Will Olympia Snowe switch parties?
Commenter Andrew Long pushes back against the idea that Olympia Snowe will switch parties:
Given her policy positions, the only issues she'll ever have a chance of "nailing" Obama on are the budget and taxes. The budget is deeply unsexy, she voted against it this year and got nothing out of it, and she voted for most of Bush's bloated budgets and supplementals. What's more, like Maverick McCain, she voted against Bush's 2003 tax cuts. She could conceivably try to nail Obama for the continued jobless recovery, but she voted FOR the stimulus. She'll wait to see how the midterms pan out, but if her party picks up even a few seats with the Rubios, Toomeys, and Ovid Lamontagnes of the world, she's probably toast as a Republican.
But I DON'T think she becomes a Democrat. She'll pull a Modified Reverse Lieberman: many months before the primary, she'll announce she's leaving the Republican Party to become an Independent. She may even continue to caucus with the GOP. Not only will the declaration of ideological independence fit her image to a tee and play well Down East, she will have a very strong argument that her voting record most closely tracks the preferences of Maine's largest voting bloc -- "Unenrolled" voters, or what the rest of us call "Independents."
Snowe also has deep personal connections to the Republican Party: Her first husband was a Republican legislator in Maine's House of Representatives, and her current husband is the former Republican governor of Maine. Becoming an independent seems a lot likelier than becoming a Democrat. But in that scenario, who would she vote for as majority leader?
Photo credit: Susan Walsh/Associated Press.
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