I never voted for her, but former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is a sensible Mainer. It’s appalling how far from sensible Congress is these days. In 2012, Snowe announced she wouldn’t run for a fourth term, refusing to subject herself to ongoing political polarization. Who can blame her?
The legislative “process has been perverted,” she said in her lecture at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law tonight. Both major parties are “playing a game of political chicken,” playing to their base to raise more money for future primaries and elections. It’s disgusting. Obscene.
I’m reminded of the time when she used that word 15 years ago. We were both at a small cocktail party in Northeast Harbor, Maine, that had something to do with the College of the Atlantic. We were chatting. A young woman kept coming around with white wine.
President Bill Clinton had just been impeached and acquitted at his trial in the Senate. Sen. Snowe repeatedly voiced her opposition to kicking him out of office.
“I want to commend you for being so civil about the Clinton impeachment,” I said.
“The public has no idea what the right-wing fanatics wanted to do to him. It was obscene,” she replied.
Around 20 years ago, I walked down the hall with Olympia after she spoke to my students at Mt. Desert Island High School. She supported Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars Missile Defense System. I didn’t.
“You’re so good on women’s issues, social justice, all that important stuff,” I told her. “But I can’t vote for you.” She smiled.
Now she’s working hard to bring back bipartisanship in Washington. It may not not be possible but she’s trying her damnedest.
I spoke to her tonight. At first I didn’t think she remembered me. But she did. Again, I just wanted to thank her.