Friday, December 6, 2013
Maine's two U.S. Senators have had some harsh words for their party in the last few days.
Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins are both clearly frustrated that Republicans are once again defending a rigid pro-life platform in the wake of the controversial "legitimate rape" comments of Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri.
Snowe wrote an opinion piece published in the Washington Post Friday calling for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to use his upcoming convention speech to repudiate the party's platform and reassure women voters.
"First and foremost, Romney should vigorously, not timidly, disassociate himself from the extremes within our party by reiterating to the national audience that the overly rigid language on abortion in the GOP platform — which includes no explicit exceptions for cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother — does not represent his view, nor has it been his position," Snowe wrote.
"This is Romney’s threshold moment," she wrote. "He must speak concisely and directly about how he’s going to get our country moving again. Indeed, given the recent controversies, he must reach out to women to reassure them that he understands their reality and to show them that his agenda is in their best interest."
Both Snowe and Collins also were quoted in a Newsweek article by Kathleen Parker posted today on The Daily Beast. The subhead on the article says: "the men of the GOP are driving the party off a cliff."
Collins points out that social issues such as abortion may fire up the base, but won't help win pivotal Senate seats such as the open seat in Maine.
“It seems like we’ve been thrown back decades into debates most everyday people think were settled years ago," Collins said. "This doesn’t mean we’re disrespectful to people who hold a different point of view, but the platform seems designed to alienate a lot of moderate women. I don’t get it.”
Snowe recalled when she organized Republican women in the Congress to meet with then-president Ronald Reagan to discuss women’s concerns. “Can you imagine that happening with a Republican president today?” she told Parker.
And she once again called on Romney to break with the social conservatives and get the discussion back to the economy. "Social issues are the Achilles’ heel of our party, but the economy is the Achilles’ heel of the Obama administration,” Snowe said.
Open Season targets all of Maine's political wildlife, from Portland city government to the donkeys, elephants and independents stalking the Statehouse and U.S. Capitol.
John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
John can be reached at 791-6324 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @jrichmaine
Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
Colin can be reached at 791-6317 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
Susan can be reached at 621-5643 or email@example.com
Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or firstname.lastname@example.org