Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pressure Up Slightly on Maine Twins

Now that Arlen Specter has switched to the Democrats, the pressure is going to increase slightly on Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to do the same.

Collins and Snow are a little more liberal than Specter and have been rated somewhat higher on liberalism scales and lower on conservativism scales than the new Pennsylvania Democrat.

Ranking by American Civil Liberties Union: Collins: 71, Snowe: 86, Specter: 57.
Ranking by American Conservative Union: Collins: 36, Snowe: 28, Specter: 40.

Arlen Specter was barely enough on the liberal side of absolute moderation to justify his claim that the Republican Party had moved away from him. Collins and Snowe are both significantly on the liberal side and least as liberal as Democrats like Ben Nelson (who scores only 60% on the ACLU scale) or Mary Landrieu (at 75%).

Now that Specter is moving to the Democrats, the pressure will increase somewhat on Collins and Snowe to either follow the party line or do the same. From the conservative point of view, the Republican Party doesn't have anything to lose by pressuring the Maine senators to leave because they've already lost the filibuster and Snowe and Collins wouldn't have supported that many filibusters anyway. Actually, I've read somewhere that Collins (an acquaintance of mine from St. Lawrence University) is voting more than 50% with the Obama administration. Maine Republicans don't seem to be as conservative as Pennsylvania Republicans, but Snowe and Collins could find themselves under pressure to vote with the highly conservative Republican caucus as a matter of political identity.

This isn't to say that either Collins or Snowe is ready to switch parties. But they may find themselves such pariahs within the Republican Party that they'll eventually decide to make the change.

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