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Olympia Snowe vs. the GOP
What the Maine Republican risked by voting for health-care reform

“The GOP must be wondering: With members like these, who needs Democrats?” said Investors Business Daily in an editorial. When Sen. Olympia Snowe voted for the “abominable Baucus health care overhaul,” she crossed one of the Republican Party’s “lines in the sand”—a Republican simply can’t support the Democrats on health care and “still say he or she’s for small, or limited, government.” Snowe is now “a big problem” for the GOP. (Watch Snowe compare health care to the Titanic)

And the GOP is more than just “annoyed,” said Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress. Snowe’s Republican colleagues are weighing whether to deny her the party's top slot on the powerful Senate Commerce Committee as punishment for breaking ranks. Democrats, take note: “The Republicans do this the right way.” The Senate GOP caucus acts like a political organization, enforcing party unity; the Democrats act like “a fun country club trying to recruit members.”

Speculation about GOP retaliation might be a bit overblown, said Chris Frates in Politico. After all, it’s not the first time Olympia Snowe has voted against her party. But even if there is some retribution, Snowe’s “yes” vote—and negotiating “prowess”—has won her “tremendous leverage” with Democrats and the White House, which gives her more power at this point anyway.

If GOP leaders won’t act, ordinary Republicans have to, said Erick Erickson in RedState. Snowe hasn’t only sold out the GOP, she’s “sold out the country,” and we must “melt her. What melts snow? Rock salt.” So let’s send her bags of rock salt as a “visible demonstration of our contempt for her.”

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