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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2009, 09:13 AM
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Yep, Two Americas, and alls we needed was for three of them to be brave enough to cross over to the other side:

Maine Senators Break With Republican Party on Stimulus

The New York Times

Published: February 10, 2009
WASHINGTON — Senators Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe are not close friends, but they have plenty in common. They both represent Maine. They share a centrist ideology. They are proper and genteel. And they can drive their Republican colleagues to distraction.

Much to the dismay of their fellow Republicans and to loud applause from Democrats, the two senators from Maine have put President Obama on the precipice of winning passage of an $800-billion-plus economic recovery plan rejected by almost everyone else in Congress who shares their party affiliation.

On one of the biggest bills ever to confront lawmakers, the two senators, surviving members of the vanishing breed of New England Republicans, are wielding outsize power. Along with Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the third Republican who broke from the pack and provided a crucial vote for initial passage on Tuesday, the two Mainers find themselves holding virtual veto control over the legislation as it enters crucial negotiations between the House and Senate.

Many Senate Republicans would prefer the outcome be in other hands.

“I like them both, but I wouldn’t want them to buy me a car,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who noted the compromise engineered by Ms. Collins had produced an $838 billion Senate version of the $819 billion House bill.

“This is no ordinary vote,” said Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina. “This is a huge, huge obligation.”

Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, chimed in, “They own it.”

The two Maine senators acknowledged that some of their Republican cohorts might be disenchanted. But they say they are simply doing what the pragmatic and independent people of Maine sent them to Washington to do.

“This crisis is extraordinary, and my constituents don’t expect me to stay on the sidelines,” said Ms. Collins, a onetime Senate aide who easily won re-election last November in a terrible year for Republicans elsewhere. “They expect me to jump in. People don’t want us to be the party that says no, just no.”

Ms. Snowe said: “I feel the ability to bridge the divide and corral a consensus on a critical issue facing this country. This is the only option we have in the final analysis as far as a fiscal tool. We have to get it right, and we have to make it work.”

This is hardly the first time the two have broken from their party; it has occurred regularly over the years on budget, health, tax and environmental policy. But now it comes as Republicans are much more vulnerable, holding just 41 seats, and knowing that the loss of Ms. Collins and Ms. Snowe deprives them of what little power they retain to block Democratic legislation.

It also reflects the political reality that the nature of a Republican from Maine, a state where President Obama received almost 58 percent of the vote, is much different from that of the conservative Southern and Western lawmakers who constitute much of the rest of the Senate Republican side.

“I think it is safe to say that Republicans in the Northeast are not exactly the same as Republicans in the Deep South,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.

Mr. McConnell said Tuesday that there were “no complaints” about Ms. Collins in terms of how she handled talks with a bipartisan group seeking changes in the bill and that she kept the leadership fully informed of her actions.

But other Republicans said the main sentiment was disappointment over how Ms. Collins was “driving the train” in talks with Democrats that ultimately cut about $100 billion from the measure and reshaped it in other ways, but not enough to suit most Republicans.

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who has worked closely with Ms. Collins over the years, did not mention any names, but he was clearly dismayed at the talks and what they produced.

“This is not a bipartisan agreement,” Mr. McCain said Monday on the Senate floor. “This is three members of the Senate — none on the House side — who have joined Democrats for a partisan agreement. It is unfortunate because we are now committing an act of generational theft.”

Ms. Collins conceded her central role had taken at least a temporary toll on relationships with some colleagues. She noted she was left pretty much alone on the Senate floor on Friday night as the agreement struck with Democratic leaders was laid out.

“It is very hard,” she said. “These are my friends. I work with them every day. I believe I have done the right thing, but there is a cost, there is a definite cost.”

Ms. Collins and Ms. Snowe themselves have a cool relationship, but it is not unusual for same-state senators to engage in a rivalry over who accomplishes what. Ms. Snowe, who like her Maine colleague had a private meeting with Mr. Obama at the White House, did not take part in the Senate talks orchestrated by Ms. Collins. But they do work together on Maine interests, and Ms. Collins on Monday used the Senate floor to credit Ms. Snowe for her efforts on the economic measure.

Both senators say they wish their Republican colleagues would take a second look at the legislation, and Ms. Snowe said she had been talking to House Republicans about getting behind it. “At this moment in our nation’s history, I think it is crucial that we build a consensus,” she said.

Ms. Collins said she hoped the present situation was not the shape of things to come as Congress moves to contentious issues like health care and climate change.

“I hope that there will be fewer cases where I am in the middle,” Ms. Collins said. “I enjoy shaping legislation and helping to affect the outcome of major issues, but it is a difficult position to be in, without a doubt.”

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2009, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Considering the source!!! I understand your uneasiness!
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2009, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Monstermog1964 View Post
Well I was only able to hear a little bit but what I didn't hear is summed up here and it's what I was thinking too. Obama....Your rambling! What happened to good intelligent speeches. Step up or maybe let your daughter do the talking without the teleprompter.

You are a little late to the party. we had this conversation yesterday and the night of the speech.

But good to see you waited for instructions from Rush before venturing forward.


Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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