and made a speech about it . We all make judgement calls based on the information we are given. What is usually forgotten now is that at the time, the bulk of the anti-war crowd did not dispute the assertion that Saddam had WMD - they instead demanded that it didn't matter, that we should keep out on point of principle. Senator Snowe prefers to err on the side of keeping America safe, and based on the information available to the Senate, and like virtually every other member of that body, she voted to keep America safe from the threat that the information available indicated.

The fact that the Pentagon made a series of catastrophic errors in judgement following the fall of Baghdad is lamentable, and has lent the anti-war movement some serious credibility. And yes, the information regarding WMD that was fed to the Senate proved incorrect, but I don't feel that any of that detracts from the fundamental correctitude of the decision to go into Iraq.

You, clearly, see her support of the war as a perjorative, while I see it as being yet another good reason to support her. Maybe it'd surprise you to know that there are others in the Draft Snowe movement who feel as you do, who feel about her support for the war as I feel about her vote for Alberto Gonzales. But these things are not dealbreakers, because politics is far too complex to be single-issue about this. 

Posted by Simon Dodd

3/24/2005 10:14:00 AM


You are correct: support for this immoral war which has led to deaths of too many Americans and Iraqis (to install an Islamist Schiia government) is a major deal breaker for me.  

Posted by David

3/24/2005 12:35:00 PM


I think that we can both agree that the way that the occupation was conducted left a lot to be desired; it's my view that several serious, unnecessary mistakes were made, which lead to unnecessary death and chaos. Of course, these mistakes are taken more seriously when Senator McCain highlights them compared to, for example, the Senator from Massachusetts, because those who opposed the war so intractably will always be suspected of making political hay from the mistakes. None-the-less, heads should have rolled for those mistakes, and haven't; in my view, for example, at very least Rumsfeld and Gonzales should have resigned and never held Federal office again. But my opinion's neither here nor there.

Anyway, what I wanted to say was that, as for the morality of the decision to go in the first place, on that, we'll have to agree to disagree. The liberation of Iraq was a moral imperative , in my view, it had been so since long before Governor Bush started looking for an upgrade in his accomodations, and it's hard to imagine anything that can change my mind on that.

And that's okay. We're in different parties, there'd be something wrong if we agreed on too many things. ; I'm just saying that people who spend their lives imposing dealbreakers on politicians, looking for someone who agrees with them on every point of policy, are going to find politics a frustrating business.

Personally, I'd rather look for and support politicians who do things for the right reasons, whose thought processes are clear and logical to me, even if the conclusions they reach don't always match my own. I need to have faith in their judgement and character more than I need them to meet a series of checklist criteria ("voted for war/voted against war", "voted for free trade/voted for fair trade" and so on - I just don't think the world is so simple as to permit such an approach). Olympia Snowe is one such politician. :) 

Posted by Simon Dodd

3/24/2005 01:01:00 PM



<< Return to Home Page