Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are often knocked around by conservatives for their liberal voting records, but this morning, both of them voted against health care legislation. They come from a state that President Obama carried by 18 points, and if anything, the risk of voting against the bill was higher than the risk of voting for it. By holding their ground, they made it more difficult for Senate Majority Harry Reid to put together 60 votes, and helped make it necessary for him to sacrifice the public option. Politically, it denies President Obama the ability to claim any bipartisan support, and in the coming elections, it means that Republicans can run against every Democrat in the Senate as the 60th and deciding vote.
As conservatives continue the ongoing debate about when it makes sense to support conservative insurgent candidates, the experience of Snowe and Collins is worth keeping in mind. Both of them have liberal voting records on a number of issues and wouldn’t be the ideal choice of any conservatives. But at the same time, any true conservative would get demolished in a general election in a state like Maine. If Reid had two additional liberal Democrats in the Senate instead of Snowe and Collins, this could have ended up even worse.
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