I've always liked Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.
Even though she's a Republican.
We've long had a tradition here of hard-nosed, independent-minded politicians who refuse to dance to the tune of either party, and for as long as I've followed her career -- I interviewed her frequently during my days as a reporter in the 1980s and 1990s -- I've always considered her an open-minded, non-ideological centrist. Not too many of those left nowadays.
And I like her even more now that she's emerging as one of the most vocal GOP moderates opposing the plan to amBush Social Security. You might recall she all but sat on her hands refusing to applaud the Social Security Is In Crisis litany during the State of the Union address, and since then she's spoken out repeatedly against the proposal. Yesterday on NPR, the Senator flat out dismissed the idea that the system is "in crisis," and urged a slow, careful, reasonable approach to any sort of reform plan. She's also noteworthy as one of the few Republicans willing to acknowledge that the Bush plan is tanking miserably in the polls.
"Just in the mail count collectively over the last months, particularly since the President proposed personal savings accounts and the discussion that has ensued in the public domain, more than forty five hundred letters and phone calls in opposition to the plan and only about one hundred and sixteen in favor. So I think that ultimately all of these issues need to be clarified and worked through, and I think it is going to take a much longer process than any one has envisioned."
Little more "reality based thinking" to perplex our president there.
After this past election I swore I'd never vote for a Republican again -- but if Snowe keeps up her firm stand as a voice of reason, I just may have to reevaluate that position.