• Olympia Snowe Poached by Tea Party Extremists

    For big-game adventurers looking to spot the elusive RINO in its native habitat, there's no better place to explore than New England.

    The last natural reserve of the fabled political beast — known for its ideological camouflage and the ability to weather changes in the political climate — New England once hosted dozens of these mega-fauna, also known by their scientific nomenclature Republicanis Rockefelleria. There were Christopher Shays, Lowell Weicker and William Weld. And the female of the species were always represented by the Maine wonder twins, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe

    U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe stunned Maine's political establishment on Tuesday by announcing she would not seek re-election in a decision likely to have ramifications on both congressional races here and on the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

    "Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail."

    Snowe added that she believed the country needed solutions to unite people and that "I believe there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside the United States Senate."

    Among the unique characteristics of the species is its difficult to understand dialect. Translated, Snowe's remarks read: "I am tired of being persecuted by the same elements of the Republican Party that I help enable by caucusing with the Senate GOP leadership. I'd rather spend more time with my own over-wrought sense of political martyrdom in the comfort of an Americans Elect rally or a Times editorial board meeting than spend another minute in the Senate."

    Electorally, Snowe's departure is good news for the Democrats, who have increased their likelihood of holding on to nominal control of the Senate. But there's good news for conservative Republicans too: After weeks of waging what liberals characterize as a "war on women," they've finally succeeded.

    With Snowe's departure, Republican lawmakers hardly have any women left.

    Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

    Tags: Maine, Olympia Snowe, Republicans, Senate


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