Friday, March 02, 2012

Why the GOP - Thankfully - Won’t Win the Senate

With the decision of Olympia Snowe to resign from the U. S. Senate and not seek re-election, the GOP has likely given the Democrats a new seat after the November elections. In a column in the Washington Post Snowe lays out why she decided to retire, but unfortunately she fails to lay the blame for the toxicity in the Senate and elsewhere in government where it properly belongs: at the feet of the GOP which has become ever more extremist and of a mindset where winning politically trumps what's best for the nation. The other problem with the GOP is that it is staking its future on a demographic base which is literally dying off and seems obsessed with destroying the country rather moving forward with society. A column in The Daily Beast suggest why November, 2012, will not see the GOP gain control of the U. S. Senate. Here are highlights:

When the votes were counted, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe stood alone, the only Republican to oppose a hotly contested amendment that would have granted employers the right to withhold insurance coverage for any health service they find objectionable for religious or moral reasons. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell runs a tight ship, and that was one of the reasons Snowe announced earlier this week that she is ending her campaign for reelection and leaving the Senate. As one of the few moderates left in the Republican caucus, she had grown tired of the pressure to always toe the line. Snowe’s isolation was stark as the amendment was voted down, 51 to 48: almost all Democrats were on one side and Republicans on the other.

Democrats said it [the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act”] was so broadly written that employers citing moral objections would be empowered to cut off everything from prenatal care for children of single mothers to HIV screening.

A Republican activist who worked on Capitol Hill and who does not want to be quoted says the debate over the availability of contraceptives is “way bigger than a wedge issue” because it goes against settled thought for two generations, and makes the Republican Party look out of touch. “Younger people hear [a debate about contraception] and think those people are Martians. They are unlike me or anybody I know or care about. Republicans risk becoming irrelevant to a whole generation of people, and I include Catholics in that.

Six months ago, Republicans were talking confidently about taking the Senate next November, widening their lead in the House and having a really good chance to win the White House. A debate about social issues that many think has gone off the rails capped by Snowe’s surprise resignation is the latest evidence that their predictions are widely off the mark, particularly in the Senate where Republicans need four seats to gain control. That seemed easy enough with 23 Democrat-held seats being contested, some of them in red states, but Snowe’s departure will likely put Maine into the Democratic column, and Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken consumer advocate, is probably the one Democrat with a chance to defeat Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

That has not escaped the notice of Republicans, who say that if McConnell had let Warren’s nomination go through to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the GOP wouldn’t be sweating Brown’s seat. “He can chalk that up to his own stubbornness,” says the GOP activist about McConnell. “He may be running a tight ship, but it’s a small ship, a nice small ship of white guys.”

No comments: